Natural Mothers Green Living Series
As the days grow shorter and cold nights draw in, it’s time to start thinking about how to prepare your home for the cold months ahead. By simply following this check list (which you can print off using our print friendly tab) around daylight-saving time, you’ll reduce both your bills and carbon footprint to a more acceptable level, for your conscience and your pocket.
- Follow Louise Moran’s example and get knitting! Believe it or not, by dressing warmly inside your home and lowering thermostat levels accordingly, it’s possible to make substantial savings on heating costs.
- Wear slippers, they keep your feet cosy and you’ll feel warmer too!
- Arrange a service on your boiler now, if you haven’t done so already. Just like cars, boilers need periodic maintenance to ensure they operate as efficiently as possible and are well worth the call-out fee.
- Install a new condensing boiler if your current boiler is on its last legs as they are incredibly efficient.
- Install a programmable thermostat that regulates the temperature, so that it cools down at night and warms up your home, just when you need it, ie: first thing in the morning. If you are able, install individual thermostatic controls thermostats in each room to ensure the heat generated, only goes to the areas that require it, at a pre-set temperature.
- Ensure the thermostat is set to 55 degrees f/ 13 degrees c.if you leave your home empty for any period of time during the winter.
- Check pipes and water tanks in the loft that are potentially exposed to freezing temperatures, are well lagged with insulation. If water in the pipes freezes in these, subsequent expansion can cause them to burst and your household insurance may well not cover you for this eventuality!
- Check your windows for preventable drafts, and caulk around the trim of your windows if necessary. Wooden window casements can warp and become inefficient over time.
- Replace old and inefficient windows if you can afford it, as this in one of the major areas where heat escapes, leading to much higher bills with your central heating boiler working in overdrive to compensate.
- Uncover all south-facing windows to allow as much sunlight into your home as possible and consider hanging thermal curtains to prevent drafts.
- Ensure your loft space has more than adequate insulation. ( approx 300 cm’s)This is the single most cost effective way of reducing your energy bills. Average payback time for increased insulation to your loft space is about 2 years! Contact your local authority and/or energy providers for help in financing this.
- Ensure the door is also well insulated to a loft area with folding attic stairs.
- Change all halogen light bulbs for LED bulbs, the additional cost of purchasing these will be offset by a substantial reduction in your lighting bills!
- Use an energy monitor to quickly pinpoint which appliances are using the most energy and take appropriate steps to reduce their consumption accordingly.
- ie: Dry clothes in a dryer in consecutive loads, so that the dryer does not have to heat up each time it’s used.
- Close off any rooms that aren’t used. Sounds obvious, but it’s an easily overlooked saving.
- Check for drafts around exterior doors and replace inefficient draft excluders.
- Now is the time to get the flu cleaned if you have a wood-burning stove, to encourage efficient burning and prevent the possibility of a chimney fire.
- Check door seals on your wood-burning stove for a tight fit
- Always burn well-seasoned wood, beech wood is ideal.
- Always close the damper to your fireplace when not in use.
- If you have a wood-burner, consider piping off some of its heat around the house, rather than loosing so much of it up the chimney.
- Replace and check fire alarm batteries and fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers need to be replaced every 10 years. It is also worth investing in a carbon monoxide detector if you have gas in the house.
- Use the oven for baking bread during the coldest part of the day, the heat generated will help keep your family nice and toasty☺
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Category: green living series
About the Author (Author Profile)
Rebecca Watkins worked as a professional photo journalist and travelled the world with her husband John, before settling down as a stay at home mother to their three daughters. They have recently moved back from the French Alps to an old cottage in Devon, England. Rebecca’s days are filled with visits to the beach, animated discussions and in the best moments, happiness and creativity in her family home of five. The other moments are filled with craziness and chaos and she loves those too.