Looking out of the window this bleak October day, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a lot later in the year than it actually is. With pitch black mornings, blustering winds and frosty commutes to work; winter is well and truly upon us.
Yet as a recent report published by energy regulator, Ofgem, revealed that 54% of our annual electricity bill and a whopping 71% of our yearly gas bill are racked up during the winter months, many people are reluctant to turn their central heating on, leaving thousands of households shivering in the cold.
Consumers have been advised to install double-glazing, or upgrade to a modern energy-efficient heating system to keep warm while also saving money on their energy bills this winter, but this can be costly and for many people is simply not an option. Last week, we outlined ways for households to cut their energy bills, so now it makes sense to offer some more practical tips on how to keep the cold at bay this winter.
A great deal of heat escapes through gaps under doors and windows, it’s astounding that even a small crack can let an abundance of cold air in.
Stop the cold coming in by using a draught excluder - a long length of stuffed material used to sit under the door and block excess heat from escaping. You can buy novelty-shaped excluders from most home stores on the high street, however if a sausage dog doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you can always opt for a traditional shape or get creative and make one yourself from a pair of tights stuffed with socks.
Also remember that your letter box is a prime suspect when it comes to heat loss, so make sure that is protected too.
Swapping to Your Winter Duvet
According to Ofgem, Britain’s favourite winter preparation is swapping from a light summer duvet to a thicker winter one. Indeed, 47% of survey respondents said this was their favourite winter ritual.
This is a great way to keep yourself warm at night without spending energy on alternatives like an electric blanket. Anything over 10 tog will make a really cosy duvet, natural fibres such as feathers are known to provide slightly more warmth as they naturally trap air in, however a synthetic duvet with a higher tog rating will work just as well.
If you want to turn the heat up a little more, without touching your thermostat, try putting a fleece or woollen blanket under your duvet, as this will create heat pockets to trap more air in.
Many of us say that we won’t put our central heating on until November at the earliest, but judging by current weather conditions, sticking to this principle will be a tall order this year.
If you have made the decision to take the plunge and turn your central heating on, you can buy a radiator booster, an item that sits on top of your radiator and essentially “sucks up” lost heat, circulating it back around the room.
You can purchase a radiator booster online or from a good home improvement shop. Or, if you don’t want to splash out on another gadget, fitting a small empty shelf above the radiator helps to redirect the heat around the room rather than straight up.
Adding extra lining to your curtains will help avoid heat loss through your large windows. The heavier the better, opt for thick fabric lined with a heat conductor such as fleece.
However, don’t keep the curtains shut all day, it is a common myth that this will trap heat in. When it’s sunny, let the natural light shine through to warm up your home.
Shopping Around for Energy
The Ofgem research suggested that Britons could save themselves up to £200 if they shopped around for a cheaper energy supplier in the months leading up to winter.
Much like buying a thicker duvet, or purchasing a draught excluder, looking around for the cheapest energy and gas supplier should be ingrained as the top pre-winter ritual. After all, if you are paying less, you’ll be less worried about putting the heating on and keeping the cold at bay.
If you are struggling to find the cheapest energy provider, or you just don’t know where to start, Love Energy Savings’ online comparison tool can help you to find the best deals on the market.
We compare hundreds of energy tariffs and prices to ensure you get the most value for money. All we need are details about your current supplier and your estimated usage, we’ll do all the rest.