With fuel prices rising, the cost of food on the increase and salaries facing a pay freeze, many people are facing a choice between heating and eating this winter. And with the government refusing to halt the Big Six energy companies from further price hikes, what can we do to ensure we can afford to keep the heating on throughout the colder months?
Using our simple guide to staying warm and cosy, you can not only keep your fuel bills down, but ensure that your family beat the big chill throughout the winter.
1. DIY energy savings
I remember ‘the old days’ when houses would not have double glazing, or insulated wall cavity or lofts. So we would improvise. DIY techniques would include hanging a blanket over the front and back doors to stop draughts coming in, sticking tin foil behind radiators to reflect the heat back into the room, lining curtains and putting blankets under fitted sheets on the beds. More modern DIY tips include popping rugs onto wooden floors to retain the heat, doubling up on low tog duvets and making sure that radiators are not blocked with furniture to allow heat to reflect into the room.
2. Be energy-efficient
Did you know that it is much more cost-effective to have the heat on lower and keep it on for longer, than to turn it up for a quick blast to heat the room up? And in times when the temperature is really low, when it drops to below freezing, and you have days of freezing low temperatures, it really is better to have the heating on continuously, even overnight, rather than to keep turning it on and off. This is because it costs more to heat up a house from cold than to keep it at a constant low temperature.
3. Get those thermals on
The advice from the government, when dealing with the problem of paying heating bills was to ‘stick another jumper on’. And although this does make sense, when you are faced with having to find an extra £150 on average a year because of price hikes, this can seem a tad facetious. However, the lower you have your thermostat on, the lower your bills will be. So don’t wander about your house in shorts and a t-shirt when the temperatures plummet, kit yourself out in thermal underwear, and layer on top of these for extra warmth and comfort. Adding layers keeps the warmth in, and there are some really innovative products on the market that use your own warmth to keep you warm.
4. Eat well and exercise
Making sure you have a good balanced diet is also important, especially in the winter months, as it is the energy from healthy produce that helps to keep us warm. Try to have at least one hot meal a day, such as a warming soup or stew, and slow cooked casseroles will also heat your kitchen up too. If you feel cold during the day, get up and do some housework for an instant heat fix. Your body produces heat when you exercise so get busy with that duster!
5. Switch to the best fuel deal
There’s no point using all our tips and advice if you are paying over the odds for your fuel in the first place. Using a price comparison website, make sure you are on the best deal possible for your fuel. Tips to look out for are paying by direct debit, getting both gas and electricity with the same company, and going onto a fixed rate tariff, before any more price hikes. And stay away from away standard tariffs, you may as well burn money to keep warm! If you are receiving benefits look for allowances that offer lower tariffs.