With energy prices soaring concern about how to keep your home warm without breaking the bank is high on most people’s minds. And there are some tips around on some of the cheapest ways to help keep the heat up after gas and electricity bills went up by 54%.
The NHS warns that cold weather can lead to health complications and has some tips for people.
- use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed – but do not use both at the same time
- have at least one hot meal a day – eating regularly helps keep you warm
- have hot drinks regularly
- draw curtains at dusk and keep doors closed to block out draughts
- get your heating system checked regularly by a qualified professional
READ MORE:Weather warning for Wales issued
Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has been researching the issue and his team have found that the common theme is “heat the human, not the home.”
“This is a guide I really wish we needn’t be publishing,” he says on his long-running website MoneySavingExpert, “the reason I asked Sarah and the team to put this together is due to my overflowing e-mail bag of desperation from people who can’t afford their energy bills.”
He added he “regretfully” advises to see the guide not as a traditional Money Saving Expert hint and tricks type piece.
He added: “It’s more that we’re trying to help provide some options and information for those that may need to drastically cut down on energy usage due to financial desperation and some help for others who may want to do it out of a commitment to green issues.”
His research team have been looking at whether wearing heated USB gloves, hand warmers, an electric gilet or an electric blanket to get warm without having to heat the entire house can help.
They say: “Wearing the right clothes can make a huge difference when living in a cooler house. But many MoneySavers also recommend getting extra warmth from electric blankets, heat pads, footwarmers and so on.”
The guide points out that it costs only £14 to buy a cheap electric blanket which in turn, costs 3p an hour to run, even in today’s climate of rising costs. That equals a cost per week of £1.37 if used for seven hours a day.
An electric gilet, basically a heated jacket, would cost £46 to buy and just 4p per week to run, while USB gloves would cost 4p per week to run and just £5 to buy.
Another easy ways to reduce your bills is by turning your thermostat down, even slightly. According to MoneySavingExpert, for each degree you cut the thermostat, you can expect to cut bills by around 4%, or about £65 a year on average for a typical home.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and NHS say 18°C is usually enough for healthy adults, with slightly higher temperatures needed for the very old or young.
Cutting down on your water bill can also help save on energy costs as, if you use less water, you’re likely heating less water too.
Depending on your water supplier, you might be able to get a free water-saving shower head which could save a typical family around 2%, or about £35 a year on average for a typical home.
For those on Welsh Water, you’ll have to use the online savings calculator to access the shower heads for free. You can find it here.
Cutting just a minute off your shower time could save £75 a year in energy bills and a further £105 a year in water bills if you have a meter – £180 a year for an average four-person household, according to MoneySavingExpert.
One piece of advice often cited by energy saving experts is making sure furniture is not covering radiators, as this can block heat from filling your home. A sofa or chair will trap heat, meaning you’re paying for the warmth but not feeling the benefit of it.
When you do have the heating on, it is recommended that you keep the doors of rooms shut. This is so that the heat remains within the designated space and stops cold air entering.
Putting clingfilm on windows is one of the more bizarre tactics energy savers have come up with in recent years, but the Energy Saving Trust says this one actually works. Putting a sheet on your window traps a small layer of air which can help stop heat escaping, providing an extra layer of glazing if it is airtight. However, specialist secondary glazing is probably preferable as it’ll last longer.