Posted 3rd Oct 2022
The cooler weather is here and to go with it comes some steep energy price hikes. It's a tough time and many are looking for ways to make the most of their heating. Today we've got a few ideas that might help you keep your home warmer, while keeping the costs down as much as possible.

A lot of these seem obvious, which they are. It's good to get ideas all in one spot though. If you have any tips to keep bills down then please do share! You never know who you may help! Don't forget to mark any comments that you find useful as helpful. That little green tick helps highlight the best ideas and of course shows some appreciation, to our ever growing community members

Much love, stay warm!


I'm starting this with Joey
It's easy and most as kids were pretty fed up with hearing it. "Just pop a jumper on" As much as that annoyed me to hear as a child, it's something that does work. We have our limits though and we shouldn't be uncomfortable trying to keep warm. After all, our homes should be warm enough without resorting to Joey levels. I actually didn't want to add this in, because I think it's a natural most of us do anyway.

We know how to dress ourselves, but maybe have a dig around to see what might be hiding away. I've found a couple of old base layers that might come in handy, from when I used to run a fair bit.

Check your insulation
It's a good idea to ensure you have sufficient insulation and the quickest and easiest insulation method is going to be your loft. It's relatively cheap to do and you'll probably find that you're able to do it yourself. If you're not then do get someone to check for you, from a reputable local business.

How much insulation is enough?
Current guidelines suggest between 250mm and 270mm.

How do I lay loft insulation myself?
For those wanting to do it themselves, B&Q have a good article that should get you through it! Shop around to make sure you get a good deal and ensure you don't buy more than you're going to need - Insulation deals will go here

Go check your heating settings
Messing around with timers might seem a little daunting to some, especially if you've never had a tinker before or you're a bit of a technophobe. If you can get the manual for it and make some adjustments, you may be able to get it working much more effectively for your needs.

Turn the thermostat down
Everyone likes to be toasty and warm, however if you can try lowering the thermostat and find a nice spot that you're comfortable with, this can go a long way in saving energy. Just have a play around and see if you can find a sweet spot. This one is super obvious, although we can get used to just spinning that dial to a specific number and getting on with things, just out of habit.

You can also turn down or turn off radiators in rooms that you're not really using.

Bleed the radiators
This is a vital thing to do, to ensure that the warm water is circulating properly through your central heating system. It's really easy to and the only things you need is a radiator key and a decent paper towel or rag. You'll know if your radiator needs bleeding, because while your heating is on, a radiator will be warm at the bottom and cold at the top. This is because you have air in the system and you'll want to get that our using the key.

These air pockets will keep your room from heating up at a good rate, so it's 100% worth checking!

See the below video on how to bleed a radiator

Shut the doors
Everyone know to shut the external doors, right? Well, internal doors play their role too.
If you're heating your home and there are rooms that aren't really being used, then ensure the doors are shut. There's little reason to transfer heat into them if you don't need to. Maybe sling a draft excluder down if you think it's worth it in your case.

For me, I like to relax in an evening and play some games on the PC. Even though I have limited the power usage of my PC, it naturally kicks out some heat. Keeping that heat in by shutting the door to the room is really nice. The total opposite to what we experienced with the crazy heat waves earlier this year.

Even consoles will ditch that hot air, so we may as well seal it in to the room with a shut door!

Go handle the windows
Keeping the windows closed is easy, but are they shut tight?
Sometimes windows get pulled to with the handles turned, but other times not fully. The gap that this leaves might seem insignificant, but you can lose heat there for sure. Just eyeball them and make sure you check those rooms that aren't used so often as well.

Draughty Windows and doors?
So, you've done your checks and your windows are tight, but you're feeling cold air coming through. You could benefit from adhesive backed draught excluders. These are good for both doors and windows too, assuming that the issue isn't more serious than faulty seal. You can get someone in to do this for you, however it would be much cheaper to do it yourself.

