No cost tips to keep warm and save energy this Winter

With the long, dark chilly evenings slowly creeping in it’s tempting to crank up the thermostat and lounge around in the heat without a care in the world. Stop, think before you do. With a few simple tricks and minor adjustments you can drive your energy costs down and the good news is, lowering them doesn’t require spending money. There are simple ways in which you can enjoy the warmth and save energy in the long run.

Know how to set your controls to have a warm cosy home

Keep warm and save energy!

Many of us keep our thermostats set too high. Check your thermostat and if it’s set above 20ºC turn it down. If that feels too cold, try turning it down in stages, starting at a comfortable temperature and going down by one degree each week to give yourself time to adjust.  Lowering your thermostat by just 1ºC will knock 10% off your heating bill. You can also keep temperatures  lower in hallways and corridors, as you’ll never normally be in there for more than a couple of minutes at a time.
Ideal comfortable room temperature is 20

Turn down your thermostat!

Make better use of the timers on your immersion or boiler so you can control when the heating comes on and goes off. This means you have heating and hot water when and where you want it. By understanding the controls you can always wake up and come home to a warm house without leaving the heating on 24/7. So, remember when setting the controls it will take a while for the house to heat up when you turn it on and to cool down when you turn it off.
Ideally set the heating to come on 20 minutes before getting up and to go off 15 minutes before you leave the house. If you’re out and about all day remember to set it to come on 20 minutes before you return home. This will be enough to take the chill out of the air and ensure a comfortable warm home. If on the other hand you’re going to be busy preparing meals, catching up on housework etc. when you arrive home well then there is  no need to have the heating coming on before returning because you will be warm enough while rushing about. Turn off 20 minutes after you go to bed. There is no need to have the heating on while you sleep.
Keep your doors closed

Keep your doors closed!

Close room doors to separate heated from unheated areas of your home, and minimise the area you are heating. If your home is anything like mine you’ll spend your evening closing doors behind everyone! There is no need to spend money heating rooms that are not being used.
Close your curtains at night - open during the day to let the sunshine in!

Close your curtains at night – open during the day to let the sunshine in!

Much of the heat loss from a house occurs through the windows, particularly if they are single glazed. So keep your curtains closed at night, even in empty rooms and also ensure that the curtains don’t hang over the radiators as that will just funnel all your heat out the window. If the radiator is mounted below a window, a projecting window-board or shelf above the radiator will direct warm air into the room, reducing heat loss through the window. Remember to open them during the day to let the warm sunshine in.
Check for draughts!

Check for draughts!

Check the house for draughts. Light a candle or incense and hold it up to doors and window frames.  If the candle flame flickers or the smoke of the incense flows towards the window, there is a draft there. Seal up the leaks.
Look for places where you have pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the wall, ceiling or floor. Check the bathroom, underneath the kitchen sink, pipes inside a closet, etc. If you find a gap at the point where the pipe or vents goes through the wall, seal it up. For a no cost way to seal you can try using scrunched up old newspapers, old towels etc.
Use a draught excluder to stop cold air from seeping under the doors and into the house. Be creative and make your own by using old sheets, towels and all those odd socks that you keep holding on to in the hope that eventually you find a pair (it’s never going to happen!)
Wear a jumper!

Wear a jumper!

And now for some old fashioned advice…… turn down the heat and put on a sweater 🙂 Mums are always right!
Free Energy Efficient improvements available

Free Energy Efficient improvements available

Free Energy Efficient  improvements available.
The Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, funds energy efficiency improvements in the homes of the elderly and vulnerable, making the homes more comfortable, healthier and more cost effective to run.

The scheme is available to non-Local Authority owner occupied homes constructed before 2006. The owner of the property has also to be in receipt of one of the following:

  • Fuel Allowance as part of the National Fuel Scheme
  • Job Seekers allowance for over six months and with children under 7 years of age
  • Family income support

The service involves the installation of standard energy efficiency measures appropriate to the eligible household subject to SEAI survey, budget allocation and available capacity. The service is provided at no cost to the household and the measures currently available under this scheme are:

  • Attic insulation.
  • Draught proofing.
  • Lagging jackets.
  • Low energy light bulbs.
  • Cavity wall insulation.
  • Energy advice.
Landlords can avail of grants from Better Energy Homes if they have tenants in, or at risk of, energy poverty.
What advice would you give to keep warm and save energy?
Photo Credits: Photopin and Wexford Local Development.
Much of the heat loss from a house occurs through the windows, particularly if they are single glazed. So keep your curtains closed at night, even in empty rooms and also ensure that the curtains don’t hang over the radiators as that will just funnel all your heat out the window. – See more at: http://www.seai.ie/Power_of_One/Energy_Saving/Top_Tips/#sthash.0tOFTMHK.dpuf
Close room doors to separate heated from unheated areas of your home, and minimise the area you are heating. There is no need to spend money heating rooms nobody is in. – See more at: http://www.seai.ie/Power_of_One/Energy_Saving/Top_Tips/#sthash.0tOFTMHK.dpuf
Many people keep their thermostat too high. Check it and if its above 20ºC turn it down. Lowering your thermostat by just 1ºC will knock 10% off your heating bill. – See more at: http://www.seai.ie/Power_of_One/Energy_Saving/Top_Tips/#sthash.0tOFTMHK.dpufMany people keep their thermostat too high. Check it and if its above 20ºC turn it down. Lowering your thermostat by just 1ºC will knock 10% off your heating bill. – See more at: http://www.seai.ie/Power_of_One/Energy_Saving/Top_Tips/#sthash.0tOFTMHK.dpuf

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  • Anne O' Neill says:

    Some great advice and all easily implemented into our every day lives. With the rising cost of energy bills we definitely need to wise up and start reducing our energy costs.

    • Frank says:

      Everyone is looking at ways to reduce their energy costs Anne. Starting with the no cost options first is at least a step in the right direction. With busy lives you tend to forget these simple things but with a little thought they will eventually become part of the norm.

  • Helen C says:

    I will definitely be putting your advice into practice this year. The only piece of advice I might have a problem with is the wearing of the jumper….for some reason my children seem to think that every season is t-shirt season, and then they wonder why they feel cold:)

    • Frank says:

      Reminds me of when ours were younger Helen. Wouldn’t wear jumpers/hoodies in the house because ‘they were only for outside!!’ Didn’t take long though before they realised the heat wasn’t going to be turned up….no option for them then only to dress for the weather:) Mum’s do know best!!

  • Pat O' Neill says:

    Thanks for the reminder about the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme. I have elderly parents who could do with some energy upgrades in their home.

    • Frank says:

      You’re welcome Pat. Your parents will notice a huge difference to their home. My parents got theirs upgraded last year and they cannot believe the difference it has made to the house.

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