As the weather gets colder and the nights draw in, it can be expensive to keep your home warm and cosy over the winter months, especially with the recent gas price rises. This winter, follow these four quick and low cost tips to keep your energy usage down, which are both good for your pocket and good for the environment.
Seal drafts around windows and doors
Insulation is key to keeping energy costs down throughout the winter months, but not matter how well you have insulated your loft or exterior walls, if you don’t seal the drafts then you are wasting money. At the most basic level this could mean buying a soft draft excluder to place at the base of the doors on the rooms you are trying to heat, but for those that want to make their home the most energy efficient it can be then this might mean adding caulk and weatherstrips to doors and windows to seal any any gaps and adding pliable sealing gaskets to all exterior doors.
These tasks are all possible as DIY projects, but without the right tools and knowledge can be difficult and time-consuming, so a professional handyman could help. Moreover, they can assess whether your home needs any further weather-proofing or insulation to make it winter-proof at the same time.
Upgrade to a smart thermostat
Traditional thermostats works on timers, so you estimate when you might need heating and hot water during the day and the temperature you find comfortable and the thermostat will make sure you have heat available at those times. These are reliable tools, but the reality of modern life is that we do not always know when we might be back from work and with variable temperatures outside we are often left in the situation with the heating switching on when no-one is home or the temperature or being out of hot water when you actually need it.
Smart thermostats like Nest, Hive, and Ecobee address these problems by letting you control your heating in a more granular fashion using a simple smartphone app. Depending on the device, these smart tools can have your heating automatically switch on when you walk through the door, remotely switch off your hot water when you know you won’t be home for hours, and critically help you keep track of how much you are spending.
Many gas and electricity companies will subsidise the installation of smart thermostats or offer the devices free with certain energy price plans. However, if you would like a professional to help set up a smart thermostat in your home and your energy company does not include them in your plan, then Bits Bobs and Odd Jobs can help.
Make the change to LED lights
It is a long running joke that traditional incandescent were really radiators that also gave off some light, and that is because they are incredibly inefficient in turning electricity into light. These light bulbs generally do not last very long and can be expensive to run, so a switch to LED bulbs, which are generally use at least 75% less energy, will mean significant savings. For lower power, dimmer bulbs the savings can be even greater.
Swapping out filament light bulbs with modern energy efficient LED bulbs is a relatively straightforward process that most people can do themselves, but if you don’t have a ladder to reach some ceiling lights or are worried about buying the wrong sort of fitting then BBOJ’s team of handymen are available to lend a hand with any odd job around your home.
Switch off appliances and turn off the lights
Smart devices like routers, internet-connected TVs, and smart thermostats are designed to be left on, but many many of us forget to switch off the lights and turn off appliances at the wall that will just be wasting energy. Your hi-fi can probably be switched off at the wall when not in use, and it is good practice to unplug phone and laptop chargers when they are not charging your devices. Most devices will only be using small amounts of energy when not in use, but all of it is wasted, so to keep costs down and help the environment remember to switch off.
Photograph by Caribb