If you've got a rather large gap on a door, you'll want to get that sorted. Over time doors can drop a little and will need to be re-adjusted at the hinges. New doors can do this after a few months, so don't assume that your door has had it just because it's an older one. It shouldn't be expensive, although if you can do it yourself, or know someone that can help. Get it done

There are also cheap solutions for your internal doors, that just need a little measuring and a few screws. They're not the most attractive things in the world, but may be very beneficial

Note: Some may need their windows slightly open to manage condensation issues, not necessarily caused by structural problems. Consider your options carefully as not all solutions are going to fit everyone's needs. It's also good to get fresh air in when you can!

Video on fitting adhesive backed draught excluders:

If you're cooking you'll naturally be heating up some of the air along they way. Once you've done with the oven, turn it off and open up the door and make use of all that heat in there. You'll probably want to close any nearby doors to keep it in there for as long as possible. The bottom line is, if you can use excess heat, then do. I've seen some mention they do this with their kettle too!

Free heat from the conservatory
If you have a conservatory you'll know just how warm they can get in the Summer months, from the sun battering through the glass. You still get this at colder times of the year and it can actually be quite nice in there. You can of course just use the space, but better still you can filter that warm air into the home, simply by opening the door to the rest of the house.

As it gets later into the day, you'll totally want to make sure you remember to shut that, as the tides will probably turn and you'll end up losing heat. If you've not given it a go... try it out.

Space heaters
For anyone that tends to use a single room during the day, that doesn't want to heat the rest of the house, but focus on that one are, space heaters could be the way to go. Below is a little rundown of the main types and they're in general running cost order. The top being the cheapest and the bottom the most expensive.

Note - Wattages vary for all of these as there are so many models out thee, so keep that in mind. This is just an average / general guide

Halogen heater is perhaps the cheapest option. That said, they aren't really great for heating up a whole room. They'll offer a nice warm blast of heat in front of them though.

Oil Filled Radiators in general are more expensive to run than halogen, but running costs tend to be lower than convector models. You'll usually get good heating control from them and they hold on to heat for longer, which means they'll still give off some warmth once you turn it off.

Convector heaters are more expensive to run, but are much better than halogen models at heating rooms up. Good for small to medium size rooms. They take longer to get you warm, but do a better job for the whole room, instead of just for the person sat in front.

Fan heaters can warm a small room up pretty quickly, as the cool air is pulled in, then pushed over a heating element, then blasted out of the front. The downside is that the fan will quite obviously product noise.

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  1. Dadtastic's avatar
    Always wool socks. Always.

    They are warm in winter (but not sweaty) and cool in summer. Also wool has anti microbial properties so your feet won't stink! Ever seen a sheep shiver?
    DarrylJohn's avatar
    I shout at mine, forever shivering.
  2. Wolfout's avatar
    Also when cooking most things i.e. roast chicken, you can actually turn the oven off about 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time as the heat remains, then once you’ve taken everything out leave the door open.
    JeffsterRule's avatar
    Go get a airfyer, heats up quicker and you only heat less than 25% of the space an oven.

    Most people only use an over for one or two items that an airfyer can handle. Ovens are more for Christmas Turkeys.
  3. Stanmorepark's avatar
    Little known fact here, but logical all the same... Fans can be used to encourage air circulation and move the warm air down from the ceiling to your level. Using fans to circulate heat allows you to lower the thermostat and save on energy bills. Heat from your radiators will naturally collect and sit at ceiling level. If you have ever climbed a ladder to do some work in a room near the ceiling and the heating is on, you will know precisely what I mean.
    It may seem to be counter intuitive to have a fan running whilst trying to keep warm but fans only cool by evaporation of water (or sweat) on your skin in the Summer heat. They don't actually cool the air itself but give the impression they do. If you point a desk fan at the corner of your ceiling to displace the warm air and drive it down to the habitable level then it will save you money in the long run. Most thermostats are sighted at mid height in a room, so only are reading the temperature at that height. If you mix the warm air at the ceiling with the cooler air at feet level, then you will increase the overall mean temperature, which will mean your boiler will work less hard to maintain the overall desired temperature. (edited)
    Pualle's avatar
    Or maybe a family of four could purchase four ladders and stay up there for warmth.
  4. MonkeysUncle's avatar
    Don't be ashamed of wearing a hoodie or something similar around the house.

