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Some tips on reducing energy costs and keeping warm this winter

Reducing heating in the home

· Have the heating on for shorter periods during the day.

· Turn your heating and water thermostats down to a lower setting.

· Heat rises so you may find that you can turn the upstairs radiators / heaters off or have them on a lower setting.

· By wearing extra clothes in the house, you will feel warmer and soon get used to the lower temperature. Thermal underwear, extra layers, warm jackets and socks will keep you warm even if the whole house is at a lower temperature.

· Keep on the move if you are able. Sitting for long periods will reduce your body temperature. Moving around and short bursts of exercise will increase your body temperature.

· A hot drink will make you feel warmer.

· Use a blanket when sitting around, watching TV etc.

· Snuggle up in bed with a hot water bottle.


Loss of heat from your home will result in inefficient use of your heating and will make the house feel colder

· Block drafts from the bottom of doors with draft excluders. Old pillows or rolled up blankets can be used, or make your own!

· Buy a roll of draft excluder to stick around doors that are not close enough fitting, and are letting warm air out and cold air in.

· Windows can be the worst areas for heat loss. Heavy drawn curtains will act as insulators from the cold outside and keep the heat in, so all curtains can be closed at dusk. Keep curtains closed in rooms that you don’t use.

· Thermal blinds on windows not suitable for curtains, can be quite effective.

· Replacing single glazed windows with double or triple glazing.

· Sufficient loft insulation to a depth of 300mm will help to reduce heat loss from the roof.

· Attaching tin foil or Radiator Reflector Foil (from B & Q), behind radiators will reduce heat loss into the walls behind the radiators.


Energy advice, home surveys and grants are available


Cooking can use quite a significant amount of gas or electricity

· Only boil enough water for the number of drinks being made.

· Surplus hot water can be stored in a thermos flask for later use.

· Cook economically. Some vegetables can be cooked together to reduce the number of pans in use.

· Cook in bulk for several days and for storing in the freezer for later use.

· Microwaves use less electricity than ovens for cooking and reheating, depending on the quantity of food being cooked or reheated.

· Using a pressure cooker will reduce cooking times. Slow cookers use less energy.


Hot Water

· Heating water is a huge drain on energy bills, so use economically.

· Turn down to thermostat to 50 degrees C. or lower.

· Setting your hot water boiler to come on once or twice a day for half an hour may be sufficient for your needs. Advice on optimising the gas boiler can be found on YouTube.

· Take shorter showers and fewer baths, which could be shared.


Appliances


· Washing machines and clothes driers are costly to run. Use economically and only when necessary.

· Fill washing machine to maximum and only wash clothes when they really need it.

· Wash at a lower temperature, 30 or 40 degrees with appropriate laundry liquids.

· Dry clothes outside on a washing line, indoors on a clothes drier or over doorways (upstairs) on a hanger.

· Use dishwasher economically by filling up to max.

· Washing up in the sink can be done at the end of the day rather than after each meal.

· If you have solar panels, use appliances when the sun is shining!

· If you have the Economy 7 Tarif, use appliances at night when the cost is cheaper.


Lighting


· Another significant draw on your energy costs, so use lights economically.

· Turn off lights when not in the room. Ensure that the whole family follow this advice.

· Switch bulbs to the most efficient LED bulbs.


Electronic equipment and gadgets

· Use economically and switch off standby lights by turning off at the mains plug.


Families may find it useful to create house rules so that everyone is involved in helping to reduce energy costs


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