The year that our son was born (2010) saw some of the worst snow we’ve had here in a long time. Since then we have gradually started to make more preparations for winter and for the first time this year we are looking to reduce our energy consumption without being cold. Here are some of the things that we are doing.
Food – We’ve made sure that we have some extra items in the freezer such as bread, fish fingers etc so that if we can’t get out then we have enough food (but not too much!) should we be unable to get out to the shops. We have also bought some cartons of long life milk.
Outdoor – Theres an extra bag of chicken food in the shed, our supplier is at the top of a very long and bumpy road so when its icy it’s just not possible to get there. We also have a snow shovel and a supply of grit / salt so we can keep our path and the bit of road directly behind our drive clear.
Car – The kids each have a warm blanket in the car as well as extra hats and gloves. Theres a small snow shovel, ice scraper and de-icer as well as an extra blanket.
Windows and Doors
We have added extra insulation to as many of the windows and doors as possible, draught excluders are plentiful! I made a draught excluder a few weeks ago, its pretty basic but effective.
Windows have blinds up and the living rooms and bedrooms all have lined curtains too, we have made sure that the curtains don’t cover the radiators. We try to have the blinds open whenever possible during the day to let natural lights and warmth in. We close the blinds as soon as it starts to get dark, this way we conserve as much heat as possible. I’ve also put a curtain up at my back door as it has a fair bit of glass and is draughty! We are in the process of putting foil behind the radiators, downstairs is done and upstairs will be done in the new year.
Heating and Hot Water
The heating thermostat sits at 18 degrees (16 if it’s not too chilly) 20 is usually the maximum, our downstairs is open plan so we lost a lot of heat upstairs as the stairs are in the living room. Our heating is on all the time but we control it by the thermostat, most of the radiators in the house have individual thermostats so each has been adjusted accordingly. Set to low in rooms not used much or that don’t need heated. Our children are aged 3 years and 8.5 months so we are not comfortable having the house much cooler. In addition we have bled all of the radiators.
The hot water is set to come on for a certain amount of time each day, this gives us enough water for a shower for each of the adults, any cleaning and a bath each evening for the children.
We are trying to only have 1 or 2 lights on where possible especially in the evening when the kids are in bed, keeping doors closed is something I’m trying to teach my other half! We are in the process of switching our lightbulbs to LEDs. So far we have changed the most used lights downstairs and I’m impressed at the brightness however it is costly and therefore slow process. Hopefully it will be worth it!
We use a lot of common sense like making sure chargers are switched off and unplugged when not in use, nothing plugged into extension cables that’s not being used and everything downstairs except the heating and fridge freezer is turned off at night. All of our appliances are A or A+ rated with the exception of the tumble dryer which is B rated.
We have also shopped around and got ourselves onto the best energy deal that we can. According to our energy provider we use less than the “standard amount and we run a very energy-efficient household” but I feel that we can do more.
We did invest in an energy monitor recently and it is proving to be an interesting and useful addition to the household. I plan to do a separate blog post about this later.
I will only know if we have successfully reduced our energy consumption by comparing this years usage to last year so it feels like a long time to wait! Im interested to hear if anyone else has any suggestions?