Winter is well and truly here, our little house on a hill in the Lancashire Countryside is feeling all cozy during the dark nights.
But living in an area with no light pollution at all and no streetlights means the daylight hours feel even shorter. And cold windy nights feel even colder as we are so exposed.
And we love it, as the darkness draws around us, our little house feels cocooned and cozy like a little burrow to hibernate in as we watch the twinkling lights of the town below. However cozy used to feel expensive when we first moved in. We have had to take steps to save energy and make country living more cost effective.
So how did we reduce the energy and running costs of our home so dramatically?
Install a new boiler!
This is an expensive cost saving exercise but our old boiler was inefficient and lost so much energy that it cost an awful lot to run. We calculated we will recoup the costs in a year and are well on the way to doing that. Then it will be all savings.
Fit thermostatic radiator valves to all radiators.
Some rooms are naturally warmer aren’t they? The upstairs of our home is never cold and we also have a log burner in our lounge. So we keep the lounge and upstairs radiator thermostats on low. However the kitchen is a colder room so we have those on high. This saves so much and keeps the heat levels in the house balanced, preventing that turning the heating on and off scenario.
Get smart meters fitted
We have had one of British Gas’s smart meters for a year and it is fabulous, you can track your daily usage easily and also see real time usage. Watching the display on the smart energy monitor that came with the meters really does make me mindful of simple things like checking the tumble dryer and not over filling the kettle, thus boiling it for longer.
If you live with teens that love leaving gadgets on, the smart meters indicate when there is a high volume of electricity in use. To enable you to keep an eye on teenagers’ usage! Usually when it’s on red the root cause is tracked to one of two places (teen rooms) and I am able to track down and turn off the offending items.
If like us you have a house full of halogen lights, swap them for LED lights
This will save so much in electricity. Our first ever electricity bill made me weep. With a few clever changes it is so much lower. Making sure you are using low energy bulbs in all lights may seem like a huge outlay initially. My advice would be do it room by room, but the savings are adding up for us.
Turn off lights when you leave a room
This is a sore subject in our home as we have so many lights. Chris is obsessed and even turns lights off when he leaves a room if you are in it! I know argghhhh he is so obsessed with turning lights off he does it automatically. However it is a huge saver, clearly most people would check the room was empty first!
Have outside lights on a timer
Living in the country outside lighting is a must, but having it on at times promotes energy wastage. Especially when you have a dog going in and out at night. A timer limits the times outside lights are on to just when you really need it.
If you like to cook and have an electric oven follow cooking times religiously
This used be my biggest weakness, I would put the oven on too early when baking. And also cook things on low for longer! I could drag a roast dinner out a whole 2 hours extra by cooking on low! It was never dry because it was a lower heat, but it cost more to cook. My oven was using so much for electricity! Now I track my timings.
The cost of bringing up a family seems to grow with your family. And making a few changes here and there really can make a difference to monthly outgoings. Leaving more money for the nice things in life such as travel and eating out as a family. I know where I would rather my money go, how about you?
‘This post is in conjunction with British Gas® ’