Toasty tips: how to save money on heating
If it's freezing outside, coming home to an almost-as-cold house can be less than appealing. If you long for more cosy surroundings this coming winter but have a draughty, chilly home, there are loads of things you can try to keep the heat in (and we don't just mean wearing 16 layers or leaving the heating on all night).
These ingenious money-saving ideas from Mumsnetters should help keep your home lovely and toasty during the colder months.
1. Reduce your bills
First things first: make sure you're not spending more than you should on your heating bill. It's always worth investigating if you could be getting a cheaper deal from your provider. You may even qualify for a grant or cold weather payment.
- MoneySavingExpert.com has a club that's free to join, and monitors the best deals around. You just put in your details and it notifies you when it's time to switch. TurnipsandPumpkins
- You might as well be getting the cheapest deal, so check uSwitch. Kungfubustle
- It can be surprising who can apply for the Warm Home Discount Scheme. A lot of providers have their own criteria, and it's broader than you think. Kungfubustle
- I'm going to look into claiming Cold Weather Payments, as although I work, it says if your child gets DLA you may be entitled whether your employed or not. youarewinning
- The government's Green Deal aims to help families make improvements to their home which would save spending on energy. Households can apply for money towards things like insulation, draught-proofing and double glazing, or renewable energy generators.
2. Consider curtains
Don't underestimate the draught-stopping capacity of drapes. Hang good, thick curtains over your windows, internal doors and doorways; they can make a huge difference in poorly insulated houses.
- Thick lined curtains on windows are great. I've also fixed them over front and back doors. Our kitchen has no heat source but since covering the back door I can no longer see my own breath when I walk in. KungFuBustle
- Get curtains - the thicker the better. If you can't afford curtain lining (like we couldn't at the time), buy two cheap pairs of curtains from a charity shop and hang one inside the other in place of a liner. ControlGeek
- Instead of having to forgo your colour scheme with the curtains, you can buy cheap lengths of fleece and sew them into the curtains as linings, which helps keep the room warm. Cherrymonster
- If you have an open chimney but can't afford to light a fire, pin a sheet across it, which keeps the wind from blowing down the chimney. SkullyandBones
3. Look to your windows
Seal your windows, seal your windows, seal your windows. An enormous amount of heat can escape through them, so on top of curtains, try covering the glass with plastic or bubble wrap.
I put duct tape around my draughty windows. Cocolepew
- Bubble wrap is your friend. You can get 50m of the type with large air bubbles on eBay for around £17. Spray some water on your windows to make them sticky, then cut the bubble wrap to size and stick on. It means you have no view, but it really helps insulating. And in spring, you can just peel it off and reuse it again next year. Quientessentialshadows
- Builders plastic isn't cheap, but it's cheaper than double glazing. Tape it over windows and it can keep the heat in and the cold out. Kungfubustle
4. Try alternate sources of heat
It's not just oil that can heat your home. If you want to raise the temperature of your bedroom before you go to sleep or warm up chilly rooms, there are other, clever things you can do.
- I've worked out that it's cheaper to use a gas fire instead of central heating, so now we use that when we're in the lounge (around 12p an hour). We also have a small 2kw electric fan heater, which is enough to warm up our bedroom after 15 minutes on full-blast and only costs 8p. ColdTeaAgain
- The candle heater really works - my late father-in-law used to do this in his shed. Scripsi
- Leave the oven door open when you've finished cooking, it really does help to warm up the kitchen. Smilingthroughgrittedteeth