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Be efficient this winter

All Areas > Environment > Save the Planet

Author: Lois Barnes, Posted: Friday, 24th October 2014, 08:00

Winter is here, the heating is on and the fires are burning. But, with the rising cost of energy, many of us will be looking for ways to minimise the energy we use in our homes in order to save a few pennies – and save our planet. So, what can we do?

There are many ways to save energy and most of them are pretty simple. Set the heating to switch off when you go to bed – the house will still be nice and warm while you’re dozing off but won’t stay on unnecessarily when you’re asleep. Also, set the heating to switch on just before you normally wake up so the house is warm by the time you get up.

In addition, using a thicker duvet for the winter months avoids the need for a heater and using a hot water bottle to warm up your bed is much more efficient than using an electric blanket.

The easiest way to stay warm and save energy during winter is simply to layer up. Fight the temptation to turn the heating on or up and instead wear an extra jumper, some cosy slippers and a scarf if it’s a bit chilly inside. It’s tempting to run a long, hot bath to warm up when you’ve been out in the cold all day but a quick shower can do the trick and save on the amount of water used. When showering, try to keep it short and sweet – reducing shower time by a few minutes each time can save hundreds of gallons of water every month.

Keep curtains open in the day to let the sunshine heat your house for free, but shut them in the early evening and invest in draught excluders to help retain heat in your room during the night. You don’t need to go to the extreme of ‘Feng Shui‘-ing all the rooms in your house, but moving furniture around so that chairs and beds are located near radiators and away from windows can help you stay warmer. Furthermore, during the winter months hang clothes next to radiators instead of using the tumble drier in order to capitalise on the heating that is already being used.

Finally, appliances that are left on standby mode use energy and waste a lot of money – average households spend anywhere between £50 and £100 in electricity each year for appliances on standby. Switch off at the socket and unplug all appliances that aren’t in use throughout the day and night – it could save you a lot of money over the year.

None of these methods are difficult to do, but it can be difficult to remember to stick to them. Try putting up notes around the house as reminders until you get into a routine – you’ll soon be switching appliances off at the socket without thinking!

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