You can’t deny that winter is almost upon us – before we know it you’ll be scraping frost off your windscreen in the morning and thoughts will turn to your boiler thermostat. Should you nudge it up a degree or put a jumper on? You’ve got a full tank of cheap home heating oil from supersaveroil but you want to make it last, right? Well, here’s some guilt-free ways to feel toastier this winter.
Do some last-minute insulation jobs
Up to 60% of your home’s heat is lost through the roof and walls, so insulate them both. Use at least 10 inches of insulation matting in your loft, close your curtains and seal any cracks in window frames – you really will notice the difference.
Turn down your heating
If you lower your thermostat by a degree, you’ll save around 10% of your energy spend and you won’t feel it, especially if you’ve used loft insulation. Another good idea is to make use of the residual heat in your radiators – turn them off 15-30 minutes earlier than you used to in the evenings as they’ll still kick out heat as you’re getting ready for bed.
Bleed the radiators
If you have air pockets in your radiators, they won’t work efficiently and you’ll constantly be turning the thermostat up to stay comfortable. Make a point of bleeding your radiators every few months and definitely before winter comes in.
Keep it simple
There are some really simple and old-fashioned solutions out there that can help you to make the most of your heat. Try using insulation panels behind each radiator – these look like sheets of silver bubblewrap and you fix them to the wall behind each radiator, where they reflect heat back into the room. Otherwise, that heat just goes into your walls.
Service your boiler at least twice a year…
…to keep her happy. They’re complicated things, boilers, and they can develop soot, sludge, airlocks, and take in water. This can reduce the efficiency of your boiler by anything up to 8%, which means you’re wasting 8% of your fuel spend every year. It’s best to have a service at the end of spring and at the beginning of winter, but if you only have one annual service, the winter one is the most important because you can identify and fix problems so you don’t have a boiler breakdown (and an expensive call-out) when it’s sub-zero out there.
Make sure your supply is secure
It’s a depressing fact, but there’s more fuel poverty now. Fuel poverty is when a household has to spend 10% of its total income on maintaining a comfortable temperature (18-21C). This means in turn that fuel theft is on the rise, so make sure you have locks on your oil tank and that it’s hidden from view. You could also install motion-sensitive lights and even an alarm; there are also sensors that detect sudden drops in oil levels and alert you via your smartphone.