Ten clever tricks to cut your heating bills
While the last few days have been pleasantly warm, that's all coming to an end with the arrival of storm Ophelia, and things are set to get quite a bit chillier.
Most of us are likely to be resorting to the central heating again pretty soon.
But with energy costs spiralling ever higher, is there anything you can do to keep it under control? We look at some quick and easy ways to cut those heating bills.
1. Shop around
The chances are that you can get a much better energy deal, particularly if you're on your supplier's standard tariff. Use a comparison site such as USwitch or GoCompare, and you might be hundreds of pounds better off.
2. Turn down your thermostat
Dropping the temperature in your house by just 1ºC can cut heating bills by up to £85 a year in a typical home, according to the Energy Saving Trust. And if there are rooms you don't use, turn their radiators off.
3. Cut draughts
Use draught-proofing strips around windows and doors and fill gaps between floorboards and skirting. If you don't use your fireplace, you can block the chimney with an inflatable pillow - or even a plastic bag full of newspaper. Just don't forget it's there and light a fire.
4. Put clingfilm on the windows
Unlikely as it may seem, this one works: it traps a layer of air that acts as an insulator. You'll get a prettier result from proper secondary glazing though.
5. Put something shiny behind radiators
This works by reflecting heat back into the room, rather than letting it seep away through the walls. Tin foil will do, although specialist radiator foil is available for as little as £5 or £6 a roll.
6. Close your curtains
You can get special insulating curtains - but even ordinary ones will have an effect at keeping in the heat. Close them as soon as it gets dark.
7. Hang rugs on walls
Wall hangings not only look good - when hung on an outside wall, they can help insulate your home too. The thicker they are, the better.
8. Put on more clothes
Many of us swan around at home as if we were on a beach, but popping on a woolly jumper will obviously mean you can turn the heating down.
9. Heat your bed
An electric blanket makes going to bed a delight, even in a chilly room. Even a hot water bottle may mean that you can turn the heating off a little earlier.
10. Make a wheat bag
You don't have to use wheat: rice will work just as well. Just make a cloth bag (or use an old sock) and fill it with rice, plus maybe a little lavender for the scent. Pop it in the microwave for a minute or two, and it'll keep you toasty for half an hour.