Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

How to save money this winter

Thousands of people face tough months ahead as the cost of living continues to soar and temperatures continue plummet.

But the good news is that there are plenty of easy ways to get through the winter period without breaking the bank.

Here are 12 simple tips to slash bills – without dramatically changing your lifestyle.

1 Set your thermostat to come on earlier when it is cold. That way you'll avoid the temptation to turn the heating up full blast.

2 Ask an expert to check your roof for missing or loose tiles. Loose tiles let rain in but they are not expensive to replace.

3 However you go about it – eco-friendly sheep's wool, glass fibre, recycled paper, or rolls of foam – insulating a loft is vital.

4 Fake double glazing. Real double glazing may be a bit beyond some of our budgets, but you can get good results with special film. This is available from larger hardware stores. You attach it to the window frame with double-sided tape. A pack to cover a medium-sized house costs around £15.

5 Put a shelf above radiators to stop the heat rising – particularly if it is below a window.

6 Let the sunshine in. During the day keep the curtains open so that the sunlight can stream in as this helps to warm up rooms before sunset.

7 Shut unused rooms. Turn off radiators in rooms you don't use, keep the doors closed and use draught excluders.

8 Cover bare floorboards. Some 10% of heat can be lost via wooden floorboards. Make sure you use silicon-based filler to seal the gaps.

9 Opt for thick curtains. This remains the best way to prevent all your expensive heat literally going out the window.

10 Draft Excluders. You don't have to go out and buy fancy items. Almost anything can plug the gap under your doors. For example, stuff old tights with rolled-up socks, rice or lentils and you'll have a very fine Do It Yourself draft excluder.

11 Be radiator clever. Don't put your sofa right up against a radiator because it will soak up the heat.

12 Sit next to the oven while you're cooking. Then, after you're finished, switch it off, but leave the door open so the heat can flow around.

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