Being a PhD student and moving into a fairly old property, I'd really appreciate any tips on how I could be more energy efficient and save money on my electricity bill. I just got a quote from the last tenants usage which shocked me a little so I'm trying to bring the cost down :p. Also, does anyone have any experience with storage heaters? There are storage heaters in place but we intend to use portable halogen ones instead as I heard they'd be more effective plus I don't have a low night rate tariff.
I have a couple of storage heaters here - don't touch them unless you absolutely have to - they are eye-wateringly expensive to run, particularly if you don't have a low night rate tariff, plus the fact that they are utterly useless in my experience, they take the chill off but don't 'heat' anything.... portable halogen heaters are ok but they aren't that good and they are still expensive but needs must and all that. We don't have any heating here to talk of and are lucky that we have a couple of open fires, we did use electric heaters a bit in the winter but my bill was literally 4x as much for the winter quarters as it has been this quarter - terrifyingly high :-/ There's the usual low energy bulbs, they help a bit, but there isn't a huge amount you can do when you're on electric only. Are your windows doubleglazed? If not then you can buy the film that acts as double glazing quite cheaply come the autumn, it sticks onto the frame and cuts out the draughts a bit.
My suggestion would be hot water bottles - they're not just for the elderly!! I live in a poorly insulated house with tiles in every room on the ground floor but rarely use any form of heating aside from hot water bottles - If I'm working at my desk I have one behind my back and maybe another at my feet in winter. Also wearing many layers of clothes helps too :p
I got the double glazing film from B&Q last year, not sure if they have it at this time of year but it was with the insulation stuff like draught excluders etc (they are a good idea too - brushes on the bottom of the doors and the foam (or more expensive options if you can afford them) around window openings and the door frames. You can also buy it online - very easy to use - stick the double sided sticky tape around the window frame, put the film in place and blast it with a hairdryer, it goes very tight and isn't noticeable.
I'd also second the hot water bottle idea :-) and electric underblanket - that was a godsend this year! Oh, and thermals come the winter - look hideous but I had to be prised out of mine lol - made a big difference :-) That and ugg style boots for slippers - sooooo sexy (not) but very warm and cut down on electricity bills!
I grew up in a house with no central heating - my parents still don't have any there. THey have an aga in the kitchen which heats that room, and wood burners in most of the used rooms, but obviously you have to bother to light them and our bedrooms never had any heating in them - so I know what it is to be cold!
My advice is..
- very thick curtains, velvet if possible - try charity shops or places like dunelm mill sell curtains quite cheaply. This will really block the drafts coming through windows and insulate well at night. Also can put one over hallway doors and the front/back door.
- use rugs and carpets where possible
- yes hot water bottles!
- In that really snowy patch we had a few months ago our boiler broke :-s and we coped very well with an oil free radiator - if you get the ones with a thermostat, it turns off when the room reaches the desired temperature - so is cheaper, and apparently much cheaper and more efficient that oil radiators - it heated the whole room up in about 5 mins to a nice toastiness.
- door shutting is crucial, get used to shutting every door behind you all the time.
- jumpers - don't let tennants wander about in a vest top complaining its cold!
- perhaps invest in a slanket :-)
Electric blankets and hot water bottles are a great idea! :), I had electric blankets many years ago and loved them. Like Sneaks said, I probably wouldn't use them at the same time lol.
It'd be much harder to turn off my laptop at night, I leave it on standby too many times! :$
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Quote From cheekybint:
Lol, no I wouldn't use a water bottle and an electric blanket at the same time ;-) could get a bit too toasty.... I can't stand hot water bottles in bed anyway, you get a hot bit and the rest of you is frozen lol - nope, in the depth of last winter I used to fill a couple of bottles, put one on the chair behind me (well wrapped) and lean against that while working and have another that I used to put in a fleecy blanket on the floor, put my feet on it and wrap the blanket around my legs :-) Its not a good look lmao but when you're that cold you don't really care - that and lots of hot drinks - I still managed to drop to clinical hypothermia at least three or four times a week but the halucinations were kept under control lol - but then its COLD here - we can see the sea (through the rotten window frames) and the combination of a timber frame, no heating and rotten windows mean we feel the full blast of that bracing sea air - ice on the inside of the windows was common lol - never been so cold, but the advice we've given here certainly helps - turns it from 'unbearable' to 'omg when is it going to end' ;-)
Yep, curtains make a massive difference - you can buy lose thermal linings in places like argos but they can be expensive - a sheet or blanket works just as well (but doesn't look so good from outside) and the heavier the curtain (check your curtain tracks can take it) the more of the draught you'll keep out and the heat in. My friend who also lives in a freezing old house didn't open her curtains hardly at all, even in daytime during this last winter - I never opened the ones upstairs but figured I needed some daylight lmao!
if you get plain white fleece (I got ours from Ikea), then it doesn't look *too* weird.
we even put some over the front porch (just put a curtain track over it) and the back door, and it made a huge difference, I think we managed to delay turning out heating on for a month, and we all remember how cold it was last winter! brrrrrrrr
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