Manage your energy bills and stay warm this winter

Manage your energy bills and stay warm this winter

Published 16 November 2022
Lady With Cuppa

With energy bills rocketing sky high it is set to be a very chilly winter. However, you should never have to choose between whether to eat or heat. You just need to take a few steps to reduce heat loss from your home in order to save money on heating and stay warm. Here are some tips below:

Dry your clothes naturally or use a dehumidifier

The cheapest way to dry your clothes is on an airer or washing line, or naturally by hanging them up wherever possible around the house. Compared to using a tumble dryer, this should save you around £40 a year on average, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Alternatively, you could use a dehumidifier to speed up the process and save money compared to using a tumble dryer.

Wash your clothes at a cooler temperature

Try washing your clothes at 20 or 30 degrees instead of 40 degrees, as doing so could save you £24 a year, according to consumer association Which? You can reserve 40 or 60 degrees for bedding and towels to get these squeaky clean.

Make your own draught excluders

Cracks in windows and doors allow heat to escape easily, but the way to fix this is by using a silicone sealant to fill any gaps. If you can find cheap, secondhand draft excluders or make these yourself using a rolled towel or other means for any doors that lead to the outside, this should also help keep the heat inside your home.

Use an air fryer, microwave or slow cooker instead of your oven

Many air fryers and microwaves are cheaper to use than gas ovens, partly because they take less time in a smaller space to cook things such as frozen meals. According to comparison site Uswitch, it could cost around 12p to cook chicken in an oven, compared to half that amount in an air fryer. The site says it’d cost around 27p to cook a baked potato in the oven compared to just 3p in the microwave. Alternatively, try using a slow cooker, as while it’ll be on for longer than an oven, that doesn’t mean you’ll be spending more on energy, as they use far less. They’re also great for cooking cheap cuts of meat and making use of old vegetables.

Make the most of your appliances

Consider how you cook your dishes, to potentially reduce the time spent using your oven. When you’re using your oven, maximise its space. Don’t just cook a single item, but think about what you’re eating for the rest of the week and whether you can bulk cook to save on energy costs. Anything you don’t plan to eat that day can be frozen or chilled and reheated when needed. Alternatively, consider switching to food that doesn’t require using energy, and cooking, such as bread instead of toast, and baked oats left in the fridge rather than porridge.

When you’re boiling water for tea or coffee in the morning, only boil the amount you’ll actually need. Alternatively, boil a full kettle and transfer the remaining water to a flask to keep it warm for the rest of the day for more hot drinks.

Use hot water bottles, hand warmers and heated blankets to stay warm

There are masses of heated items you can buy to wear, wrap around you or use to stay warm. According to research by MoneySavingExpert, those which can be charged via USB such as USB gloves, and hand warmers are cheapest to run, but these are usually focused on a small area such as your hands or feet. You can buy these at Amazon, Superdrug and Wilco, for example.

Wear several layers and try a wearable blanket

Rather than wearing a single woolly jumper, put on several thermal layers. This is generally the advice given to those trekking in the cold, or skiing, so it’s likely to be worth noting. Retailers such as Mountain Warehouse, and The North Face are good places to start and you can look for secondhand options on eBay and other sites such as Vinted. Other options that sell thermal tops and leggings include Decathlon, Sports Direct, and M&S.

Prep a single warm ‘winter room’

If you’re really worried about how much it’s going to cost to heat your entire home, you could focus on keeping one room warm, such as the living room. Make this as cosy as you can, and plan to maximise time here in the coldest months. This may include making full use of draught excluders, throws, and blankets in that particular room. Candles, fairy lights or solar garden lights can add a cosy feel, and they’re good to have in the event of a power cut. Alternatively, you could switch the radiators off in every room you’re comfortable not using, except your bedroom and living room. Try heating the living room during the day and bedroom just before you go to bed.