It can be quite an expensive thing to try to stay warm. If you've been working from home this year, you've probably experienced a boost in your utility bills. We look at other ways of staying cosy while keeping your bills down.
1. Try to identify any source of draughts in your house
Draughts are essentially a drain on any heat in your home. Even if you have your heating on, you’ll find that your home won’t retain the heat if there are any gaps or holes that it can slip out of. If you think your home is draughty, you need to do some damage control and start draught proofing.
Start by trying to identify any potential draught spots. Windows are an obvious one – especially if your home has single glazed windows. In this case, invest in some draught tape. This type of tape is used to create a seal around the gaps in your windows that let any cool air in. The only caveat being if you need to open the window, you’ll have to break the seal of the tape. You can buy a roll of draught tape from between £5-£10 from shops like B&Q, Wilko or Homebase. You should also make sure you have some thick curtains for your windows, as this will also help to prevent any unnecessary heat loss.
For any draughty doors, use draught excluders. These can be attached to the bottom of your door, or sit in front of your door to stop cold air from drifting in. You don't necessarily have to buy a draught excluder, instead learn how to make one at home for less.
2. Electric blankets or a hot water bottle
An electric blanket is another great way to stay cosy during the winter season. It’ll only keep your body warm, rather than heating your home, but it can be a great way to stay warm during the nighttime. The running costs can vary depending on the number of watts used in the blanket. If you want to check how much one might cost to run before you buy, you can use a running costs calculator to get an estimate.
If you don’t want to buy an electric blanket, you can substitute this for a hot water bottle. Again, this will only keep your body warm, but it’s an extremely cheap way to get a little bit warmer.
3. Adjusting your furniture
In some cases, a simple rearranging of your living spaces could help you optimise the flow of heat in your house. If you have any furniture that covers or blocks a radiator, it's likely that the heat from that radiator is being absorbed by that object. Have a scan around your living room, and if anything is blocking the radiator. You can then rearrange it to improve the heat flow.
4. Wrap up in layers
An old classic, but if you don't want to spend extra money on the heating, use cosy blankets, jumpers and socks to keep yourself warm. This will especially helpful when trying to stay warm in bed at night.
5. Putting specialist foil behind your radiators
Putting specialist foil behind your radiators is another way to improve the heat flow in your home. The foil will reflect the heat and prevent it going into the walls. If your home isn’t very well insulated, then this could help you prevent further heat loss. It’s also an eco-friendlier way of keeping yourself a bit warmer.
While the above might help you make some simple, instant changes to warm you up, there are other things to consider such as:
- getting a smart meter fitted. This won’t necessarily save you money but will help you monitor your energy expenditure. It’s a modern version of the current gas/electricity meter that most people have in their houses. A smart meter will show you where most of your money is being spent, so you can track exactly what you’re spending and reduce costs where necessary.
- getting support from the government. There are different benefits available from the UK government depending on certain factors, such as your age or if you’re already claiming benefits. If you’re eligible, you might be able to claim money from the government to help you heat your home.
- claiming tax relief. If you’ve been working from home since the beginning of the pandemic, you should be able to claim tax relief. This is because you’ll have been spending more money on utilities than you would normally.
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