winter woolies

Due to the current economic climate the “Light at the end of the tunnel” has been switched off.

Eight years ago, that one liner was nt funny. Energy costs since then have steadily been on the increase and many of us remain ambivalent to the direction those costs are going.

Do you leave the immersion on when you switch on your central heating ? Override the timer on a regular basis without regard to costs ? Do you think about the heating and hot water costs where reportedly half the annual fuel costs budget is spent ?

Here are some tips to make your heating and hot water system more efficient and cost-effective :

  • Bleed your radiators regularly: if your radiators are cooler at the top and warmer at the bottom, you need to bleed them.
  • Check your oil tank: make sure pipes are intact and not leaking and supervise all oil deliveries so that you know you are getting what you ordered.
  • Fit thermostats in rooms to control temperatures. It’s best to have as many controls as possible, so you can fully control the way you want your home to be heated.
  • Fit a timer. This will allow you to set your boiler to go on or off at set times and means you only have the heat on when you need it to be on
  • Try technology – Bord Gais Energy introduced their HIVE app where you can control your heating and hot water from anywhere in the world via your smart phone. Check them out at
  • Don’t block the heat source in your rooms. Move sofas and tables away from radiators and avoid hanging washing over them.

Insulating and draught proofing

All properties lose heat through windows, doors and also through walls, so draught-proofing your home is one of the easiest ways of cutting costs on heating bills.

  • Doors: to prevent draughts, why not make a draught excluder.
  • Radiators: heat-reflective panels can be fitted behind radiators which help to reflect the heat back into the room. These can be bought online or in local DIY stores
  • Windows: if you don’t have double glazing, there are other ways of preventing heat escaping through windows. Insulating window film is available from hardware stores and supermarkets; you stick it onto the window and dry it with a hair dryer. This forms a protective layer and helps the room retain heat
  • Curtains: invest in some thermal linings and if you are changing your curtains go for the thickest ones you can get
  • Water tanks and pipes: a jacket for a hot water tank costs around c. € 22 and pipes can be lagged with old towels
  • Bare floor boards: wooden and laminate floors are very on trend, but tend to be very cold. Invest in a rug, or if you can’t afford one, call into your local carpet showroom and see if they have any cheap off cuts for sale
  • Chimney balloon: if you have a fireplace which isn’t being used, you could be losing heat and letting in cold air. You can buy a chimney balloon for around € 28 – it inflates inside the chimney and blocks the cavity
  • Key holes – if you have wooden doors in your home you will probably still have a key hole. You can buy covers to put over the hole when not in use.

Switching Suppliers

I am a total advocate of “better in your pocket”. Loyalty starts at home and if you can find a better deal than your current provider – and that goes for any service or product – then switch. Only apathy and ignorance will preclude you from making the move. Switching to a different company could be well to your advantage. If you pay by direct debit or get both gas and electricity from the same supplier you can often bring your bills down even further. They call it economies of scale. It is really worth shopping around and checking the providers and comparison websites to see how much you can reduce your bills this winter.

Just keep saying to yourself better in my pocket.

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