Keeping your home warm in cold weather can be a challenge, especially when you’re trying to keep your energy bills down. In this article we explore ways of warming your home when you’re on a budget. We cover tips that you can use straight away, and tips for when you’re remodelling that will save you money in the long run.
If you’re thinking about how to heat your home, radiators are usually what come to mind. They’re a British classic, and do work great at heating your home. However, people often don’t utilise their radiators in the most efficient ways, which leads to increased energy costs.
Here are a few tips on how to reduce your heating costs when using radiators:
Reflect the Heat
If your radiator is attached to an external wall, the heat will transfer into the wall and be wasted outside. To avoid this, you can install a reflective surface behind your radiator to reflect the heat back into the room. You can do this using a radiator shield, or simply using tin foil.
Doing this will reduce your energy bills as your house will become warmer quicker, and will better retain the heat.
Furniture that blocks radiators will also be blocking the flow of air around the room. This will mean that it will take more energy to heat the room. Try rearranging the furniture in your home so that your radiators are no longer blocked.
Consider Different Radiator Styles
If you have limited wall space, it can be difficult to not block your radiators. If you have the budget for it, or you’re already in the process of remodelling, consider installing a different style of radiator to suit your home and needs. For example, you may want to consider installing a vertical radiator instead of the classic horizontal radiator.
Using a Thermostat
Using a thermostat can help you save money on your heating bill. It can give you more control than simply turning your central heating on and off manually. Below are some tips on how you can best use a thermostat to warm your home for less.
Setting up timers for when you most need your heating on will mean less wasted energy. You can set up timers so that your heating turns on in the morning as you get ready, and turns off before you leave the house. You could even set a timer so that your house is warm ready for when you return home. The benefit of timers is that it eliminates the possibility of forgetting to turn the heating off, or leaving it on for longer than needed.
Keep The Temperature As Low As Possible
When using a thermostat you are able to adjust the temperature of your home. It’s tempting to crank the temperature all the way up, especially when it’s freezing out. However, doing this will increase your energy bill unnecessarily. Try keeping the temperature as low as possible, whilst still being comfortable. This will lower the amount of energy needed to heat your home, whilst still keeping you warm.
There’s a common misconception that leaving your heating on a low temperature all the time will lower your energy bill. The logic here is that people believe that it takes more energy to turn your central heating on and off than it does to just keep it running. However, this is wrong. The Energy Saving Trust states that having the heating on only when you need it is the best way to save energy and money.
Only Heat Rooms That Need It
To save more energy, you should only heat the rooms that are needed. For example, spare rooms or utility rooms that you’re not using all the time don’t need to be heated. If you’re planning on cooking you could even save money and not heat the kitchen. Instead you can allow the heat from your cooking appliances to heat the room.
Hot Water Bottles
This is a simple yet effective way to keep yourself warm. Although a hot water bottle won’t keep your house warm, it does a great job of keeping you warm on cold nights. And they’re really cheap too! We believe that hot water bottles are always a great investment because of this.
Another method of keeping you warm, rather than the house, is layering your clothing. The more insulation you have on, the warmer you’ll be!
Underfloor heating is more efficient than radiators. This is because less energy is lost into the atmosphere, and so less energy is required to heat your home. Of course, this tip is only useful to you if you’re planning on remodelling your home. If you are, we would recommend the additional cost of installing underfloor heating. This is due to the benefit of decreased energy consumption in the long term.
Alternative Flooring Materials
Flooring in rooms such as the kitchen or bathroom can often be cold. If you’re remodelling you could consider using some alternative flooring materials to help keep your toes toasty. Some alternatives flooring that tend to be warmer include:
Vinyl flooring is a great choice for warming up rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms. Better yet, you can get cushioned vinyl made from multiple layers that repel both the cold and water. Cushioned vinyl also feels warm and soft when walking on it.
Laminate flooring is also great for added warmth. If buying laminate flooring with an attached pad, you won’t need an underlay. This will save you money whilst also helping to keep you warm in the winter.
Rubber flooring is soft, durable, water resistant and definitely warm to the touch. Rubber is therefore a great flooring option for both kitchens and bathrooms.
Cork flooring has natural insulating properties that can help keep your kitchen warm during the colder months. It’s also eco-friendly, sustainable, water resistant and easy to clean. That ticks all of the most important boxes!
Wood is another fantastic option to help keep your kitchen warm. The good news is that wood also works in other rooms too, so you can create a seamless look throughout your home. We would recommend looking into engineered wood for additional warming properties, as well as being a lower maintenance option.
If none of the above options work for you, or you don’t have the budget to change your floors, rugs are a great budget friendly option. Another benefit of rugs is that you can pick them up during hotter weather. Versatile, aesthetically pleasing, and budget friendly, rugs can become your new best friend.
