With the cold weather closing in, it might be tempting to crank up the thermostat. However, with the average annual UK energy bill costing home owners £1308* last year, you might want to reconsider having your radiators on full blast this winter.
According to the UK Parliament, households spend £63 billion a year on heating, power and transport. To give you a better understanding of how your energy use affects your purse, we created a heat map of the average annual energy bill across UK regions.
With energy costs hitting the country hard, we put together a checklist of low cost solutions to keep your house warm on a budget.
Don’t leave your floors bare
Bare floor boards might be back in fashion but your feet probably won’t thank you for this interior trend come winter. According to the National Energy Foundation, floors account for 10% of a house heat loss if they aren’t insulated properly.
Investing in a rug for winter to cover your floor boards is an inexpensive way to trap heat in and create a warmer surface to help keep those toes toasty.
Whether the chilly breeze is coming from a ventilation unit, gaps in the windowsill or an old fireplace, it is important to block up these gaps to keep warm air in and the cold air out.
There are many draft excluders on the market but an old blanket pushed in the right places provides a cheaper, makeshift solution.
If you are dressed more appropriately for the summer sun than the cold winter weather, you only have yourself to blame if you spend your nights shivering. Layer up with a jumper, warm socks and bottoms which cover your legs.
Use your radiators effectively
If you need to turn on your radiators, make sure that you are using your heating effectively. Move any obstructions away from the radiator to make sure that you aren’t stopping the heat getting to the whole room.
Lining the wall behind the radiator with tinfoil will stop heat seeping through the wall, reflecting it back into the room.
Don’t heat unused rooms
Leaving the heating on in empty cellars or a spare bedrooms is an expensive waste of energy. Before turning up the thermostat, check every room, turning off any radiators in areas of the house not in use.
To get more ideas on how to stay warm without breaking the bank this winter, we asked interior and lifestyle bloggers how they keep toasty, when the temperature drops.
Aside from changing the duvet from a summer weight to winter weight, I add a large white faux fur thrown at the bottom of the bed. I use faux fur in the living room as well, with soft throws and cushions to create a textural, warm atmosphere and I always light lots of candles! It just makes for a perfect cosy night when you just want to hibernate from the cold.
My cuddly Bagpuss is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I was given him for Christmas a few years ago and he's not just your standard ol' cuddly toy. Pop him in the microwave and he acts as a lavender-scented hot water bottle. It's so nice cuddling up to him in bed on cold winter nights (and it's hilarious seeing his little face as he spins round and round in the microwave!)
My advice when it comes to winter is embrace it. Buy the fluffiest, brightest socks you can find and stock up on onesies too. Make sure you dose yourself up with hot chocolate every single night!
So whether you fetch your hot water bottle out or snuggle up under a thick throw, there are many cost effective ways to combat the cold without running up any unsightly bills.
*This figure is worked out from the average electricity bills in the UK combined with the average Gas bill in the UK in 2013 as reported by the UK government.