As T.S. Elliot once put it: “Winter kept us warm,” but then again, there was no heating back in the 1600s. As cold weather sets in (it gets chilly as early as October), homeowners are thinking about lowering their utility bills. Luckily for you, there are at least 8 tips on how to actually save energy and money on heating this winter season.
1. The importance of regular meter readings
Although the technology to read your meter wirelessly does exist, it is normally not used in households. You are likely having to read your meter every month and send the reading to the power company. Based on this data, they send you a gas bill.
Apart from reading the meter accurately, you need to read it every month. If you skip a single month, then the power company will have to guestimate how much gas or electricity you consumed and you might be surprised by the final figure.
2. Program the thermostat
Modern heating systems come with a programmable thermostat that allows you to regulate room temperature or shut down heating completely. You’ve probably used the latter feature when traveling away on a skiing holiday but you need to become savvy when it comes to programming the thermostat.
Every thermostat comes equipped with a timer that allows you to crank up the heat at certain periods. Review your daily activities for the past months and see when you are home the most. There is no need for the heating to be set to the max when no one is inside, right?
3. Lower temperatures at night
There have been numerous scientific studies that suggest sleeping in a cold room actually helps you sleep better. You can use this fact to save money in the long run by programming the thermostat to lower the room temperature at night. In the morning, it would get warmer an hour before you are about to get up to work, so you’ll wake up well-rested to a warm bedroom.
4. Paper bills are a thing of the past
We’ve mentioned earlier that you should read the meter on a monthly basis and naturally, pay the bill immediately after it arrives. We say “arrives,” because we assume that the mailman brings the bill every month but did you know that this “service” costs extra?
The 21st century ushered in online services and your local power company probably has an online payment system that allows you to foot the bill with a single click of the mouse. In most cases, there are promos for online payments, reducing the heating bill from 5% to 20%.
5. Preventing heat from escaping…
Once you’ve rounded up the financial aspect of heating bills, it’s time to turn your attention to energy conservation. You would never believe how much heat energy is lost through the house’s windows, doors, walls, floors, and the roof.
…through doors and windows
Therefore, draught-proofing your home must become a priority. The front and the back door should be mounted with a rubber gasket at the bottom to help prevent heat from escaping from underneath the door. Furthermore, installing double glazed windows in every room improves insulation and saves hundreds of dollars on energy bills.
…thorough the walls and the floor
The walls of the house, as well as the attic, should be insulated during major home renovation work. This is a huge investment that is mostly needed in older structures, as modern housing units come with excellent wall insulation.
When it comes to flooring, hardwood floors are by far the best insulators. However, they needn’t cost an arm and a leg, as there are affordable and sustainable bamboo floors coming from China. Essentially, think of your house as of a cuboid that needs insulation from all six sides.
6. Introducing thermostatic radiator valves
A mentioned earlier, a thermostat controls the temperature inside the whole house. Since you cannot tune it to regulate air temperature for each individual room, sections of the house might be hotter than expected.
Luckily, this imbalance is easily regulated by TRV, i.e. fitting thermostatic radiator valves on individual radiators. You don’t have to fit every heating body with a TRV; only the ones that waste the most energy.
7. Heat the bathroom using a towel warmer
It might seem like a strange thing to claim but you have no real need for a radiator inside the bathroom. In fact, a wall-mounted radiator is the water room that wastes valuable storage space. Most bathrooms are small in size and easily heated up, so a large towel warmer counts as a heating body.
These are connected to the home’s heating system and can be regulated using a separate valve. Finally, the positioning of a towel warmer behind the bathroom door ensures you have enough room for other amenities.
8. It’s OK to wear a jumper around the house in winter
One of the biggest fallacies is that the temperature in winter should allow you to walk in shorts and a T-shirt around the house. Yes, residential heating is there to make you warm but not too warm. There is no real need to overheat the house, turning it into an oversized furnace surrounded by snow. It’s perfectly fine to wear a sweater or a jumper around the house.
As winter approaches, homeowners are actively thinking about heating bills. In order for these thoughts to pleasant and not turn into headaches, you really ought to put into action the 8 tips listed above. From insulation to lowering the average room temperature, there is no reason for your heating bills not to go down this winter.
Freelance writer, hobby designer and DIY enthusiast