Offbeat tips to save money on heating your home this winter

by - Friday, December 14, 2012

The weather has turned bitterly cold and since almost all energy companies have raised their prices (yet again!) I'm sure we're all feeling the pinch this winter.

Our North-facing house is particularly cold, and over time we've devised quite a few offbeat techniques to keep the warmth in to spend as little as possible keeping the house toasty warm. Of course I'm sure you're all aware of the obvious ones (turn the heating down one degree, only heat when you need to, wear jumpers and socks indoors), so instead I'll present you with a few tips you may not have tried yet - and I promise they all help!

Hopefully Glamumous readers will find some of these tips useful in maintaining the temperature in their own homes.

Gaps beneath your skirting boards? Tape them up!

When we realised the (rather enormous) gaps between our skirting boards and floorboards were letting in icy drafts, my other half decided to block them with Gaffa tape. It worked a treat (albeit being a bit unsightly).

If you have any gaps at all, consider taping them (perhaps masking tape is a better option?) or at least fill the gaps with foam, scrunched up newspaper or whatever draft excluder you may have lying around!

Make your own draft excluders

Gaps beneath doors also let the heat escape. We have a balcony door leading off from the lounge which is a terrible culprit for letting in the cold. Old pillows rolled up and pushed against the gaps did the trick. If you're feeling crafty, make your own sausage-dog type excluders, or just use a rolled-up blanked.

Blankets on the beds

Much as we'd love to leave the heating on all night, we simply can't afford to. Luckily I found a box full of those old style woollen blankets (the type you may remember your grandmother stashing in the airing cupboard) and bought the lot. They're wonderful for keeping the heat trapped beneath the duvet, and make our beds feel ever-so snug.

Hot water bottles

Found in Poundland, I now can't sleep without my hot water bottle close to my feet. Beds feel so much more inviting after being warmed for 20 minutes before slipping in.

Close doors behind you - vigilantly!

I'm sure the kids are sick of hearing me tell them to keep the doors closed, but my this does make a difference! If only I could train the cats to close doors behind them too...

Turn off radiators in rooms you don't use

Do you really need your hallways to stay as toasty warm as the lounge? If not (and you can be vigilant with the door-closing technique) then switch them off. No point wasting energy where it isn't needed.

Thick winter curtains (over doors too!)

Our house is terribly designed. We have an archway instead of an entrance door in our living room which (as you can imagine) lets out all the warm air.

So we invested in a set of long thick curtains to keep the warmth in. Plus another for the balcony door, another to pull across the front door at night... Well, actually we were lucky to have them gifted from Freecycle, though you can probably also find nice thick curtains in charity shops for just a few pounds a pair. Even blankets hung over drafty doorways is better then nothing!

Gather round in the kitchen!

Late at night our kitchen is the coldest room in the house, but while I'm cooking or have the tumble dryer on, it's probably the warmest!

Don't let that energy go to waste! If the kids are feeling the chill, gather them round the kitchen table with some activities while you get to work at the stove or do the laundry. Not a long-term solution, but for those on pre-pay meters who can see how much heating costs per hour, it can feel quite satisfying.

Do you have any more tips for keeping warm this winter?

I'd love to know any more frugal ideas for maintaining a toasty warm home, so please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below.

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