Many of us are putting off turning our heating on, even as the cold weather is starting to roll in. Thankfully there are some things you can do to reduce your energy consumption – whether that’s to reduce your utility bills, or simply to be a little more green! Here are 10 great tips to help you get started.

1. Know when to open and close your curtainsMaster the light and take advantage of the weather! Make sure to open your curtains during the daytime to let the heat and light in and close them during the evening to keep the cold and dark out. By opening and closing your curtains at the right time of the day, you can control the amount of heat and light that comes into your home. 

The same goes for the weather; if it’s a particularly warm day and the sun is shining on your house, it might be warmer to open your window and let in some of that glorious sunshine! Just make sure to close your windows tightly when the sun goes down.

2. Take shorter showers and don’t use your bathSome estimates calculate that reducing the amount of time you spend in the shower by just three or four minutes could save thousands of litres of water each year, while taking shorter showers can also save you a lot of money in terms of heating and water bills.

The winter weather might make it tempting to jump into a hot bath to destress, but doing so could cost you more as well. For a better way to unwind after a cold, stressful day at work, fill a smaller container such as a bucket or plastic box with warm water and soak your feet. You could even add some flowers or essential oils if you really want to indulge.  

3. Turn your devices off standbyWe all know we should do it, but here’s a friendly reminder that turning your devices off properly rather than just putting them on standby really counts when it comes to energy-saving. By some estimates, leaving your device on standby could mean that it still uses up to 40 percent of the energy it would use if turned on – shocking!

On a similar note, you should also turn the lights off when you no longer need them. Naturally, during the dark nights it gives many of us a feeling of comfort and safety to have lots of lights on at home, but lighting accounts for around 10 percent of the entire country’s energy consumption, and turning off your lights when you don’t really need them can save you a lot of money.

4. Block those drafts!Radiators are often placed on the external walls of your house or apartment, meaning that heat can easily escape through the small gaps and thin insulation of windows, even when they are closed. Curtains can help stop heat from escaping this way, by blocking the windows and allowing the radiator heat to fill the room instead of escaping outside. 

While it’s a seemingly obvious point to make, it goes without saying that cold air coming into your home is going to make your heating system less efficient at its job. One other way to cut energy consumption is to block any of those remaining chilly breezes using a draft blocker for drafts under the door. 

There are plenty of great designs and shapes available to buy online and in home furnishing stores, but if you’re feeling particularly creative (or thrifty!), you could make one yourself! 

Here’s a great tutorial on how you could make one at home:

5. Investigate your home’s insulationThough this is significantly more difficult for those living in a rental property, if you’re fortunate enough to own your own home, now is a good time to assess your home’s insulation situation. Insulating your home can be pricey, but once you’ve done it, it will last for a while. 

If you’re considering getting some insulation for your home, it’s a great idea to check building regulations in your municipality, as well as read up on the basics of insulation for your type of home beforehand. After this, you can pick out a qualified professional with good reviews, who can help you decide what is the best option for your home, budget and desired efficiency.

6. Turn your heating down at nightTurning down the heat to 15 degrees at night could save you 100 euros every year and could even improve your sleep. Your bedroom can still be cosy as long as you wear some warm pyjamas and make sure to add extra blankets on your bed if it’s a particularly chilly night. 

The good news is that sleeping in a cooler bedroom can actually improve your sleep; sleep experts say that the ideal bedroom temperature is between 15,5 and 18,5 degrees.

7. Consider investing in some gadgetsDespite the rising energy costs, electricity is still relatively inexpensive when compared to gas, so some electric gadgets could reduce your expenditure on gas heating and other energy costs.

Popular gadgets this year include energy-efficient space heaters, air leak detectors and heating pads. You could also go old-school and buy an electric blanket – which could significantly cut your heating costs, especially if you turn the heating down in the evening, and sit on your couch under your cosy warm blanket instead! 

8. Microwave more, use your oven lessIn short, the microwave takes less time to cook things, so it’ll use less energy than your oven. Yes, you often don’t get that nice crispy texture that things cooked in the oven will have, but you could always pop your food in the oven for just a few minutes after it comes out of the microwave to “crisp it up”, depending on how long it takes to cook. 

9. Don’t overfill the kettleIt’s the perfect time to become a pro at estimating how much water you will need in the kettle! Overfilling the kettle with water not only makes the kettle less efficient, but also takes a lot longer to boil water that will eventually be wasted. Make sure you only boil what you need.

10. Wash your clothes the smart way and try to avoid using the tumble dryer!It’s a good idea to make sure that when you run your washing machine, you run it on a full load – that way you’re not going to need to run it multiple times. Next, you should consider running your machine at a lower temperature or using the eco setting, so that you won’t have to pay so much to heat the water. 

Lastly, there is the tumble dryer. We love them, and we use them, but we don’t always need them. If the weather is fine and you have space outside your home, consider hanging your clothes to dry in the fresh air, or even on a rack inside your house if it’s well-ventilated. Of course, when the weather is bad, this isn’t an option, but it’s a great trick to try if the conditions are right!

Share your top energy-saving tips!Hopefully these tips can help you stay warm and cosy this winter, without having to pay a fortune for your bills! Let us know in the comments section below if you have even more energy-saving tips.

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