How to be energy efficient this winter

We asked our friend Becky Goddard-Hill - award winning family blogger at the Baby Budgeting blog- what her top tips are to keep warm in winter while keeping an eye on the energy efficiency of her home. Here's what she said.

How to be energy efficient this winter

Winter comes and energy usage just soars, as we try to heat our homes and spend so much more time inside. Along with our increased use of energy comes increased bills and they can take their toll on limited budgets.

But what can we do, it’s winter, of course we feel cold and of course we want to keep our homes cosy and warm?

Is it simply a matter of comfort vs cost?

How to lower energy bills this winter

There are so many simple ways to be more energy efficient that aren’t hugely expensive or complicated and it is really important we apply as many as we can to keep costs and energy usage as low as possible.

Some ways to be more efficient are speedy, simple, inexpensive quick fixes. Others require some investment and thought but can have a big impact.

I suggest you pick what works for you and try something new too.

How to switch tariffs

Switching tariffs has to be one of the single most influential actions you can take to keep your energy costs down. Yet because so many people believe it is going to be complicated and time-consuming they stay exactly where they are.

It is actually very straightforward.

One great way of switching is to pop over to EDF's switching page and simply enter your details to get a quote and compare tariffs. They take care of the rest – the process takes around 3 weeks to transfer your account. You can always call if you prefer to speak to someone for free. You will be amazed at the potential saving switching providers and tariffs can make, and actually how easy it is to do.

Quick fixes and simple solutions

Many of the things we can do to stay warm are speedy and simple.

One of the very easiest ways to keep warm is to put on some more clothes. A vest, an extra t-shirt or warmer socks, can all make such a difference and require practically no effort.

A pile of blankets and throws mean cosy toes on chilly days without having to touch the heating. These are lovely things to keep in bedrooms and lounges in the winter months.

Do make the most of your radiators being on to dry your clothes so you can keep the tumble dryer off! If this is not possible consider using drying balls which can reduce the drying time of your clothes by 25%. They are inexpensive and effective.

Gaps and cracks under and around doors and windows let the cold air in and let the heat out. This is easily and temporarily fixed by using draught excluders under doors and draught excluding tape around windows and doors, this is inexpensive and really simple to apply.

Try only filling the kettle with as much water as you actually need. We all drink more hot drinks in winter and this is a good way to keep warm but overfilling the kettle is just a complete waste of energy and unnecessary.

Because we spend much more time indoors in winter there is a tendency to use more appliances and of course more lights. Switching off appliances rather than leaving them on standby, and doing the same with lights, is a great habit to adopt to keep those winter energy costs down.

Simply shutting doors and curtains can also stop warmth from escaping a room and is an easy energy-saving solution.

Before you reach for the electric blanket considers a cup of cocoa, a hot water bottle or a cuddle, sometimes the old-fashioned ways are the best.

Smart meters could save you money

Smart meters bring a sense of ease to being energy efficient. They're part of the government’s plans to move Britain towards a lower carbon economy. By 2020 all homes across Britain will have new meters and these really can make a big difference.

A smart meter replaces your current gas and electricity meter and is installed for free.

The meter calculates how much energy you’re using and what this costs in near real-time. You can see this information on your smart meter display as well as data about your carbon emissions. This helps you monitor and adjust your energy usage. Smart meters automatically send all this information to your power supplier so bills are entirely accurate and you get no nasty surprises or inflated estimates.

You can find out much more about smart meters here.

Home insulation to reduce wasted energy

Keeping a home well insulated is key to reducing energy costs, especially through the winter months.

Whether you consider double glazing, loft insulation or even solid wall insulation these are all positive and impactful long term investments in your home.

Some of these insulation options may be available via your power supplier for free under a scheme called ECO – do check if you are eligible here.

It is so important to keep your home warm and if you are struggling there is help available. Do have a look here to find out about the government’s warm home discount and any funding or support that you may be entitled to.

Renewable energy for a sustainable way to save money

Renewable energy is an exciting way to both save and even generate energy. It is the future and it is evolving constantly.

From solar panels to heat pumps and electric cars we can create energy and even make money by making the most of renewable energy sources.

If you are interested in reading more about the fabulous renewable energy innovations already available take a look at this great page about renewable energy.

One day this might be the complete norm and it's good to embrace now.

Being energy efficient can take many forms; from implementing quick fixes, changing suppliers or tariffs, insulating your home, installing a smart meter and looking at renewable energy sources. There are many options. No matter what your budget there is always something you can do to keep warm whilst keeping costs down.

Stay warm!

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Posted by Becky Goddard-Hill