For many, prioritising energy consumption in the home has become increasingly important. The ultimate household goal is to maintain a warm home without wasting precious energy and incurring a hefty energy bill. But how can we achieve this fine balance and start saving energy in winter and throughout the year?
Below, we provide practical advice on how to make your home more energy efficient in winter and beyond, ensuring a warm and snug home without facing costly surprises as a consequence.
SEAL THE GAPS TO SAVE ON ENERGY
Begin by locating and sealing any gaps or cracks in your doors and windows. A door stopper and draft blocking tape are inexpensive options for preventing drafts, and can reduce the need to constantly have the heating on, subsequently lowering energy bills. You could also consider hanging old blankets and sheets over the front or back door to stop the cold outside air from seeping through any tiny gaps.
Try to limit usage of your bathroom and kitchen fans too, as air can easily escape through the vents. If that proves challenging, make sure to turn them off immediately after use.
Not many people realise that high-quality windows and doors can make a considerable difference when it comes to retaining heat in the home. A thermally efficient door will keep a room at a good temperature without consuming heaps of energy.
Opt for double-glazed or triple-glazed glass with Low-E (Low-Emissivity) coatings to improve the thermal efficiency of your glass doors and windows. Although the upfront cost may be more than alternative options, they are a good long-term investment and you’ll lose less heat in the long-run, helping to save money and energy.
Invest in heavy curtains made out of a high-density fabric, or thermal blinds for your windows and glass doors. These serve as extra insulation, minimising heat loss during cold winter nights, while absorbing natural sunlight during the day. They will also reduce heat from the radiators escaping, conserving on vital energy.
Another great tip is to make sure that all curtains and blinds are shut on the evening – even when the room is not in use. Incorporating this daily task into your routine will ensure any warm air generated in the evening can be retained, making your house warmer in the mornings, and reducing the need to turn the heating on.
Bleeding your radiators is one of the oldest tricks in the books when it comes to maximising your heating output, conserving energy, and saving on energy bills in winter.
Bleeding a radiator only takes around 20-30 seconds to do, but pays off significantly. By removing trapped air, it allows the water in the radiator to circulate properly, ensuring your home reaches its maximum heating capacity. Because your boiler will no longer have to work as hard to heat up your home, it also saves on energy. Make sure you do this at least once a year to ensure optimal heating performance all year around.
You can save energy at home in winter and throughout the year by utilising your washing machine’s 30 degree setting. According to the Energy Saving Trust, washing clothes at 30 degrees consumes approximately 40% less electricity throughout the year compared to higher temperatures. Or even better, use the cold or eco setting – if your washing machine enables these functions. If possible, try to decrease your washing load to one wash a week.
You could also look towards hanging your washing outside in winter. While it might seem like a counterintuitive idea during a time when there’s minimal sunlight, the wind can do a surprisingly good job at partially drying your clothes. You can then finish off drying your clothes inside. Adopting this method will discourage you from turning the heating on solely for the purpose of drying your laundry.
OPTIMISE THERMOSTAT USAGE
This one’s a simple-yet-effective way to save energy in winter, without actually experiencing much (if any) change to your lifestyle.
Make the most of your thermostat by programming it to lower the temperature when you’re asleep. Another effective tip is to turn your thermostat temperature down by 1 degree. According to The Energy Savings Trust, turning the temperature down from 20 degrees to 19 degrees can shave off up to 10% of your energy bill. This simple adjustment can result in substantial energy savings over time, without sacrificing on warmth
A simple yet effective tip to save energy and reduce bills in winter is to rearrange furniture to optimise the heat distributed around your home. Avoid placing large furniture in front of radiators, allowing warmth to circulate freely throughout the room. Leave a gap between sofas which are propped up against radiators so there is space for the warm air to escape and heat up the room fully.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR MICROWAVE
Where possible, try to make the most of your microwave when cooking. Microwaves are the most energy-efficient cooking resource, although air fryers and slow cookers also use considerably less energy than an oven. To put it into context, both slow cookers and microwaves typically use the same amount of energy as an electric lightbulb, helping you to save money during winter.
For times when you do need to use the oven, try switching it off around five to ten minutes before the food is due to finish cooking. The remaining heat will finish off the meal, and works wonders for dishes like pies, casseroles and lasagnes. Just be sure not to use this method for cakes etc., as baking require precise timings and temperatures. For further energy conservation, leave the oven door open once you’ve removed the meal from the oven.
Enhancing energy efficiency in your home not only contributes to a warmer home, but also results in long-term cost savings and reduced environmental impact. By implementing the above suggestions, you can create a comfortable living space, and get your daily chores done, all while saving on energy this winter.
Hopefully, you should now feel a little more confident with regard to winter energy saving tips and how to be more energy efficient at home – whether it’s investing in high-quality glass doors and windows or adopting everyday hacks. For more inspirational guidance this winter, discover the Express blog, including our article on winter garden ideas.