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Monday, 13 October 2014

To turn on or not to turn on? - reduce your gas bill.

Winter reared its ugly head last week and me and the hubby found our selves having our annual argument. To turn on or not to turn on! Believe it or not the winter gas bill costs me more than the school uniform for 2 kids, it costs us more than our food bill for 3 solid months! The price is extortionate and like many we have to budget that too, sometimes even choosing between heating or food. I maybe go to extremes to keep the heat in a room but it works for us so i thought i would share some of the things i do. Some are obvious and some are maybe just plain barmy :D

  • Layer clothing. 
There is honestly no better way to reduce the feeling of being cold than putting on a pair of socks or a jumper. Often people just feel chilly and stick the heating on. I tend to try this option first before even considering touching the on button. 
  • Draft exluders around your doors and window ledges
Every house has a drafty opening, mine is the front door and our front room window. Our bathroom window still houses wooden frames and is the coldest room in our house. I make door snakes every year using old clothing to stick on the window ledges and at the bottom of doors. Its only a tiny amount of heat that it keeps in but its heat that we dont want to lose. You can see my door snakes here. 
  • If you have a ceiling fan - Reverse it
I dont have a ceiling fan but my mum does this every year. Reversing it spreads the warm air around the room, pushing warm air downwards to keep it where you want it. 
  • Ask your gas supplier
Many gas suppliers will have their own list of handy tips for reducing your heating costs. They may be able to put you on a cheaper tariff too which could save you more money. 
  • Bleed your radiators
I admit i am lazy about this one, but it is something i should do regularly. An unbled radiator does not heat up fully, you are essentially throwing your gas money away. 
  • Open large windows instead of small windows. 
As we only turn out heating on when we turn into smurfs, i have to air the house out to avoid mould. I do this when the kids are in school so that it is just me and hubby who get cold. I wrap myself up in my thick socks and my thick jumper and air the rooms out. A large window open for 10 mins is much more efficient than a small window open for half the day. It could save you quite abit of money doing this for half hour a day rather than have heating on and open windows. 
  • Cover keyholes with keyhole covers
Its an obvious tip but not one many people practice. I religiously go around every room in my house to find the gaps and i seal them. Having an old house with huge old wooden doors, they all have a keyhole. Each are covered to prevent that tiny bit of heat escaping or that tiny bit of cold air creeping in. 
  • Use door curtains
I know they are ugly and no one uses them no more. Common sense would say just shit the doors! Unfortunately not every room in this house has doors so i use door curtains. I also cover my front door and my back door with a door curtain in the evening. They are on a rail so i can open and close them as needed. The thicker the curtain the better at keeping the heat in but be aware a thicker curtain may need a pole to hold it up (i use hooks above the door frames) 
  • Do not block the radiators
This one is obvious, i do apologise. If you are blocking the radiator your heating is not being spread around the room. 
  • Use foil behind your radiators
I am not sure if normal tin foil will work but i have brought radiator foil from home base for around £5.99 a roll before. (would have to check the price as it was purchased last year) The idea is that the heat is reflected back into the room rather than uselessly go into the walls of the house. It has been noted that if you have wall insulation, this method is useless. 
  • Turn your kitchen radiator off
If i'm honest this is not something i practiced until i had children old enough not to stick their hands all over the oven door. When i had a gas hob, i used to turn the back gas rings on during the day rather than the heating. It was much cheaper to use the hob at the time for 1 hour than 1 hour of heating, especially if only to get the chill out of the air. Now i have an electric hob and oven, i open the oven door slightly after cooking (oven off obviously) to let the hot air come out. The kitchen radiator is now useless. The oven does quite well at taking the chill out of the air so if it the radiator is on too, it is just burning gas for nothing. 
  • Use drought excluder tape on windows and doors
You can buy this in almost any diy store or department. It comes off easy after use and is really effective at covering those little gaps. I had a quick google and found this on amazon which i think is a fantastic deal as this includes free postage. If you do not need this much though you can buy single rolls for around £1.

  • Line your curtains
You can buy heavy curtains if you wish but basic hand sewing (or a sewing machine if you have one) and some fleecy material will do the job just as well. During the year many places knock the prices down on kids fleece blankets. Look for the now unpopular character ones which are usually very cheap. Sew them to the back of your curtains to provide extra insulation. If you hand sew them you can just as easily unpick them and store them away for next winter, This could not only save you money on your heating but also save you money buying heavy curtains. 

I am sure there is many many other handy hints. I may do another post in the upcoming weeks but this is a handful of things that work for my family. I have reduced my gas bill and even though i still need the heating on occasionally, i find we only press that on button when we really are freezing! 

What are your heat saving tips?

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