Sure, you could cling to your flatmates or partner, but it can become tricky when you need to do the ironing or pop to the loo. Instead, get clever with regular kitchen cling film. Smoothing the film over your windows (or opting for an official product like this window insulation film) traps a second layer of air between the window and your room, helping to keep the heat indoors. It’s a quick way to get energy costs down and it’s temporary too– ideal if you live in a rented place.
Be radical with radiators
Turning on the central heating may be the quickest way to get cosy but it could also be the priciest. There are a few things you can do to increase energy efficiency by getting more out of your wall-mounted warmers. First, if you don’t already have one, invest in a brass radiator key (you can get one for about 50p) and ‘bleed’ your radiators of any air that’s built up in them. It’s really simple (there’s a handy guide here on the Uswitch site) and means your radiators will be hot from top to bottom.
You could also look into getting a radiator booster, which is basically a fan that sits on top of your radiator and helps to disperse the warm air that gets trapped behind it (check out this review from the Guardian). Or, for an even cheaper fix, line the walls behind your radiators with tin-foil-covered card, which, in theory, will reflect the heat back into the room before it disappears into the wall itself. Clever, eh? With these tips, you could have the hardest-working radiators in the neighbourhood.
Get the chimney in check
Old fireplaces are lovely to look at, but they also provide superb wind tunnels to fill your rooms with chilly air. If you don’t actually light the fire (and if you are planning to, remember to get the chimney swept first), stuff up draughts safely with a chimney balloon. As balloons go, these don’t quite constitute a party, but the energy savings you could make by blocking out those breezes could leave you feeling all your birthdays have come at once.
Stay out of hot water
OK, of course you want your hot taps to actually run hot water, but if it comes out piping and steaming, your hot water thermostat is probably set too high. Advice from the Energy Saving Trust states that 60 degrees is as hot as you need to kill bacteria in the water without scolding yourself in the process. Makes sense, right?
Do some late-night laundry
If you’re one of the 3.5 million people whose energy runs on an Economy 7 basis, your electricity is actually cheaper at night (off-peak) than during the day (peak). To find out for sure, look at your electricity bill. If it shows separate tariffs for day and night, chances are you’re an Economy 7 customer, and therefore could save money on your electricity bill by putting your washing machine or dishwasher on after midnight (if you live in a flat, you might want to check it won’t disturb your neighbours first). Read more at the Money Saving Expert site, or talk to your electricity provider.
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