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How to stay warm and save energy this winter

There are many simple ways to stay warm during the winter months, without spiking your energy bill.

During the chilly months, people tend to spend more time at home - and use more energy. There are many simple ways you can reduce your home energy use, without cranking up your heating devices.

Here are 10 energy efficiency tips that may help you to stay warm and save more this winter.

1. Layer up

Staying warm this winter doesn’t have to blow your energy bill through the roof. In fact, it’s quite easy to stay warm by layering up with quality clothing and blankets.

  • Start with a fitted, base layer to avoid any heat escaping. This could be a snug-fitting, long-sleeved top, and depending on how cold it is, maybe even leggings.
  • For the middle layer, use wool, fleece, or down to insulate your body and reduce any heat loss.
  • Finally, put on the biggest jacket you own, with enough space to layer clothes underneath.

Once you have the foundation, build the rest of your energy efficient outfit.

  • If you’re working from home, consider fingerless gloves that will warm up your extremities, whilst also giving you the freedom to work on your laptop.
  • Scarves help keep your neck warm and you can have some fun jazzing up your outfit with different coloured ones.

If you’re still feeling the cold, it may be time to bring out a thermal blanket, or a blanket that can be used as a throw or quilt. Try alternating between thinner and thicker layers to maximise the insulation effect.

Close up of woman carrying scarves

2. Hot water bottle

A hot water bottle or warm wheat bag can warm your bed and uses less energy than an electric blanket. They are also great for localised warmth which may help with aches, pains or cramps. You could even pop the hot water bottle between your feet to warm your extremities.

Boil the kettle, pour some hot water inside your bottle and stick it between the covers for a warm, cosy sleep. Make sure your hot water bottle is not too full, and the top is tightly fastened.

3. Draught proofing

Insulated draught proofing acts as a barrier that prevents the unwanted movement of hot and cold air from inside your house to outside – and in turn, is essential for keeping your home warm in winter. Here a few simple tips to help you reduce heat loss in your home:

  • First conduct a thorough inspection of anywhere you might be losing heat. Places to check include gaps in skirting and floorboards, around windows and doors and under doors; there are many ways that you can stop air from coming in or out of your home, which may help you to reduce your energy use – along with your energy bills.
  • Draught proofing solutions are one of the simplest ways to seal off unwanted air leakage and insulate your home. Apply weather strips around the inside of the door and window frames, consider siliconing up gaps in any floorboards or skirting boards and either fix a weather strip to the bottom of doors or use an old fashioned door snake – different colours can be used to jazz up your room.
  • There are many different types of ceiling insulation. Ask a professional to check your roof space and to make recommendations. Get more than one quote for installation – it can pay to shop around.

4. Find the right heating solution

Staying warm this winter doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. If you’re considering finding an energy efficient heater or an alternative solution to insulation and warm clothing, you may find that there are several different indoor heating options at your disposal. Some are cheaper than others, and some are particularly efficient in certain types of spaces, depending on factors like your thermostat. Make sure that, where possible, you choose the device with the highest stars – it may be more expensive but of the wattage is half that of a cheaper model, you could offset the additional cost in just one or two energy bills.

For a general rule of thumb, only heat the room you’re using. Close the doors in the room you want to heat, and if you have central heating with a zone feature, make sure to switch that on.

Woman wearing headphones and dancing in lounge room

5. It’s time to move it, move it

It’s time to get moving! One of the best activities to warm up is to get blood pumping through your body. Here are a few tips:

  • Take a break every 25 minutes and do some star jumps or a quick online workout to get your heart rate up.
  • Go for a walk on your lunch break and for the ultimate reminder, set your mobile phone alarm to go off to remind you to take a break from sitting.

When we sit for long periods our bodies don’t get the oxygen and blood flowing through to our limbs, so commit to moving more in your daily routine if you want to stay warm.

Young woman sitting with tablet

6. Let the sun in and re-position your furniture

A home that is set up for natural heating will be more comfortable and may help to lower your energy bills.

When the sun rises in the morning make sure to open your blinds or curtains so the natural light can flow in and naturally heat your home. Once it hits an object the sunlight becomes radiant heat. Don’t forget to close your curtains or blinds when the sun sets to keep that warmth in.

Depending on where your furniture is positioned, you may feel warmer if your furniture is closer to the inside of your house and away from cooler, external walls and windows, especially those that face south, away from the sun. Try to place your furniture in the line of sunshine so that it catches the heat from the sun.

7. Warming drinks

Winter is the perfect time to cosy up with a big blanket and a hot drink to stay warm. The season presents an opportunity to sit around and spend quality time with family and a drink of choice.

These days, hot chocolate seems to be a crowd favourite, there’s something undeniably satisfying about the chocolatey warm goodness that trickles down the back of your throat on a cold day. It is thick, silky and delicious! If you’re looking to experiment with hot chocolate recipes this winter, here are six recipes to add to your list of winter favourites.

8. Spend more time upstairs

It’s no secret that hot air rises, so your upstairs floor naturally tends to be warmer than lower levels. Therefore, if you want to stay warm during the winter months, spend more time on the second floor of your home – if you have one – and take advantage of the warmer air.

Upstairs doesn’t have to be isolating, you could include the whole family by allowing your kids to make a cubbyhouse in your room or conduct a fashion show with your winter coats; there are endless possibilities.

9. Flip your switch fan

Typically, our ceiling fans are used to create a breeze in the cooler months, but with the simple flick of the switch, you can spin the blades in the opposite direction, forcing the warm air near the ceiling down to the floor, making your room a little warmer.

Grab a step stool and safely locate the fan switch near the motor. Flip it in the opposite direction and then turn the fan back on at a low speed to make sure the blades are moving in the opposite direction.

Changing the direction of ceiling fans in your home is an energy-efficient way to find comfort and warmth in the colder months.

10. Furry friends

A man’s best friend, or a man’s best heater? Our furry friends can be a great heating device to keep us warm during the winter months. They are great to cuddle up with and often provide us with a sense of unconditional love that can be warming for our souls.

It’s also important to consider the safety of your pets in winter. Exposure to cooler temperatures can be detrimental for our furry friends too. Winter produces cold, dry air and in some areas snow that can cause chapped paws or itchy skin. Pay attention to your pets’ feet, especially in between the toes. If left outside for too long, pets can become cold, and disorientated so always check in on them.

Since 2020, many of us have moved to working from home. Having an animal at home can be great company – and a furry, cuddle buddy during the winter months.

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