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Economical Ways to Heat the Home During Winter

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 13 Dec 2011 | comments*Discuss
Heating Winter Low Cost Insulation

British winters can be notoriously cold and rising fuel prices mean that it is becoming increasingly expensive to heat the home. But there are some ways to keep the heating bill low while still keeping the home warm.

Prepare in Advance for the Winter Chill

Heating bills are unavoidable but making a few changes to the home can help to reduce the expense. One of the best ways to reduce heating bills is to have adequate home insulation. This means looking at ways to insulate the roof, windows, walls and floors. Loft and cavity wall insulation, under floor insulation and draught proofing windows will make a significant difference to heating bills. It’s not expensive to insulate your home and using the government home insulation grants can lead to an approximate annual saving of £300 per year on energy bills.

Using Natural Sunlight to Heat the Home

Eco-friendly options such as solar panels can be used to heat the home but this will mean an outlay of cash when converting energy systems and buying/installing the panels. One cheap and easy way to bring warmth into the home is to leave curtains and blinds fully open during the day. This will help to heat rooms and will save on electricity used on heating and lighting. Those who are considering converting to solar energy options can save around £200 per year on lighting and heating. Some Government grants and schemes exist for homeowners who are considering this eco-friendly option.

Always Check Energy Tariffs for the Low Cost Option

Most energy providers will have off peak, low cost options. This means that using hot water and heating during the off peak hours will be cost effective. The off peak period usually lasts for around seven hours out of the 24hr period. Unfortunately the off peak hours will vary and suppliers are not always able to provide this information. But checking the energy suppliers’ website should give an idea of the off peak periods. In most cases the low cost periods will be from between 10.00pm until around 7.00am.

Always Switch off Water Heating Boilers

It’s a common misconception that leaving a hot water boiler on continuously will save money. One of most expensive aspects when heating water using a boiler - is when the cold water is initially heated. But it costs considerably more to keep a boiler running continuously. Using timers to heat water only when needed will be more energy efficient and will save money. Homeowners with boilers will also find it more energy and cost efficient to insulate their boilers and hot water pipes in order to stop heat from escaping.

Consider Buying a Wood Burning Stove

When it comes to heating a room there are plenty of options available but some are more cost efficient than others. Wood burners can be expensive to buy but are cost efficient over the long-term; prices to buy range from £150 to £600. Customers should always shop around when looking for wood suppliers in order to find the least expensive option. Ash is considered one of the best wood burning options and should be widely available; try a tree surgeon for low cost wood all year round. Always use a qualified fitter to install a wood burning heater.

Heat Only One Room at a Time

There is no need to heat every room in the house during the winter months. The most economical option is to heat one room only. Bedrooms can be left unheated during the day and instead of using a heater before bed try an electric blanket. Portable heaters are also an option to heat a room for a short time. Low wattage panel heaters are inexpensive to run and buy; running costs for a 400 watt panel heater should be between 1p and 2p per hour. Higher wattage heaters are also available but the higher the wattage the higher the running costs will be.

Always Shop Around for the Lowest Energy Suppliers

It makes sense to shop around and obtain quotes from energy suppliers. There are no savings to be made by simply staying loyal to the same energy suppliers for years. Search comparison websites that use energy supplier calculators based on approximate energy usage per year to find the lowest priced suppliers. It will usually take between four and six weeks to change supplier and there is no need to inform present suppliers; this is taken care of by the new supplier. Remember, if supplier contracts are in place there may be an early termination payment to make to the present energy supplier before switching.

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