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The 20 best winter energy saving tips (updated for 2023)

If you don’t do it right, winter can be an expensive time of year.

Keeping in the heat and making best use of what you have are essential if you are to make the most of your central heating until springtime.

This is especially true when you consider that UK domestic fuel prices are amongst the highest in Europe.

So from blocking draughts to switching suppliers, to shutting doors and getting the right mobile apps, here are our 20 BEST Winter Energy Saving Tips to make the season more bearable.

Energy-saving quicklist!

  • Turn heating down by one degree
  • Wear a jumper (or two!)
  • Get cavity wall insulation
  • Get loft insulation
  • Get an app
  • Set different temperatures in each room
  • Programme your heating
  • Buy radiator foil
  • Buy a radiator booster
  • Don’t block your radiators
  • Get a radiator shelf
  • Invest in a brass radiator key
  • Start TRV’s off at low temperatures
  • Remember holiday heating
  • Block any draughts
  • Shut your doors
  • Get double or triple glazing
  • Open and close your curtains
  • Switch your supplier
  • Do a free home energy check

To learn more about each of the points above, read on and get your home winter ready AND save money on those ever-increasing winter fuel bills!

1 – Turn down the heat by one degree

The smallest of margins can make a huge difference. According to the Energy Saving Trust, if you turn down the heat on your thermostat by one measly degree you can save 10% on your annual heating bill.

2 – Increase the layers

It’s obvious. You know it already. Why am I even telling you?

Putting on a jumper (or even two jumpers), snuggling under a blanket and doubling up the thermal wear is an effective and cheap way to get yourself warmer; but you knew that didn’t you…

A stack of knitted clothing

3 – Fill in those wall cavities

The savings to be made with cavity wall insulation vary greatly depending upon what kind of house you live in, but let’s face it savings are savings no matter how big your wallet is.

EDF Energy believe that good cavity wall insulation can cut your home’s heat loss by 33% and save you up to £455 a year.

British Gas could give you free insulation if your home is ‘suitable’ and you can find out if it is here.

4 – Loft insulation rules, ok!

British Gas could also give you loft insulation for free; they’re not bad really, are they!

All you need to do is answer a few questions to see if your home makes the grade (about 9 in every 10 will) and an installer will be around to get your loft insulated in less than a day.

5 – There’s an app for that

Remember that advert that drove everyone round the bend with its chipper rhyming?

Me neither!

But if you have a thermostat that can connect to a mobile device then Hive might be the way forward for you.

Available for download on PC, tablet and mobile, the Hive app lets you know what temperature your home is and gives you the option to change it as and when you like.

When switched to ‘off’ it will automatically send your heating into frost mode – meaning your heating will go on if temperatures drop below five degrees Celsius.

hive heating programme

6 – Set different temperatures in each room

Though not the easiest thing to remember, setting radiators at different temperatures is useful.

Let’s say, like most of us, you’re ‘chilling’ out in the living room in the evening, but you’ll want a bit of heat in the bedroom for when you decide to hit the hay.

You should keep the heating on at a low temperature upstairs because this will save you money on your heating and help you to not freeze in bed.

7 – Programme your heating

Automatic is good!

With an automatic timer you can set your heating to go on and off at varying points throughout the day. Programmers are great because they allow you to set different temperatures for each day of the week and mean you can customise the settings to their most efficient and effective positions.

8 – Foil up those radiators

two rolls of aluminium foil

We’ve told you this before and it is still an effective way of keeping the heat in – a sheet of foil between your radiator and your wall will reflect heat back into the room instead of it going out through the walls and being lost altogether.

You can use tinfoil with a bit of cardboard or buy specialist radiator foil, either way, foiling up your rads is going to save energy and money.

Some argue that it’s a waste of time, but when times are hard every little can help to keep the costs down.

9 – Boost your radiators

Widely available and incredibly useful, a radiator booster is a long tube-like contraption that sits on top of your radiator and acts as a small fan.

