How to Stay Warm This Winter and Lower Your Energy Consumption

energy consumptionWhile the cold snap hasn’t yet taken hold, it is on its way and most of us will have to turn up our heating at some stage in the next few weeks.

This is sure to make us feel toasty, but for millions of homeowners it will also lead to worries over heating bills and the last thing you want is to be getting in touch with a debt advice company come January.

The cost of gas and electricity has risen sharply in recent years and this has pushed many to the limits of their finances.

Indeed, a recent joint study conducted by Consumer Focus, Citizens Advice, Age UK and the National Children’s Bureau found that almost one in four (25%) of families are worried that they will not be able to afford to heat their home.

This builds on the findings of a similar study conducted by, which found that 44 per cent are planning on cutting down on their energy consumption this winter, while 19 per cent are planning on sacrificing other things just so they can keep warm.

But there are some ways in which you can make your home warm without having to crank up the fire or central heating and worry about bills.

One way is to ensure that your home is properly insulated. Alert Me, a firm which specializes in energy monitoring equipment, points out that a quarter of all heat in your home is lost through your roof, while a third escapes through the walls.

Fitting good quality insulation can solve this problem and it isn’t as expensive as you may think, with costs starting from as little as $240. If fitted correctly, loft and cavity wall insulation could chop $624 off your energy consumption bills.

Another way to keep heat in your property is by using thick curtains. This will only have a limited effect but every little helps and if you really want to help stop heat escaping through your windows, you can always line the curtains with old blankets.

Put draft stoppers under all doors that are not being used regularly. You can go out and buy stoppers which will stop the wind getting in and the heat getting out, but if you really want to save the pennies then why not make your own?

This can be done by sewing to pieces of cloth together and filling the inside with whatever you can find, be it rice, lentils or even bits of old clothes. If you don’t have time to get out the needle and thread, it is possible to make a decent draft stopper using a pair of tights and several pairs of rolled up socks.

When you go to bed at night you’ll probably be tempted to turn up the heating so you can get a warm and cosy night’s sleep. This, however, can end up costing you a small fortune.

A cheaper and old school method is to use a hot water bottle. This will make you feel toasty and it will only cost you the price of boiling a kettle.

Next step, plug any gaps. Heat doesn’t just escape through roofs, walls and under doors, it can get out of anywhere so it makes sense to look at your windows, doors and floorboards.

Lastly, and possibly most simple of all, is using blankets and duvets to keep warm in your living room. If you really can’t afford to turn the heating up while curled up on the sofa, then wrap a blanket around you and you’ll warm up in no time at all.

Readers: How do you stay warm when it's cold outside?

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6 Responses to How to Stay Warm This Winter and Lower Your Energy Consumption

  1. krantcents 11/15/2012 at 10:29 pm #

    It is pretty mild where UI live in southern California, although it does get in the 3040 degrees at night. I keep our thermostate low (65 degrees) during the day when no one is home and 68 degrees in the evening. My gas bill in the winter is around $20-30 per month.

    • Paul 11/16/2012 at 12:45 am #

      I live in Phoenix so the gas bill is not the issue for us KC, it’s the electric bill for the air conditioning! I am looking into getting solar panels installed on the next property I buy!

  2. Marie at Family Money Values 11/15/2012 at 7:11 pm #

    Another way to stay warm is to get up and be more active in the house.

    • Paul 11/16/2012 at 12:43 am #

      I like the cooler weather of fall and wearing a sweater!

  3. Money Beagle 11/05/2012 at 2:40 pm #

    Open your blinds on sunny days to allow the sunlight to provide a little warmth.

    One of the first things we did after moving in was blow in a few more inches of insulation into the attic. It definitely helps.

    One of the best tools I have in my tool box is an infared thermometer. You just move it around the walls and ceilings and it tells you the temperature at any point. Use it to check around windows, doors, etc. to see where your biggest ‘cold’ spots are that you can address. We found a cold spot around the front door and found that a seal was broken allowing air to come right in.

    • Paul 11/06/2012 at 3:57 am #

      I need to get one of those SB! Not for “cold” spots but for “hot” spots, I live in Phoenix!

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