5 Top Tips for Saving Money on Household Bills This Winter
With the energy crisis and the vast increases in gas and electricity costs, everyone wants to save money. Our 5 Top Tips for Saving Money on Household Bills This Winter will point you in the right direction for maximising savings for minimal cost.
1 – Find and Seal Leaks and Gaps
The easiest way to save money is to discover where your heat escapes. You can buy a thermal leak detector for less than £20 or rent one and investigate areas of possible heat loss.
The most obvious places that let in draughts are windows, doors, floorboards, chimneys and loft hatches.
You can cheaply draught-proof your exterior doors with a brush-style draught excluder. Alternatively, make your own “sausage” excluder from old clothes stuffed into tights. Check out the DIY stores; they will have a whole range of products to draught-exclude doors, such as rubber strips and letterbox seals.
If you have a chimney which is not being used, plug it up. You can purchase inflatable chimney balloons for around £20 or make your own using pillows, old clothes or newspapers. It has been estimated that fitting a plug can save about £65 a year.
Windows are often the main area for heat loss, but you can purchase a specialist film which acts as “secondary-glazing film” for about £10. This film shrinks to fit your frame using a hairdryer and is an easy DIY task.
To seal the gaps, you can purchase foam tape that fits inside the joint between the frame and the window. You could also get a piece of Perspex and fit it inside the window, but bubble wrap works just as well.
2 – Insulate Everything
Insulation of a house is a big, broad subject taking in cavity walls, lofts and solid wall insulation.
There are grants available; it is worth checking out if you are eligible.
An easy way to help save money is pipe lagging. All houses have pipes running through them carrying hot and cold water. Lagging these pipes reduces the risk of freezing and can raise the water temperature by a couple of degrees.
The easiest DIY solution is polyethylene foam pipes. These are the most commonly used type of pipe lagging and are popular due to the low cost and ease of installation. It comes in the shape of a tube with a slit down one side that is placed over the exterior of a pipe.
You should be able to insulate the primary pipework in your house for around £20 but only buy high-quality pipe lagging.
3 – Use Your Aircon to Heat your House
A myth is that using air-conditioning to heat your house is expensive and inefficient. This myth is false, and air conditioning is much more efficient than central heating.
For every KW of electricity an air-conditioning unit uses, it produces between 3 and 6 KWs of heat, depending on the system installed. If you compare this to an electric heater, that is a one-to-one exchange. 1 KW of electricity will only produce 1 KW of heat.
Another notable point when heating with air-conditioning is that the air is circulated around the room rather than rising to the ceiling, where you cannot benefit from it.
If you already have air-conditioning fitted, use it as an energy-efficient low-level background heat source. Ensure it is well serviced and all the filters are clean.
You can either do some of this yourself or get in a professional but be sure to use high-quality air-conditioning supplies to maximise the units’ efficiency.
4 – Heating Systems and Radiators
There are things you can do cheaply or even free to ensure your radiators and heating system are working at maximum efficiency.
You do not want any heat being lost through your walls. You can ensure that warmth from your radiators gets reflected into the room by installing reflector panels. Stopping heat loss using reflection is especially important if the radiator is fixed to an outside wall. Depending on the size, you can buy them in stores or online at the cost of about £5 per radiator.
Alternatively, you can make your own using thick cardboard and kitchen foil.
Bleeding your radiators is an easy DIY task. If your radiator is cooler at the top than at the bottom, it indicates trapped air and the need to bleed. You can find helpful guides on the internet on how to do this. All you will need is some towels; old ones are best as the water typically is dirty, a bowl to catch the water and a radiator valve key, which you can buy for about £1.
5 – Change Bulbs to LED
It’s an old tip that most people have previously adopted. But it’s worth remembering that energy-saving light bulbs will lower your energy costs significantly and for a low investment. Lighting accounts for 11% of the average UK home’s electricity consumption, so it’s not one to ignore.
LEDs are the most energy-efficient light bulbs, using about 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. CFL (compact fluorescent lamps) bulbs use 70-80% less electricity than incandescent bulbs.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, replacing a single 100-watt incandescent bulb with an LED bulb would save £15 per year. A 50-watt halogen lamp replaced with an LED bulb would save £6 per bulb per year.
If you sit and add up all the lightbulbs in your home, some significant savings can be made just by changing bulbs.
Another critical point is that energy-saving light bulbs last much longer than standard lights, so their lifetime costs are considerably cheaper. LED bulbs can be purchased for less than £3 per bulb, meaning they can repay the investment by energy savings within months.
Saving money on your household bills this Winter is not as difficult as it first seems. With some basic DIY skills, a few pounds and our 5 Top Tips for Saving Money on Household Bills This Winter, you are on your way to easing the burden on your wallet.