Friday, 21 February 2014

Keeping costs down during the winter months*

With after school clubs, new school uniforms and books to pay for, rising energy prices can make balancing your outgoings a real headache. Depending on your provider you may be able to ease this by fixing your energy prices for a few years. However regardless of the cost, we all know that keeping the kids warm isn't negotiable. In order to ensure your family stay cosy this winter, there are a few steps you can take to help prevent unforeseen expenses from breaking the bank. Below, the Family Panel's Lazy Girl will highlight some great ways to save, without having the family walk round in 4 jumpers all winter!

Preventative measures

Whilst the temptation might be to simply go without heating and brave the cold spells with thermal underwear, socks and jumpers, unfortunately as the temperatures continue to plummet inactive pipes can actually freeze and crack. As the last thing you need is a high repair bill, it is a good preventative step to keep the heating on low even when the house is empty. 

Although properties with double glazing might have the edge when it comes to keeping the heat in, not everyone (especially those living in older houses) is lucky enough to have it. As an alternative, draught proof your windows, close doors, place draught excluders against gaps and block cracks in the flooring. Wall and loft insulation, whilst possibly seeming like a pricey initial outlay, will also stop your property from losing heat through the walls and ceiling and could save you hundreds of pounds each year.

Another problem families can find themselves faced with in the winter is a broken boiler. As central heating systems experience higher usage during the colder months, many boilers can suddenly break down or stop working. Make sure you book a regular annual boiler service to check its efficiency. This can help prevent your family getting caught short in freezing temperatures and save you from high repair bills.

Energy saving solutions

Strange as it may seem, there are a lot of ways to save on energy that won’t cost you a penny. Moving your furniture around can blocks drafts and allow you to enjoy the warmth of interior walls. Furthermore, throwing back the curtains and letting the sunshine into a room during the day can actually lead to some of your rooms getting heated for free. 
Get the kids involved by challenging them to eliminate any wasted energy. For example, encouraging them to turn off surplus lights and unplug unused appliances for a small reward such as a sticker is an excellent way to save pennies in the long term!

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