One of the benefits of being a homeowner is that you have complete control over your home. You can put this to good use to save yourself some money. In some cases, you may need to spend to save, but overall it will be worth it. Here are some ideas.
Max out your insulation
The arrival of autumn is a great time to make sure that your home’s insulation is as good as it can possibly be. You may have already dealt with the “big ticket” items like double-glazing, jackets for water tanks and loft insulation. It may, however, be very much worth your while to deal with small issues like your letterbox, gaps under internal doors, especially near exterior doors, and loose glass in windows. This may only make a small difference to your energy bills each month, but over time, that small difference will add up.
Try to heat small areas instead of big ones
How practical this will be will depend on your lifestyle, but it’s worth considering, especially if you’re working from home over the winter. Using central heating is practical and convenient either when the whole house is in use or when the whole house needs to be warmed up, for example, first thing in the morning. It is, however, neither economical nor environmentally-friendly to heat a whole house when only a small part of it is being used.
You can deal with this by switching off radiators when rooms are empty (and keeping doors closed). This can, however, be a bit of a pain. Another option is to leave the central heating off and use localised sources of heating. These can be anything from plug-in heaters to blankets to extra clothes. The key point is to get the heat exactly where you need it and only where you need it.
Check your radiators are working at their best
First of all, check if your radiators are heating consistently from top to bottom and side to side. If they’re not, try bleeding them. If that doesn’t work, then you may want to get a professional to investigate.
Assuming your radiators are working, make sure that you’re benefiting from all the heat they produce. Consider putting reflective material behind your radiator to try to encourage the heat into the room rather than into the wall. Also, make sure that the heat can travel upwards and outwards freely. Avoid blocking your radiator, for example with curtains or furniture.
Use sensor-activated outdoor lighting
Sensor-activated outdoor lighting scores for both convenience and cost-effectiveness. If you use solar-powered and/or battery-powered lighting, you can avoid the dreaded cable clutter and still have lighting whenever you need it. Having lighting which is activated “on-demand” and which automatically goes off after a certain time means that you only pay for what you use.
Switch to LED bulbs
This is definitely an example of “spend to save”, but you don’t have to make the change all at once. Think about which lights in your home get the most use and then replace those bulbs with LEDs as the original bulbs wear out.
Use natural light as much as you can
Days may get shorter in winter, but you can and should still do what you can to use free sunlight instead of paid electric light, even if you have LEDs. If you don’t like the glare and/or want extra privacy, then consider using privacy film and/or a net curtain.
Only boil as much hot water as you need for hot drinks
You might want to consider buying a travel kettle so you’re effectively forced to use smaller quantities of water. If not, at least remember to fill your kettle with the minimum amount of water you need for your hot drink.