Saving Stuff

Winter energy saving tips

Published: 10 December 2008

Common sense should prevail in the winter time to save energy, this will in turn save you money as well which isn't a bad thing particularly with the cost of energy, be it gas oil or electricity, increasing year after year.  It makes sense to use less energy where possible, even in a cold winter, with some thought, it can be done.

To start with, good home insulation and an efficient well serviced heating system is a must.  Most houses have double glazing and in the winter time they are essential to help keep out the cold and keep your house warm which in turn means you can keep the thermostat lower as your heat is not escaping.  It might also be worth considering swapping your light summer curtains for heavier lined ones as this will help keep the heat in.  Don't forget to open those curtains on bright sunny days during the winter and collect some of that free heating!

Central heating thermostat controlsThink about how your central heating system works.  It's probably only worth heating the rooms you spend the most time in and heating them whilst you are there.  Consider turning off radiators in the guest room when not in use and make sure the door is kept shut.  I work from home and spend most of my time in one room, consequently I use a portable heater to heat just that room.  A sensible approach to heating your home and preventing heat escaping will save you money in the long run as you will use less energy.

Check the settings on your fridge and freezer.  Whilst these appliances operate more efficiently in the winter months particularly when the heating isn't on, it might possible to turn the dial down a notch or two and save a little bit of electricity without noticing the difference.  Icy cold drinks in the summer are very welcome but less of a temptation in the middle of winter.  Additionally, make sure you keep your freezer stocked up as it operates more efficiently that way.

During the winter months you are more likely to use a tumble drier than in the summer as there are less days where it is possible to dry clothes on a washing line.  If you have a conservatory or a lean to, consider installing a retractable washing line.  Whilst clothes may take a bit longer to dry they can prove useful, are relatively cheap and with a bit of planning can mean using your tumble drier less and hence saving energy.  Using a radiator for the odd light item of clothing is another possibility, however the resulting humidity and slightly unattractive visual aspect may make this a less viable option.  Having a clothes horse in a south facing guest room or conservatory is also another similar option.

Showers, either electric or the mixer type all use energy somewhere along the line to heat the water up to a comfortable temperature.  Consider synchronising your bathing habits with the heating system so that you shower when the bathroom is warm and when the water is heated.  It will depend on the type of heating and shower you have but it may work out more efficient so it is worth experimenting.

Finally, just a few of the more obvious ideas can be applied all the year round to help save energy.  Put on a jumper or a few more layers before turning the heating up.  Use energy saving light bulbs where possible and don't over fill that kettle when you're making your morning cuppa.  These are small things but every little opportunity to use less energy will count both in being kinder to the environment and your bank balance.