Keeping your home and yourself warm this winter – words Al Woods
None of us like to receive a hefty heating bill. Yes, I know we’re meant to plan for the year ahead and I’m sure we all mean to, but we still get thrown by a big bill when it lands. It’s much worse if the bill follows an especially cold period.
Inevitably, thoughts then turn to how to get the bill down to a manageable amount. There are many ways to tackle this, some very obvious and practical, and some ways that are a bit more leftfield or even novel. One thing is for sure – any way of bringing that bill down is welcome so let’s look at some ways to save money on your heating.
Yes, it sounds so obvious. We should all look at ways to better insulate our homes. There are lots of different types of insulation these days including natural wool through to quite space-age materials. It really has transformed since the days of dodgy fibre glass rolls. So, if you last insulated your loft ten years ago or more you may want to upgrade that insulation as it will save you a serious amount of money. If you plan on restyling your house it might be worth thinking about insulating as you go. Some floor coverings have more insulating properties than others, something to consider when remodelling. Ask the supplier how much money your carpet could save you on your heating bill? Even different paints and wall coverings have different insulating properties and it’s worth bearing this in mind if you’re about to redecorate. All these things can add up to huge savings.
Keep your boiler optimised
How many of us do not keep our boiler up to date and upgraded? Most of us would never do that with our car. We regularly get our cars looked over to make sure they are running properly and efficiently. Well we need to do the same with our boilers. You can get service agreements that regularly give your boiler a full inspection and upgrade. You don’t always have to change your boiler. Sometimes it is just one part that needs replacing not your whole heating system. If it’s part of your agreement then it shouldn’t cost you anything more, at most you may need to order a spare part. Find out your specific boiler brand in case you need any spares. I’ve just ordered a few Vaillant boiler parts from Heating and Plumbing World after checking my system. Boilers have parts just like cars and these parts can wear down and fail over time. An efficient boiler can really help keep those bills down so it’s worth some serious consideration.
Use your common sense when heating your home
Let me tell you about the in laws. They are tighter than a gnat’s behind. They often refuse to use their central heating system as they resent having to pay the bills. Their house often feels colder than the air outside. They tend to huddle around their gas fire and any visitors have to push their way in to get any warmth at all. This is not very smart. What is the point of paying for an efficient central heating system but then refusing to use it? Never mind the cost of the system itself; you may well end up spending more using the gas fire all winter than using your central heating and having a lovely warm house. Plus, they have no hot water on tap. So, they boil kettles. All the time. This is crazy behaviour that not only ruins your quality of life but probably ends up costing you money too.
Okay maybe not so obvious as my previous points but think about this. When do you feel most cold? When you’re sitting still. When you’re busy and moving around you heat up. Some of the fittest people are actually waiting staff. They never sit down, never sit still. If you like cooking, then move around the kitchen and go for it. You’re moving around, doing something you enjoy over a hot stove. Get your partner to help out. Make it a work-out or cook-off whatever you want to call it. The resulting dish will warm you up from the inside and hopefully will taste good too. Get yourself an exercise app. and work out a routine for yourself. You can turn your front room into a gym at little or no cost. Keep your central heating on low in the background as you exercise. Not only will it get you fit. It will warm you up as well, burning those extra calories!