    And turn off radiators or turn them down in rooms you don't need heated up.
    JustaSingh's avatar
    Having cold rooms in your home (especially modern unventilated homes) is asking for damp and mould issues.
  5. lisas23's avatar
    Trying to get everyone in the house to have a cuppa at the same time so not overheating a kettle, same with oven make sure with kids they have their food the same time so oven only goes on once and batch cook things
    bertieboodle's avatar
    Fill a flask with boiling water and you can have a cuppa anytime.
  6. Ceri_Foulkes's avatar
    Use an air fryer instead of an oven, also started using our camping stover to boil veg/pasta cheaper buying the gas canisters than electric on hob, we love on an old farm and cannot afford to refill our gas tank this year, a local business has given us all his scrap wood for our fire, use that to dry washing, got water bottles in beds and an extra duvet for kids, bulk cooking meals save time and electric, make our own snacks and biscuits to save on food shopping
    pc5020's avatar
    I'd like to love on an old farm, sounds romantic...
  7. peympeym's avatar
    Don't buy the latest iPhone or Samsung TV every six months,
    scunny's avatar
    Are you for real? I couldn't afford either at any time let alone every 6 months. My Tv is about 15 yrs old and my phone cost £12.99 years ago. some of us do live in the real world. Heat or eat, are the only options I have.
  8. mrfinch's avatar
    Spontaneously combust to keep yourself warm each evening, it does mean you'll have to regenerate every morning but on a cost analysis it's still cheaper than a log fire or a blanket, you're welcome
  9. NuffinisFree's avatar
    'Everyone know to shut the external doors, right? Well, internal doors play their role too.
    If you're heating your home and there are rooms that aren't really being used, then ensure the doors are shut. There's little reason to transfer heat into them if you don't need to. Maybe sling a draft excluder down if you think it's worth it in your case.'

    Draft excluders: I would recommend these pool noodles types as they move with the door so you dont trip over them, plus they can be easily removed during the summer.…-43

    Lidl did some cheap versions…bf/
    weeZl's avatar
    Better off with an old towel.
  10. yimpster's avatar
    we have a fireplace that we hardly use. i was wondering if it's worth plugging the chimney with something as i'm sure we lose a lot of heat up there?
    S_C-'s avatar
    We have a fireplace too and only use it a handful of times a year. We would put old duvet cover up the chimney and that stops the draught coming down.
  11. hambo04's avatar
    There's an article on the BBC website comparing costs of using an Air Fryer v Oven…138
  12. avivalasvegas's avatar
    Came across this thread on MSE - the OP measurably reduced their consumption but not their comfort, so we have implemented all the suggestions (except the one for solar PV). I have paraphrased below for those interested:…/p1

    "Appreciate that not everything will be applicable to all but perhaps some may be useful to some.

    1) Radiator reflectors - Has its share of skeptics lacking actual experience but we've found marked improvements in our comfort levels and increased residual heat levels after the desired temperature has been achieved and the boiler has cut off. All for <£30.

    2) Boiler Condensing mode - This was a game changer!. Turning our system boiler radiator flow temperature control (located on the boiler - not the thermostat setting) to ~50degrees. This means the return flow temperature will be 30-32 degrees which is low enough to make modern condensing boilers achieve > 92% efficiency. We still achieve the desired room temperature but slower and steadier, without the boiler cutting in and out. In so, the boiler's life is also extended.

    3) Gas Fireplace - Used on non-sunny evenings, our Nu-Flame gas fireplace warms the living area effectively, using ~2/3 less gas than the 18 kW main boiler would. A high efficiency fireplace is essential for this - our open flame unit is rated 77% efficient. Glass fronted fires can achieve in excess of 90% efficiency.

    4) Blinds wide open on Sunny Days - Seems obvious but we remain in awe of how quickly the property heats itselfs via solar radiation. We often switch the boiler off entirely and bask in sunlight, rare as it may be.

    5) Insulation sticky tape - Great for sealing older windows and doors to prevent cold air entry. £2 on Amazon made a massive difference in our leakier rooms and attic door.

    6) Geofencing and Smart Thermostats - Another seemingly obvious one till we realized how often we forget to turn down heating when we head out. Another great source of savings for a relatively low cost.

