13 ways to survive the winter bills
With the cold starting to bite and nights drawing in, heating and electricity bills can threaten to swallow up your student loan. We’ve compiled some handy hints to help you keep your costs down. And, no, unfortunately they don’t include staying in bed.
1. Time to reflect
Tin foil is not just for the Christmas turkey. A substantial amount of heat is lost through the wall behind your radiators, but you can significantly reduce this wastage simply by sticking up a sheet of tin foil to reflect heat back into the room. You can buy foil specially made for this purpose, but the kitchen variety is just as good if it’s decent quality.
2. Forget feng shui
It could be time for a shift around. Make sure your radiators aren’t hidden behind sofas, curtains or drawers, as this will stop some of the heat reaching the room.
3. A total turn-off
Struggle to get into the habit of turning appliances off at the wall? You’re not alone: 7 in 10 households are guilty of leaving electricals on standby. But according to The Energy Savings Trust, £80 a year is wasted by the average home because they fail to turn things off. TVs, set top boxes and mobile phones are the worst offenders. Watch out for games consoles, too, which remain in idle mode when they're not in use, consuming almost the same power as when you play a game. On the subject of switching stuff off, make sure you turn off the lights when you leave a room.
4. Stay baking hot
When you turn the oven off, leave the door open to make use of all the lovely toasty heat before it cools down.
5. Don’t bare all
10% of heat is lost through bare floors. So if your home isn’t carpeted throughout, put down some rugs asap.
6. Hosiery for the home
Tights aren’t just for keeping your legs warm, you know; they work for rooms too! Stuff yours with old socks and place them at the bottom of doors to keep drafts at bay.
7. Ban electric heaters
Warming up your icy feet in seconds may be tempting, but electric heaters guzzle electricity. Running one for just two hours a day will cost you around £17 a month. And who knows how often your housemates are using these bad boys behind closed doors. We suggest you have a heater amnesty immediately.
8. Solar power
While you should keep your curtains closed at night to keep the heat in, make sure you draw them in the morning to make the most of any sunlight during the day.
9. Put some clothes on
Before you reach for the thermostat, consider throwing on another layer instead. Turning up your heating by just one degree can increase your annual bill by a whopping 10%.
10. Head to the library
What are libraries for if it’s not charging up your gadgets for free? You’ll also enjoy free light, warmth and even – wait for it – books while you study.
11. Buy new light bulbs
One of the easiest ways to save significant sums is to swap your light bulbs for the energy saving variety. In fact, one energy saving light bulb can save you up to £60 over its lifetime and will last ten times as long as the less efficient kind. Now that’s what we call a light-bulb moment.
12. DIY double-glazing
25% of heat at home is lost through windows. If you’re not lucky enough to live in a property with double-glazing, get your hands on some glazing film. You can slap this on all your glass for minimal cost and it will significantly reduce the amount of heat that can escape.
13. Hop out of the shower
Hot water accounts for around one third of a household’s energy use. It may be hard to step out of a steaming shower during the winter months, but the longer you stay, the more you’ll pay. Try setting a time limit on how long housemates can spend in the bathroom each morning. It will help you get to morning lectures on time too!