December, we wake up, its dark outside. We leave work for home and it’s already dark again. The Winter solstice is soon upon us. December the 21st is the shortest day (having the shortest daylight hours) of the year.
How we long for those hot summer days again. Before that we have countless cold, short days and even colder long nights. Once the Christmas and New Year festivities pass, we rue the moment those utility bills and credit card statements hit our mats or our email inboxes.
So how can we save on our fuel bills, stay warmer and more comfortable indoors and worry less about ‘Blue Monday’ in January.
(The third Monday of January has been awarded the gloomy title due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills. Apparently, a university professor managed to precisely calculate the most depressing day of the year).
Light Bulbs – or lamps as my electrician would correct me…
This time of year the temptation is to leave them on all of the time and depending on the size of your home (and number of teenagers living there) this could mean that your home resembles Blackpool illuminations and has the electricity bill to match!
One solution, besides turning them off as you leave a room (take note teenagers) would be to replace all the light bulbs in your home to energy saving LED bulbs, which last much longer and use considerably less energy than a traditional bulb. However this can work out costly to do in one go, with the average bulb costing £3-5 each. We were able to get all of our lightbulbs replaced absolutely FREE of charge as part of our Utility Warehouse package, if you’d like to find out if you’re eligible please click here and I will forward your details to a really helpful guy called Gary, who can see if you can get some too!
You could also replace your Christmas tree lights and other festive bulbs with led equivalents too? They are less bulky, use less energy and last longer than the old fashioned kind.
Use your heating wisely
If you have central heating, make sure your boiler has been regularly serviced to increase performance and protect about mid-winter heating disasters. You may want to consider having an older system ‘power flushed’ to remove debris form the pipes and increase efficiency, or replace your boiler (if budget allows – or you are eligible for a warm home grant) to a new energy efficient version.
If you have radiator TRVs (Thermostatic Radiator Valves) you can use these to control more precisely each radiator in every room. They allow you to heat only the rooms you are using saving substantial amounts of fuel (and wasted heat) compared to heating the whole house. Typically leaving them on low to keep the chill off a room, and then turning them up in the rooms as needed keeps your house warmer than trying to heat the whole system up from cold each time.
If you have an open fire, have your chimney swept and burn the right types of seasoned wood so that you get maximum warmth without too much mess, smoke or spitting of embers onto your carpet.
Beat the draughts and snuggle up
Do you have and older house or a house with poorly fitted doors that create huge draughts? How about making a sausage dog draught excluder? Last year we used this pattern from OVO to get a template so that we could make our own and here is the result:
It may sound old fashioned but how about having a large blanket in your living room. Once you retire for the evening, snuggle up under a big blanket with your loved one (Like I do). It feels so amazing and cosy. It is also a great way to have some extra cuddle time during these long dark evenings. Try it; you’ll be amazed how awesome it is. The trouble is, you can bet your life if you both do it, it won’t be long before the kids want to climb under it with you too.
You could also just wear a jumper indoors and some thicker socks, or slippers, or even a vest. You would be surprised what a difference it makes. Everyone knows someone who happily walks around the house in a t-shirt in the winter, but for those of us who feel the cold it’s time to wrap up warm
Let us know if you have other winter warmer tips – and keep cosy this winter.