    7) Don't shut the cooking OVEN door/ Leave the kettle lid open - An oven or kettle left wide open allows for heat to transfer into the property. We leave our oven door open with the oven fan running for a few minutes - effectively transforming it into a large space heater - to quickly warm up the floor.

    8 ) Chimney Sheep draft excluder* - £22 allowed us to seal off our chimney from drafts using this well made (in the UK) woolen excluder. No more unwanted cold or hot air coming down our chimney. *New for 2022.

    We plan on installing underfloor heating on the ground floor of our townhouse to further increase efficiency while also adding weather compensation to our boiler as well.
  13. Rmcstar's avatar
    Stand in the corner, it's 90°
    redandblack's avatar
    You’ve made my day
  14. .MUFC.'s avatar
    Go and sit in Wetherspoons all day, Cheap food, beer, free wifi and warm.
    Maxim7750's avatar
    Free coffee refills too,loads of people will spend the day in there if it's very cold and the libraries
  15. COYG2018's avatar
    If you have a front door with a Eurolock, pull the handle up as it pulls the door tighter on the seal and cuts draughts!
  16. scottmathewjenkins's avatar
    I have an idea, how about holding this government to account instead of posting tips about putting hot water bottles under the covers whilst the vulnerable freeze and starve to death this winter?
  17. motorheadstu's avatar
    If you have a condensing boiler you can lower the output temp to make it more efficient. Don't go below 60 if you have a water tank but if not wind it back as low as you can.
    kingosticks's avatar
    Anyone interested in doing this should read up about the topic. It's not rocket science but it's worth understanding what "low as you can" means in the context of your own home. You'll get a good outcome if you understand the setup you have (e.g. how well insulated is your house and the pipework, how appropriately sized are the radiators, do you like having a responsive heating system that warms up quickly, be mindful of any 'dead legs' in the pipework if you had a hot water tank removed, etc). And if you do have a hot water tank that's far away from your boiler you should run sufficiently above 60C to allow for heat losses in the pipework getting into the cylinder. I don't want to put people off, just avoid blindly turning it down!

    edit: added missing "tank" in above. (edited)
  18. Dqb's avatar
    A couple years back I lost the means to pay rent let alone electric bills. The flat I rented had storage heaters attached to walls without insulation, meaning that the heaters never switched off as the walls were frozen. I discovered that year that snow is an insulater. I was recommended to purchase a thermometer and record the temperature each day, so as to be able to approach the landlord with detail as to why the flat needed insulating.

    My bedroom went as low as 4°C, so I moved everything into the lounge, which got a little sunlight, and, I'm sure, was warmed by the lady above keeping her flat so warm. I went right through winter without putting heaters on.

    Someone has already mentioned fleece over couches above in a question, but it is a worthy point to raise. I have, this year, draped a fleece right over the seat - it prevents drafts and the sides and back are available to pull over. What a difference.

    It goes without saying to cover your head, and keep your neck warm.

    I also put my feet/legs into a sleeping bag - this prevents drafts affecting me, and makes me toasty before leaping into bed. A bed is a great insulater, hop in when you're cold to the core and you'll take a while to heat up - better to be toasty before you get in. (edited)
  19. donny's avatar
    Dont be ashamed of buying a one way ticket to the Bahamas and live on the beach through out our winter there and save about £2000 on your energy costs (edited)
    stave84's avatar
    You joke but there are plenty of warm places you can live on barely anything, there may come a time it makes sense to migrate for winter
  20. JadeGamesUK's avatar
    If you are bleeding your radiators, make sure know if you need to manually increase your boiler pressure or not! A boiler with insufficient pressure will not work at all!
  21. kokoroko's avatar
    Boys and girls just don't over do it, be aware of damp and mould...It's way more expensive to fight those in a long run and very bad for your health..noth worth saving few £ imho
    Lucyeff's avatar
    Having had awful health issues as a kid from sleeping in a bedroom with damp walls, I totally agree
  22. David_Horman's avatar
    What about infra red heaters?
    Taka_nai's avatar
    I have the Warmlite Carbon infrared heater and it heats you up instantly. If I have it on the 1kw setting it feels like I’m getting cooked! I have it oscillating which then makes it noisy due to the moving mechanism. Eventually the room does warm up when the doors are closed but it has no thermostat or timer function so won’t switch off at a set temp.

