ith cold weather drawing even closer, we all want to have our homes as warm as possible without running up enormous utility bills. The following tips can help to keep you and your family toasty warm without creating a huge drain on your finances when your next gas and electricity payment falls due.
There is a myth circulating the rumour mills, that painting radiators black and placing reflective screens behind the radiators will send more heat out into the room while not using any extra fuel. This myth is half true and half false: painting your radiators is not a good idea, and painting them in a dark colour will actually reduce the amount of heat radiated out into the room. More than that, the paint itself forms a layer, trapping precious heat in the metal body of the radiator and preventing it from spreading through the room to warm up frosty hands and toes. Placing a reflective screen behind your radiators will deflect heat back into the room, heat that might otherwise be lost into the wall where it does no good for any of the houses inhabitants.
When the whole family is in one room for the evening turn down the other radiators and keep the doors closed. This traps all the heat in the room that is being used, lightening the load on the boiler and the radiators. Obviously, if you have a large family that tends to disperse widely through the home when you are all in for the evening, this may not be practical and you will have to work out which unused rooms can be cut off and allowed to become chilly.
Despite the fact that the radiator system runs throughout the entire house it is actually cheaper to use the radiator and thermostatic controls to heat your home, rather than running an electric heater in the one or two rooms that are in use. Electric heaters are notorious power guzzlers and the money saved on turning the radiators off or down is often more than used up by the electric heater. If you are confined to the living room, you can use your gas fire instead of relying on the radiators which can be turned down just enough to keep the chill out of the rest of the house or if you are using oil have a look at Claddagh for cheap oil.
In general try to avoid letting the home cool down too much as you will just run up a big bill when you do need to warm it up again, negating any savings that you may have made by turning the heating off. Opinion is divided as to whether it is better to have the heating on constantly, albeit at a relatively low heat, or to have the heating on a timer, ready to warm up the environment as and when it is needed. The best bet is probably to work out how long the home is empty for during the day: if you are in and out all day, working part time and managing the school run, then you are probably better off leaving the heat on low most or all of the time. If everyone is out of the home for a long time during the day, the heating can be turned off with a timer set to warm up the house starting about half an hour before everyone gets home.
Hopefully these tips will help you to make the best decisions when it comes to staying warm this winter without breaking the bank. Assess your home usage and the needs of your family and implement the money-saving measures that will best suit you and your needs.