Dispersing the air that gets trapped behind the radiator, these clever pieces of kit can raise the temperature of a room by as much as three degrees. You can pick one up for around £20-30.

10 – Keep your radiators clear

Now by this, we don’t mean for you to get see-through radiators, we mean – as we have said many times before – keep stuff away from your radiators.

Ensuring that furniture and clothes maidens and other obstructions have been moved will allow heat to circulate more freely around your room.

Check out our radiator cleaning guide for more help and advice.

a small child climbing on a radiator

11 – Get yourself a radiator shelf

Shelves on top of radiators may seem like a big no-no – and I know we’ve said before to steer clear of them completely – but if fitted correctly they can deflect heat that would otherwise have been lost back into the room – they’re also pretty nifty for those dare-devil kids too (#jokes).

They are best used with radiators that are fitted under a window, so that the bottom of any curtain rests on the top, stopping warm air from being lost between the curtain and the window.

12 – Invest in brass

Before you go buying up shares in ironmongery, when we say ‘invest in brass’ we mean it’s probably a better idea to get a brass radiator key – the thing you’ll need to bleed your rads – than it is to get a steel one.

Steel can be more pliable than brass and is therefore much more likely to snap when in use.

Check out our guide on How To Bleed A Radiator if you are having trouble.

13 – Start TRVs off low

Turning a Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV) up to its max setting won’t heat your room up any faster; that all depends on the size of your boiler and what kind of radiators you have got.

To begin with, you should start your TRV’s off on a lower setting and increase them gradually until they reach a warm and comfortable temperature.

14 – Keep that holiday heating ticking over

a car with its boot open at the beach

If you are one of the half-a-million people that choose to leave the UK for the festive holidays, it may be a good idea to keep your heating ticking over on a low setting.

Doing this will help to ensure that your pipes don’t freeze up if the temperature drops, saving you many, many pennies on a potentially hefty repair bill.

15 – Block any draughts

At the risk of sounding cheesy, you would be ‘blown away’ by the number of draughts that can be found in the average home, but there are loads of ways that you can defeat these energy inefficient annoyances.

From sealant and polyfiller for blocking wall cracks to sealant strips for the windows and a good old fashioned draught excluder, there are loads of ways you can save energy on heat – even a keyhole disc and a letterbox cover could go a long way to making a difference.

16 – Shut that door

Your mum asked you, your dad asked you, now I’m asking you – “were you born in a barn?”

Chances are you weren’t, but even if you were that’s not an excuse, the fact is closing your internal doors will keep the heat in as well as preventing the cold air from circulating through unoccupied rooms.

17 – Double up or even triple up the glazing

Double glazed windows are designed to keep more heat in, meaning that you won’t need to turn up your heat as much as with single glazed windows.

You’ll also benefit from less noise from outside and be able to make more noise inside, which is always good for those mad crazy parties that I’m sure you have as regularly as we do.

Triple glazed windows are just like double glazed, but you can make more and hear less noise and lose less heat.

18 – Open and close your curtains

Opening your curtains is an important way of efficiently heating your house.

If you have south facing windows they are sure to let more light – and therefore heat – in, and shutting them at night will help to stop that heat from escaping as quickly.

19 – Why not try a free home energy check?

The internet – as you know from being here reading this – is a wonderful thing. Use it to head over to the Energy Savings Trust website and give your home the free energy check that it deserves. You’ll get a report that outlines in detail any improvements you can make to make your home more energy efficient.

20 – Switch your supplier

It’s been said that many times now that you’ll hardly need telling, but one of the best ways to save money is to just go out, shop around and find yourself a better deal.

The cheapest tariffs right now will set you back somewhere in the region of £850 on average for the year, so if you take a look around you could start making a substantial saving.

a selection of UK energy suppliers

So there you have it, no excuses now!

These 20 tips should have you making your home a warm and energy efficient oasis of functionality in no time!

We hope they help you to keep that bitterly cold wolf from your door, good luck with making those savings.

Stay safe and happy heating.

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