With so many of us working from home in the middle of one of the coldest winters in years, many are worried for the rise in their heating bills that’s guaranteed to follow. According to Laura McGadie, the group head of energy at Energy Saving Trust, many individuals don’t realize the multitude of ways they can save on heating every year, without sacrificing being comfortable in your own home.
“If you are taking advantage of not having to commute by getting up later, set your heating to come on later in the morning. If possible, get a smart meter installed, which is estimated to help reduce a household’s electricity use by 2.8% and gas use by 2%.”
McGadie claims that getting to know your heating system is the best first step to understanding the best ways to save energy and cost. She also recommends draught-proofing all your windows and doors, as many homeowners don’t realize that they could be saving every year based on how much cold air comes into their space through cracks and crevices in the home.
“You can seal the gaps between floors and skirting boards to reduce draughts with a tube of sealant bought from any DIY store. Other simple fixes include getting a cover for your letterbox and keyholes, fitting self-adhesive foam strips to draughty windows or using a chimney balloon in unused open fireplaces.”
John Eric Smith is an assistant professor in the department of kinesiology at Mississippi State University, who also claims that individuals aren’t wearing enough clothes in their homes, which also prompts them to increase the heat more than necessary. “If you can keep the core – the chest and all – warm, you will keep the peripheries warm. When your body gets colder, blood is diverted from the extremities, which then feel colder.”
“I like fleeces because they create this really thick area without much weight, but several layers of any kind of top can create the same effect. Some people swear by thermal undergarments, and a hat will also help, but not if you’re sitting topless at your desk. Any time you’re looking at reducing the skin’s contact with the environment, it is going to be beneficial. The idea that most of your heat is lost through your head is an old wives’ tale,” Smith explained.
Getting curtains can also help contain heat within your home and stop it from escaping through the windows. McGadie recommends heavy lined curtains in darker colors, and putting an old blanket over your door at night can also have the same heating effect. Smith also recommends making sure you’re moving your body everyday. This is not only great for keeping your blood circulating, but for your overall physical health as well.
“You need to find that happy balance between being physically active enough that you’re generating heat to stay warm, but not to the point that you’re going to sweat to try to cool down.”
Smith warned that with exercise you have to be “careful when you start sweating because you’re going to be losing body heat faster which will actually make you colder.” Even cleaning up your house and performing chores can be seen as adamant exercise around your space as long as you’re constantly moving.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.