Can you Afford to Heat Your Home?
Oh, the joys of the great British weather. Only a couple of days until the weekend and it’s set to be grey, cloudy with the possibility of rain at times.
Did you know that your boiler is more likely to break down during the colder months? And in particular, February? New research from Direct Line shows that a boiler is most likely to break down during this month as that’s when claims are higher.
The weather can massively impact how much or how little we need to heat our homes and I know this all too well.
Funnily enough, last year, I too encountered a boiler breakdown in February. Alfie woke me up one morning to tell me the boiler had gone on the blink.
It was absolutely freezing outside and we had to wait a whole two days until the engineer managed to come out and fix it. We’d recently bled our radiators and the pressure had dropped so the whole central heating system had to be re-pressurised.
A simple job really, but neither Alfie nor I wanted to risk it. In those two days without heating, we had to go out and buy electric heaters (yes, our bills ended up being sky high that month so I definitely wouldn’t recommend it!), loads of extra blankets, jumpers… just about anything that would keep us reasonably warm.
Plus, with Charlie having just turned one, it was even more distressing. He was going to sleep every night with some wool blankets my mum brought over as well as being fully clothed!
Anyway. I read earlier that today is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day and with as many as 2.3 million households across the UK living in fuel poverty, I thought I’d write a post on some easy ways to heat your home.
As I’ve mentioned, electric heaters may provide some well-needed warmth for a short time but honestly, seriously, really… they will cost you an absolute fortune! I’d only recommend using heaters for a short-term fix and try not to use more than two at once. Instead, opt for a portable gas heater such as the one by Calor. It’s quite stylish (for a heater, anyway) in an interesting cube shape and has around 30 hours of burn time.
Block out Draughts
Most homes around the UK have draughts from windows and doors so if you really want to heat your home for less, it’s time to go full-on detective and investigate! Letterboxes are notorious for letting cold air in from the outside, so it’s worth buying a letterbox brush to put behind from your local hardware store which will make it harder for the cold air to get in – your postman may not appreciate it, though! Remember to keep internal doors closed to keep the warm air circulating around the room and caulk your windows and, last but not least, get a draught excluder to prevent heat from escaping between the door and floor. If you’re feeling really creative, then you can make your own with a pair of tights, some old socks and some good old-fashioned googly eyes!
Cover Your Floors
If you’ve got tiled floors, laminate or wood flooring, then you’ll know how cold it is to stand on during those cold, winter months! If you’re having problems with your heating or simply want to make the house a little warmer, then consider laying some rugs to ensure you’ve got something warm and fluffy to walk on in a morning. Apparently, heat can escape through your floors too so there’s all more reason to lay something on top.
Leave Shower and Oven Doors Open After Use
Once you’ve had a shower, or whilst showering, leave the door open to fill your home with the steamy warmth from the bathroom. However, be careful. I tried this once and because our smoke alarm is so close to the bathroom, it started going off – for what seemed like forever! Safe to say, I won’t be trying that again in a hurry! Another good tip is to keep oven doors open after cooking the family meal – the warmth from the oven will soon fill the room. Just remember to turn the oven off first!
Get Some Thermal Curtains
During the day, open your curtains fully if it’s sunny so you can let the warmth in to the room. At night, be sure to close them to keep the warmth in the room and stop it escaping through the cold windows. Also, pick up some heavy, draped thermal curtains as they’re better for insulating your home and reducing energy loss through the windows.
Move Your Couch
If your heating is on, it’s important to make sure you’re maximising the heat as much as you can. Move any furniture away from the radiators as it could be potentially blocking the heat that comes from the radiators and any other furniture that is in the way. Large furniture could be absorbing the heat that comes from the radiator and by freeing up valuable space; you’re ensuring that the air can circulate freely around the room. Where possible, try to keep clothes off the radiators too as they could be absorbing valuable heat.
Take a Look at Incentive Schemes
If you’re in receipt of benefits, you could be eligible to receive a brand new boiler or insulation from certain groups. Everyone knows how expensive new boilers are (they can cost over £2,000!) and so if you’re running an old boiler, it may not be as efficient or as good at heating your home like a new one would.
Also, wall and loft insulation can also save you energy and most people on tax credits or income support can be eligible to get this installed for free. The main companies that run schemes like this as EDF, Npower, SSE and E.on so give them a call and find out if you’re eligible.
Hopefully, some of these tips will help you heat your home easily whilst also saving you a little money. They’re all tips I’ve been told over the years (and a few, I’ve had a few first-hand experiences with).
I’d be really interested to hear whether any of these worked for you or if you have any strange tips of your own so leave me a comment below!