Plinth heaters are cheaper to install than underfloor heating, if you are looking for an alternative. They’re also quicker to heat than underfloor heating, so you’re able to get warmer quicker. However, plinth heaters do tend to be more expensive to run. Therefore, we would still recommend underfloor heating over plinth heaters for overall heating cost expense savings.
Your kitchen appliances could be used to help warm your home. Appliances used to heat will naturally transfer this heat into their surroundings. However, you do need to ensure you are only using your appliances in an efficient and safe way when trying to warm your home.
Investing in energy efficient appliances will help you to further reduce your energy bills. Check out our energy efficient range cookers, ovens, fridge freezers, washing machines and tumble dryers. Learn more about energy rating labels here.
Boiling water either on the stove or using a kettle can produce enough heat to help warm your kitchen. The added benefit of using this method is that you can then make yourself a nice hot drink to warm you on the inside too!
Cook and Bake
Cooking and baking will help you to warm your kitchen, and potentially other areas of your home too. The heat generated by both your stove top and oven will escape into their surroundings, and therefore heating your kitchen. The longer you cook, the more your kitchen will be heated.
Never Use Your Oven as a Heat Source!
As good of an idea as it may seem to use your oven to heat your home, don’t. It’s a terrible idea! Leaving your oven door open whilst it’s on not only poses burn risks, but it also releases harmful gases into your home. The heat can also damage the heating elements surrounding your oven.
But what about leaving your oven door open when the oven is off? This still isn’t a good idea. Leaving your oven door open in and of itself poses a tripping hazard. This can lead to harm to yourself, or damage to the door. Furthermore, if you have children or pets, an open oven door can quickly become a hazard.
Even if leaving the door open didn’t pose these risks, it’s also not very efficient. Heat is designed to escape from your oven vent regardless, and so leaving the door open is unnecessary. Moreover, the laws of thermodynamics ensure that heat will naturally spread throughout your kitchen even with the door closed.
Have you been using your curtains effectively in cold weather? Opening and closing your blinds or curtains at the right time each day can impact how much heating energy you use. This might sound ridiculous, but it does actually make a lot of sense.
Let the Sunshine In
Whilst the sun is shining, you should ensure that your blinds or curtains are open. This allows for more sun to get in, and therefore free solar powered heat! The warmer you are able to get your home for free, the less energy is needed to warm your home to the desired temperature. So, open curtains means more energy savings!
Close Curtains Before Sunset
Going hand in hand with opening your curtains when the sun is out, is closing them before sunset. Closing your curtains or blinds when there’s no sun will better insulate your home. Heat will become trapped by the fabric, and less will be able to escape to the outside.
Use Insulating Curtains
If you want to better the effects of the insulation created by your curtains, invest in insulating curtains. These are designed to keep even more heat in your home, so your home will retain more heat, and you’ll use less energy trying to stay warm.
Draughts are currents of cool air that can cool down your interior spaces. This is the last thing you want when you’re trying to warm your home up! The spaces that draughts come from also provide a space for heat loss. Therefore, draught proofing your home will help to keep cold air out, and warm air in.
This is one of the most obvious ways to draught proof your home. Keep your doors shut! This doesn’t just mean external doors. If you’re trying to keep your living room or bedroom warm, close the door. This will allow warm air to remain, rather than escaping into your colder hallway.
Seal Doors and Windows
Cold air can sneak into your home through tiny gaps around your door and window frames. To minimise this, ensure that they are properly sealed.
Seal Skirting Boards
Sealing your skirting boards can also reduce draughts! Skirting boards aren’t often seen at an insulating element in your home. But, keeping them in good condition can make a big difference. This includes properly insulating both the top and bottom of your skirting boards.
Use Draught Excluders
A common place for draughts is from underneath your doors. Using a draught excluder is a cheap way to keep cold air out of your home and warm rooms.
Cover Your Fireplace
Fireplaces, usually a source of heat, can quickly become a source of cold air. By keeping your fireplace covered when not in use, you can reduce the amount of cold air that can enter your home through the chimney. To do this, you can use either fireplace covers, or even install fireplace doors.
Ceiling fans are helpful for both hot and cold weather. When you adjust your ceiling fan to rotate clockwise, it will push warm air down to help keep you feeling warmer. Just ensure that you have your ceiling fan on the lowest speed setting possible. This will keep energy costs low, and help your fan direct the air downwards.
In conclusion, keeping your home warm on a budget is achievable by optimising your heating system, using energy-efficient practices, and considering cost-effective home improvements. By following these strategies, you can stay warm, reduce energy costs, and create a comfortable living space without breaking the bank.
Need advice on the best energy efficient appliances for you? Call our appliance experts on 0115 965 1937.