The following is a guest post from MoneySupermarket.
So, winter is pretty much in full swing. The days are getting darker and the nights are getting colder. Some people might well love this time of year, but not the frugal amongst us because it means that the heating probably needs to be on that little bit higher and the lights need to be on that little bit longer. But winter doesn’t have to mean that you pay an extortionate amount on your bills – read on for a few ideas on how you can save energy during the cold, harsh winter nights that lie in wait.
As we all know, gas and electricity suppliers are always increasing prices, so we need to be constantly on guard to save money wherever we can in and around the house. It’s certainly not as easy as it should be, but significant savings can be made on everything that consumes electricity in your home.
The first thing you should do is get an electricity monitor so you can keep track of how much you actually use across the board and make the changes as and when they are necessary. The monitor works by receiving a signal from a sensor that attaches to your electricity meter, so it can keep track of how much energy you are using in real time. This way, you know right away if you are using too much.
As for the things you can do to minimise the work that this monitor has to do, we could go on forever (but we won’t). Heading into the winter, it is important that your central heating system is in good working order because the last thing you want is to have to call out an engineer to come fix it when you’re struggling to find the money to pay the bills in the first place. A newer and more efficient heating system – and this goes for the gas boiler, too – will save you a lot of money in the long run, not just in the winter.
You can make sure that you don’t have to use the heating as much with a couple of draft excluders to sit at the foot of your doors. These are designed to stop the warm air that is already in your house escaping through those pesky gaps and, indeed, to prevent the cold air from coming in from the outside. They can be picked up for less than $5 in most supermarkets.
If you have a thermostat, keep it at a steady and comfortable 68 degrees to minimise energy usage while maintaining comfort. You can shave around two or three per cent off your heating bills with every degree by which you lower your thermostat.
In terms of lighting, think about how many bulbs each one is burning. If one light fitting is burning four or five, take it down to one and think about whether you can cope with the light it generates over the coming weeks.