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Curbing Winter Heating Bills: How to Slow the Cash Flow
Since winter began, fresh warnings of snow and ice have plagued the residents of Somerset on a regular basis. It is rare to turn on the weather forecast without promises of bitter conditions and the potential for sub-zero temperatures — and it’s not surprising. With sharp winds biting at your ankles every time you leave the house, and freezing winter weather starting to creep its way inside, many have already had their central heating hard at work trying to beat the chill.
But cranking up the thermostat also means increased monthly bills. The winter season is known to boost energy costs for homeowners and recent rises in utility fees have done nothing but exacerbate the issue. The result is that many residents of Somerset may find their energy bills spike quite dramatically during the months of January through until April, a nasty and unwelcome gift so soon after the festive season.
Yet, for the savvy money-saver in the room, there are a few methods that can be employed to help keep those high heating bills at bay:
Short-Term Cash Savers
Now that January is well and truly upon us, many will be looking for ways to cut costs immediately — especially those with smart meters that can see their bills racking up before their eyes. So, what changes could you make today to slash those bills?
- Wear Thermal Underclothing — The first piece of advice anyone will give you is wrap up warm and turn the heating down. But nobody wants to wear a coat and scarf while eating dinner and relaxing in the evening. Thermal underclothing, however, is lightweight, thin and comfortable. It fits snugly under your clothes and is hardly noticeable, yet traps your body heat very effectively and keeps you feeling toasty without the need for central heating. You can pick thermals up in most sporting and outdoor equipment shops.
- Seal Household Areas Bleeding Heat — Doors, windows, catflaps, empty and unused rooms; approach these areas of the house and you will feel a cold aura emanating from them. They are portals to a colder world that allow the bitter winter to slowly but surely bleed into your warm home. Sealing up these areas, such as window edges and door frames, with insulating tape can help stop that flow of cold air and keep your house warmer, reducing your reliance on central heating.
- Use Space Heaters — Central heating is expensive, as it operates across the entire household. However, a lack artificial heating can not only be unpleasant, but also unhealthy. The cold can result in illness or exacerbate existing conditions. Space heaters are excellent tools that can be employed to warm one room of the house, such as a bedroom or living room, without wasting money on heating areas that are rarely visited. More cost-effective than central heating, they might not keep you warm while making a quick trip to the bathroom, but they’ll certainly keep those energy bills down.
Long-Term Money Makers
Short-term solutions can make a nice dent in your energy bills, but for real savings, you need long-term solutions. Techniques that take a while to put in place, but can save you hundreds, if not thousands, in the long run. Here are some ideas to consider in 2018 that could save you money long into the future:
- A Modern Boiler — A boiler has an average lifespan of around 10-12 years, although they can live much longer; chugging along in the corner, seemingly handling everything in their stride. However, old boilers are not only costly to maintain; they are also woefully ineffective when it comes to energy consumption. Newer, modern boilers are designed to provide more bang for your buck and ensure your heating is costing you as little as possible. Consider packing in that old appliance and installing a new boiler. You could find yourself saving as much as £340 a year.
- Improved Insulation — Homes are naturally warmer than the outside. Humans, movement and technology produce heat. Walls trap that heat. Central heating also plays its part. However, a house will start to cool down without constant input of additional warmth. You can’t ever stop this happening, but you can reduce the speed at which heat is lost by considerable margins. The freezing air outside cools the exterior of the house and that in turns starts to lower the temperature of living spaces. What you want to do is slow the rate at which energy is transferred, and you can do this through adding additional insulation. Shoring up your home’s insulation by adding extra protection to areas where heat is often lost, such as walls, floors and attic space, prevents warmth escaping so quickly. The cost of extra insulation usually sits at a few hundred pounds per area fitted, yet can save so much money that homeowners often see returns on their investment within two years.
Opening a winter energy bill need not be the fear-inducing experience. Make efforts to manage how you use your heating, follow these cost-effective practices and you’ll soon see pounds shaved off your statements.