Stay Warm In Style

The summer has long gone, the clocks have gone back and once again we are getting into that time of year where we dawn our Parka jackets and retreat into a state of semi-hibernation until spring returns. Unfortunately this is also the time of year where your home energy bills tend to shoot through the roof, and it seems like the best part of your month�s wages are spent on keeping you from contracting hypothermia.

It is for this reason that you should properly prepare you home for winter and adopt a few energy saving practices that will help save you a tidy sum in time for Christmas. We don�t mean that you should wear every item of clothing you own and sleep in a box full of Styrofoam packing peanuts, and understand that it is not necessarily practical to follow every piece of advice you are offered. However that being said you should at least make an attempt to follow some of these tips, as they could save you a small sum this winter.

For starters invest in a timer-thermostat for your boiler. There is a false belief stating that you should keep your heating on low all day, as it is better than using a lot of heat at once. This is completely untrue;it is far more effective and efficient to heat your home in short bursts only when there are occupants inside. Using a thermostat that only allows the heating to come on at times when people will actually be in the house and using it is far more economic than leaving it on all the time.

If you don�t have one then you should certainly consider buying your own and getting a CORGI registered plumber to fit it professionally. Always use brand manufactured spare parts where possible as they are specifically designed to work with that make and model of boiler e.g. if you need a newexpansion vessel for a Vaillant boiler, then use only Vaillant boiler parts as replacements. It is tempting to use cheaper 3rd party replacements however these tend never to last as long as the originals and in some cases can even damage other parts your boiler system.

Consider investing in Cavity-wall and loft insulation; you may have received the cold calls or a knock on the door from someone offering you a �great deal� on cavity wall and loft insulation for you home. No doubt you treated them with suspicion and rightly so; many of these callers are from private companies looking to carry out work on behalf of the local authority. However you can very easily get cheap or even free (if you receive benefits and qualify) insulation from your local authority, just give them a call and they can send out a surveyor to check. You can also get similar grants to install double glazed windows in your home however these are a bit more difficult to come across; it�s still worth having a look though.

Energy saving light bulbs isanother useful way of saving money throughout the long dark nights; you can also get these for free if you qualify for certain benefits. Although the lesser known one is the Powerdown Plug; this handy plug extension works by automatically turning off devices that haven�t been used in a while at the power socket, meaning you no longer have to worry about turning your TV or computer off at the mains to get rid of the dreaded �red light�.

If you haven�t already; get your hands on some adjustable radiator valves. This gives you extra control over the amount of heat you use in your home as you can switch off radiators in rooms that are not currently being used to save on heat. Also try drying your clothes over you radiators instead of using the tumble drier to save that bit more.

Draft excluders are an amazingly cheap and effective way to prevent cold air from circulating around the home. Essentially they are just an oblong pillow with two weighted ends, however when placed at the base of draughty external doors, you can really feel the difference they make.

Invest in some long curtains preferably made of a heavy material to draw over your windows at nights. Remember it gets dark fairly early in winter so you won�t be getting any light from outside anyway so it is best to use them as a physical barrier for keeping heat from escaping.

Try installing a shelf just above your radiator; this helps to push warm air out into the room instead of just letting it rise up towards the ceiling. You can also add some clothes hooks to the underside of the shelf which makes it perfect for hanging dam clothes on to dry during wet winter evenings.

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