Heating. You can’t live with it and you can’t live without it.
You can’t live with it because of rising pressure for all of us to reduce our carbon footprint and you can’t live without it because, well, you’d freeze.
Of course, the average heating bill per household in the UK depends on a whole host of factors.
But, according to the Money Advice Service, the average UK household gas bill in 2018 was £676 per year, or £56 per month if you prefer.
And with the cold weather now firmly set in, presumably until April or May next year, being able to reduce your gas or electricity bill while also staying warm is vital for many households.
And thankfully there are steps you can take to keep more heat in and keep those bills as low as possible…
How to keep your home warm in winter
1 Free heat from the sun
‘But it’s freezing outside,’ we hear you cry.
Yes, it is.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t capture the warmth of the winter sun and harness it.
Open your curtains in rooms where the sun shines directly inside and then be sure to close them again once it sets.
Your curtains will act as a further layer of insulation to keep that free heat in and help you turn down your heating by a degree or two.
2 Make use of central heating timers
Depending on who you listen to, you should either keep your heating running on a low temperature all day, or just blast it when you need it and leave it off the rest of the time.
One thing you could try is setting your heating to come on earlier in the morning but at a lower temperature.
Boilers heat up at the same rate whether your thermostat is set to 18 degrees or 30 degrees, so getting it on earlier and switching it off again before you no longer need it could save you money.
3 Get your sofa away from the radiator
Are you really getting the benefit of heat from a radiator which is covered by the back of a sofa?
The answer is ‘no’, although the back of your sofa certainly is as the fabric absorbs all the heat you’d ideally have circulating around your front room.
Drying clothes on a hot radiator is also a no-no if you can avoid it – not only will the clothes absorb all the heat meant for the room but wet clothes drying inside can cause condensation and then mould on windows and walls.
4 Insulation is vital
And that’s why around a quarter of heat is lost through poorly insulated roofs in the UK, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
That’s before we even start with your walls.
Cavity wall insulation can be cheaper to install than loft insulation and could save you around £150 per year in heating bills.
Also, don’t forget to ensure your hot water tank is well lagged as this could save you even more money.
5 Block out any draughts
The Energy Saving Trust reckons draught-proofing your home could save you as much as £25 per year.
Seal any gaps in doors and windows with self-sticking rubber seals and grab a couple of draught excluders for the bottom of doors.
If you have children, you could even task them with making their own draught excluder snakes or sausage dogs.
6 Reflective radiator panels
Some heat naturally escapes from the rear of the radiators in your home, heating up the walls rather than the room.
But a reflective radiator panel can turn this around and deflect that heat back into your room, meaning a notch or two turned back on the thermostat dial could save you a pretty penny.
7 Leave the oven door open
One way to get more than one use from a hot appliance is to leave your oven door open once you’ve finished cooking.
The heat from the oven as it cools down will help heat your kitchen, but always be careful of pets and children when doing this.
8 Grab a jumper
Unless it’s absolutely Baltic outside, do you really need the heating on at certain points of the day or night?
Sometimes, during a milder winter, it’s possible simply to grab an extra layer or two or sit under a warm throw when watching TV and keep snug, meaning no heating required.
9 Turn down the dial anyway
Do you need the heating running at 23 or 24 degrees?
Could you make do with 21 or 22?
It’s estimated that turning down your heating by a mere one degree could cut as much as 10% from your annual heating bill.
It’s one degree, after all…