    I also have a 600w smart infrared panel heater on the wall of my smallest room. I can whack the thermostat up to max 32 and heats the room fast. Otherwise I just have it set at 21 degrees on the thermostat overnight. 

    I’m not sure about costs but I’m pretty sure they’re better than the fan heaters I was using.
  23. JustaSingh's avatar
    The state of the should telling your MPs you will vote for anyone but them if they don't help you stay warm. It's wrong on so many levels that millions in the UK are living like this
    JustaSingh's avatar
    Just to add, your MPs and the political class will do whatever they can to distract you from the very issues that matter to you but not them. They get cushy expenses, 2nd home allowances and expenses for their parliamentary 'offfices'. You think they are concerned?
  24. Stanmorepark's avatar
    Tempting to go live in Iceland. A colder country overall but ironically they'll be staying warmer than most of us. They have virtually free heating via geothermal energy provided to all. They pay something like 150 pounds a year or so for the service. Also, other Scandinavian countries pay less for their energy than us too. They are generally a lot richer than us anyway and have a much higher standard of living. They also started building decent, properly insulated houses many many years ago, with triple glazing being the standard. The majority of the housing stock in this country is still shockingly bad and builders were still building new houses here with single glazing well into the nineties. The main big difference though is the size of their populations compared to ours. Too many people here are now chasing dwindling resources and it will only get worse. Those who have the money and can pay, get the heat. This country is seriously beginning to suck tbh... (edited)
    wendy07's avatar
    UK population live on 7% of habitable land.
  25. deleted1873321's avatar
    Anonymous User
    Haircut_100's avatar
    If you have a laptop that gets hot then by putting it on your lap not only will you save money on heating costs but also from not being able to have children.
  26. Ukguy101's avatar
    Im staying on a electric blankets until my teeth start chattering lol.
  27. Mickyfinn's avatar
    Use the washing line! Delay using the tumble dryer as much as possible and pick sunny days to do the washing
    Pandamansays's avatar
    I'm going to do the washing the evening before a sunny day as I can then get the washing out earlier and that might make a difference during shorter days.
  28. razo's avatar
    I started running up and down the stairs a few times once an hour or so. Never need the heating at all now, always warm from exercising. Wife thinks I've lost it.

    Thing is, I've also lost a stone in weight, so now I've got options (edited)
  29. weeZl's avatar
    Wear a hat inside, preferably a thermally lined one, just a hat.....and socks.
  30. scottswaha's avatar
    Get door curtains, heavier curtains on windows or put second pair. Reduce thermostat gradually 'til the household get used to it. Cut down on baths showers sponge down at the sink can get you as fresh. Make soup, batch cook and freeze, use microwave or airfryer instead of oven. Keep busy, make your own heat.
    Maxim7750's avatar
    we're broke I've been washing at the bathroom sink for the last year,it saves so much time too
  31. gg1pl's avatar
    Stop supporting Selfservatives as lettuce Liz bought with £100k bribe by boss of BP decided not to windfall tax billions of energy corporation profits

    The cabbages protected energy corporations and CEOs making millions in bonuses instead and made energy bill and taxpayers pay the energy price increase (edited)
    Stanmorepark's avatar
    Translation please...
  32. iCrazyCarrots's avatar
    Pipe all the hot air spouted by politicians into our homes. Free heat forever!!
  33. JetSetWilliesDeals's avatar
    Here's more, though very based on your circumstances...

    1. Have another hour in bed in the morning on weekends, or go to bed earlier. If you have a TV in the bedroom, why endure a cold living room?

    2. Buy a door thermal insulation blanket for the external door you don't use. They're velcro mounted across the top but we also added sticky velcro around the sides. It covers the edges, drapes to the floor like a draught excluder and helps retain heat.…c=1

    3. For those with open fireplaces (who obviously don't intend to use them), fill smaller bin bags with inflatable packing bags and stuff them up into the chimney space above. That will help reduce draughts coming into the house. I tied small strings onto the bags and dangled them down into the fireplace, with labels attached, as a reminder they're up there. Obviously you'd need to do the same, so you don't forget. This works similar to the much more expensive inflatable flu blockers which are very hit and miss in my experience, and not great quality.…c=1

    4. Buy keyhole caps for external doors. You'd be surprised at how draughty these can be. Obviously you can cover them in other ways but you don't want to make it a hassle getting in and our.

