It’s that time of year – nights are getting longer, and the skies are growing dark far earlier in the day.
While Derby experiences a chill as winter approaches, many of us will be looking for ways to keep warm.
But with the festive season approaching, families will be trying to make their pennies stretch further as we head deeper into the winter season.
With Christmas coming, we could all do with saving a bit of money, but how do we do that – while keeping our homes nice and cosy?
Martin Lewis, AKA the Money Saving Expert, reckons it’s actually better to use a timer with a thermostat – meaning it can detect the room temperature and turn the heating on and off accordingly.
“Using a timer’s best, because your thermostat is designed to turn your heating on and off to keep your home at the temperature you set it.”
Both the Energy Saving Trust and British Gas agree with Martin’s advice – however, for those with a damp problem, some heating engineers say that keeping your radiators on full but with the boiler turned down can help reduce condensation.
Warmer temperatures can stop condensation building up within the walls, which encourages mould and can make properties even colder.
The chill can feel unexpected and it often seems like we just don’t know how to cope with it.
So what’s the best way to deal with cold spells – and not end up with massive heating bills?
1. This one may seem like common sense, and apologies for sounding like everyone’s dad, but put a jumper on.
A jumper can add anything between 2C and 4C in warmth, depending on thickness, which can save some serious money over the course of the year.
2. Exclude those draughts. Whether it is a draught excluder for your doors, or draught-proofing strips for the windows, get plugging those gaps.
A lack of draughts can save you £55 a year on heating bills alone, according to Ovo Energy,and that’s not including the money you can save by turning your heating down a degree or two, due to your home being a bit warmer.
3. Get the boiler serviced. Boilers account for a huge proportion of our energy bills, so it makes sense to check it is running efficiently before whacking it on twice a day for the next five months.
Also most boiler break downs happen due to a small but persistent fault, so a service should hopefully help you avoid waking up in a chill in the middle of winter.
4. Do you really need the heating to be on an hour before you wake up? Twenty minutes should be enough to get the house warm enough before you have to leave the comfort of your bed, and the same goes for the evening.
Most boilers allow you to have different settings for different days, so if the children have after school clubs on Wednesday, or you know you are always home late on a Friday, adjust your heating patterns accordingly. There is no point in heating a house no one is in.
5. Insulating your loft may mean shelling out the pounds now, but uninsulated lofts allow one quarter of your homes heat to escape.
That means for every £4 of your heating bill, £1 of it has evaporated into thin air. If you can stretch to the loft insulation this year, it is definitely recommended.
6. Get reflector panels for your radiators. These sit behind your radiators, and reflect heat back into the room instead of allowing it to escape through an outdoor wall.
To maximise your radiators you should also avoid putting large items of furniture in front of them, and make sure they have been bled.
7. Most radiators already come with a thermostatic radiator valve – the knob on the side with the numbers on.
If you don’t have them they are well worth investing in as they can be used to regulate heat in individual rooms. Most of us do not need to heat our spare rooms to the same temperature as our bedroom, for example, so turn that radiator down.
8. Get a thick set of curtains. They may make the room darker when closed, but it is winter so this shouldn’t really matter. And they do a great job of trapping the heat in to save you money.