Everyone knows energy costs are going up, and it’s not clear when they are going to stabilise. Winter is going to be hard for many families, and you should try to implement as many energy-saving ideas as possible in your home. Some are going to be more expensive than others, but there will always be something you can do.
Central Heating System
You’ll need your central heating over winter, and as it’s a large energy draw, you should make sure it is as efficient as possible. You should have an energy-efficient central heating pump, have the flow temp of your system turned down to 60oC and make sure your radiators are balanced and have no air in them. If your system is not working as well as it could be, try searching ‘how can you tell if your central heating pump is broken?’ to see if this might be the cause.
Once you know your heating system is working well, you should try to move furniture away from radiators to improve airflow and move curtains onto windowsills so they are not hanging over the radiators.
If you now work in a hybrid way – part from home, part in the office – then try to coordinate office days with other people in your home. If you are at home, it is cheaper to keep your heating on constantly but low; however, if you are out of the house, it is better to have it off when you are out – program it so that the house is warm when you walk in the door.
If you’re stationary at a desk all day, you will feel colder than walking around your home – make sure you have work blankets and jumpers rather than turning up the heating. Remember to get up and stretch and move to get your blood pumping, too; this will keep you warmer.
The expensive part of your home is heating water – so keep this in mind and try to reduce how much you heat. Try to do bigger and fewer laundry loads and reduce the temperature to 30oC when possible. If you have a dishwasher, make sure you only run it when it’s full – hand wash bulky items so that you can fit more in. Try to have showers instead of baths and reduce the length of time you wash. You can get aerated shower heads that increase pressure while reducing water usage – these could help reduce the amount of hot water you need. Try having a shower at a slightly lower temperature.
Replacing appliances is obviously expensive, but if you have end-of-life items, look to buy energy-efficient versions. Technology has improved so much that you will probably be amazed at how effective a modern washing machine is. Also consider appliances you cannot see; for instance, you should look for the best central heating pump for your system to replace your current central heating pump if it is quite old. Modern ones have automatic flow speeds rather than chosen set speeds which may result in too fast flow and wasted energy.
Around the House
Drafts: Reduce drafts wherever you can – keep doors shut when possible and buy draft excluders (or use rolled-up towels) to have at the bottom of doors. You can also buy insulating strips to put around your doorways to reduce airflow around doors, not just at the bottom. Try to keep external doors shut and open them for as little time as possible. If you feel a lot of heat goes out of your windows, try to get any sealant gaps fixed and put thermal linings on your curtains. Replacing windows is not cheap, but if you only have single glazing or your second glazing is so old that it has failed, it is the best option to reduce your costs and be more energy efficient.
Lights: Lights go on more in the dark winter, and they’re needed for us to live. However, if you still haven’t switched to LED bulbs, then you really should do. Their cost has decreased significantly recently, and they use much less energy (and therefore money) to run. As you can get LED bulbs of any lighting colour and for any fitting, it is also highly unlikely that you won’t be able to find the right bulb replacement for your light fixture. It’s a quick and easy switch.
Food: If you must use the oven, make full use of it. Try to plan meals so that the oven can be turned on once rather than several times over a day. Making bread while the oven is cooking dinner is an old classic. Also, try not to pack your fridge too densely – the more the air is able to circulate, the more efficient it will be.