    However tiny or irrelevant you may feel each is, the cumulative effect will add up. We also turn off the boiler at source for the radiators and only turn it on and then to a low heat where needed, completely circumventing the potential for it to come on due to bad settings.

    Finally, switch from direct debit for energy payments and take meter readings per month, then enter them manually and pay for what you've used. Then track that on a googlesheet. You'd be surprised at how much information that will allow you to gather on your usage, without having the intrusion of smart meters and all the power (no pun intended) they hand to energy firms. (edited)
    blahblahblah1234's avatar
    According to Martin Lewis this week, switching away from a DD tariff will result in additional fees (around £48 per fuel type), and/or a higher tariff from you energy supplier (typically 9% higher for the average household).
    Not sure that's such good advice.

    I know it's annoying when you build up a credit balance on your energy account, but you'll still only pay for what you actually use and any credit balance is still your money not theirs.
    I'd rather pay a lower tariff and build up credit, than end up paying more in the long run.
    Plus, you can ask for a large credit balance to be refunded.

    Also, many people prefer the stability of a known DD amount so they can budget each month.
    Some people would have a big shock with a winter that's 3 or 4 times bigger than a summer time bill. (edited)
  34. del3165's avatar
    If you like a hot dinner plate rather than switching on the oven especially if you’re using an air fryer. Couple of sheets of damp kitchen towel between the dinner plates and couple of minutes in the microwave, nice hot plates. (edited)
  35. themachman's avatar
    Just got an air fryer, saves putting the main, electric oven on. Way cheaper.
    Defrost foods first so they don't take as long to cook
    Try and use the microwave, rather than an oven.
    Turn off plugs at night, not just stand by switches
    Don't have the TV on if you're not watching it
    Get loads of loungewear stuff to wear, fleeces, socks even a hat. Who cares what you look like. (edited)
  36. nightyard's avatar
    Replace rubber seals on old windows or get some stormguard weatherstrip to put around door and window frames.

    My 1970s house has cavity wall insulation and loads of loft insulation but it was still cold in winter. I fitted stormguard weatherstrip around every window and external door and the house was instantly a lot warmer. I can heat my house for an hour and it stays warm for most of the day after that.

    I couldnt really feel a cold draught from the windows but i could hear more noise from outside than i thought i should. After the weatherstripping, i could barely hear noise from outside
    Taka_nai's avatar
    Yes, I had to do this for my under the stairs cupboard as there was a draught coming directly into the heart of my home as the wall inside was next to the garage.

    I also fitted on some of the doors draught excluder brushes to keep the cold from coming in under the door. 
  37. steve.james's avatar
    Hell I bought a house in Sweden years ago but when I was ready to move in Winter all the pipes burst open ,no running water ,no heat ,Well used my small electric heaters , they will help ,my bill for one month £1,000 !!!!!!! next month £800 !!! After that shock and awe as most Swedish do not have gas in the countryside but use wood hell sucker punched but learnt how to live at 14/15 degrees while outside -25 , did that for 2 years !
  38. jammiev's avatar
    Wash your hands with cold water (and soap) rather than using the hot tap. It's just as effective.
  39. blahblahblah1234's avatar
    If just washing your hands, don't run the hot tap for 2 minutes until the water turns warm.
    By replacing all the cold water in the pipes with hot, you're actually wasting a whole bucket of hot water just to wash your hands.
    Cold water and soap is usually fine.
  40. blahblahblah1234's avatar
    Anyone with a Santander 123 current account gets cashback on their energy bill DD payments.
    The normal rate is 2% per month, and doubled to 4% for October/November.
    The cashback can be worth £60 a year with DD payments of £250 a month.
    Happy to be overpaying on my DD for a couple of months while I'm earning double cashback.
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