Friday, 16 December 2016

Weekly Green Tips #36 - Reducing your heating bills

Week 36 - Reducing heating bills

Whether you get your heat from gas, oil or electricity, reducing your heating bills is great for the environment.  Gas and oil are both fossil fuels and by burning them,CO2, a major greenhouse, gas is produced.  Only about 25% of the UK's electricity comes from renewable resources with over 50% from burning gas and oil and over 20% from nuclear.  Nuclear may not produce greenhouse gases but it comes with potentially devastating problems should a meltdown occur and the environmental damage from mining the uranium needed to produce nuclear power is huge.  In most cases, therefore, using your heating less and at a lower temperature will be good for the environment.

21 ways to reduce your heating bills

Heating systems

1.  Turn down the thermostat by 1ºC.
2.  Only heat the rooms you use and keep others at 10ºC.
3.  Install an energy efficient heating system.
4.  Get your heating system serviced regularly.
5.  If you are out of the house for long periods some people say you should turn your heating off when the house is empty.  However others argue you should leave it on to reduce the need to stop it working overtime to heat a cold house on your return.  It is probably, therefore, best to try both methods and monitor which one gives you lower bills.
6.  Put reflective panels behind radiators, especially where they are against outside walls.  The panels serve to push the heat back into the house.

Your House

7.  Insulate, insulate, insulate - this is the absolute best way to keep a house warmer.  Roof insulation should be at least 250-270mm thick.
8.  If you are not using your chimney then block it using a chimney balloon.
9.  Stop all draughts where-ever they come from:
  • Add a letter box draught excluder.
  • Put a blanket over the cat flap.
  • Add a keyhole cover.
  • Use draught excluders on doors.
  • Block any holes where pipes go outside.
  • Add weather-stripping around doors and windows.
  • Build a porch.
10.  Put up thick curtains and close shutters at night.
11.  But in the daytime open curtains/shutters to let in natural warmth from the sun.
12.  Put rugs on bare floors.
13.  Move furniture away from radiators to allow the warm air to circulate better.
14.  Turn the power down on the shower.


15.  Get outside and when inside move around more.  Be active.
16.  Consume warming food and drinks.
17.  Wear thicker clothes - ideally several thinner layers which trap heat between them rather than one super thick level - and enjoy snuggling up on the sofa under a blanket or duvet.  It will also mean the latter is warm when you head to bed.

Bed Time

18.  Turn the heating down at night, which is also better for your health - and go to bed a bit earlier.
19.  Invest is a thicker winter duvet which is better than adding a blanket to a summer one.
20.  Bed socks and thick PJs should be the new trendy thing to wear.
21.  Buy a hot water bottle.

Please, however, do remember that young babies, the elderly and anyone who is ill should not be allowed to get cold.  The following temperatures are recommended:

      Elderly person:- 21ºC in the daytime living room, 18ºC in the night-time bedroom.
      A baby:- 21ºC in the daytime living room, 16-20ºC in the night-time bedroom.

Finally, if you are thinking about revamping your heating system do consider a wood-burning stove.  The wood you burn is carbon neutral and it can do more than heat your house.  Many have a cooking plate on top and I use mine for anything I would normally cook on the hob as well as heating up water for drinks and washing up.  I have an overhead drying rack which dries clothes really quickly meaning I have no need for a tumble drier .... oh and chopping, stacking and bringing in the wood is a great way to keep warm!

Do let me know if you have any great tips for lowering your heating bills.

21 ways to reduce your heating bills

A Green and Rosie Life