Having just moved house and discovered that the boiler was on its last legs , we decided to have a new boiler fitted.
As Christmas approaches, families across the country will be making plans and preparations for the extra requirements of the festive season. From coping with a household filled with children and relatives, to the military precision one requires for getting the whole Christmas dinner cooked on time, one of the last things on your mind is likely to be energy efficiency. But with both the colder weather, and the ceaseless rise of energy costs for the consumer, this winter may come with a few nasty surprises on the energy bill.
Luckily, there are all kinds of ways to lower your electric and heating costs, including looking for cheap energy providers. From clever cooking to smart shopping, every part of your seasonal preparations can be a source of energy savings.
Before you can sit down to Christmas dinner, before tearing open your presents, you must first of all do the dreaded Christmas shopping. Although it will mainly be your own energy that you are looking to conserve at this point, there are tips to consider that will help you throughout the year with your energy bills. Think about alternatives to those perennial but power-hungry popular gifts: hair driers, beard trimmers, foot spas are always top sellers, but can create added consumption in the household. Try to find energy efficient brands. Though often slightly more expensive to begin with, they recoup their cost in no time.
Let There Be (Energy Efficient) Light
Similarly, much of the magic of Yuletide is the glittering warmth given off by a well decorated house. Whether you go all-out, or keep it simple, always look for the most energy efficient lighting alternatives. Fairy lights might seem like a minor consideration, but when they are left on at all times of the day for an entire month, it soon adds up.
On that note, if you are one of those people who loves to indulge and covers the outside of their house in floodlit dioramas of the nativity scene, maybe give it a rest this year? Not only will your energy bill be smaller, but your neighbours will be a lot happier too!
Heating is a number one concern over winter time, especially if you have a household full of children and elderly relatives. Keeping every guest room and living space up to temperature over the holidays can see your electricity meter whirring like never before. But if you are fortunate enough to live in a home with a fireplace and chimney, now is the time to get that fire roaring. There is nothing more festive than an open fire at Christmas. And, although it may not be the most carbon-neutral alternative to the environment as a whole, it will certainly be one way for a stretched household to lower its heating bills until the New Year.
Christmas is a time for family, so enjoy spending time in the company of others, and switch off those external distractions. The modern household today might have fewer television sets than twenty years ago, but the number of computers, smart phones, music players and other digital gadgets running at any time has increased exponentially. And, of course, all of these need either direct mains power, or require charging.
Save energy and close down any unused devices, be they laptops, gaming systems or Hi-Fis. Remember, your online friends will be just as likely to be offline for the time being and spending the day with their family too. Get together with the folks and you can find a classic film on the TV. Without the need for other DVD or Blu-ray players, you can make more savings or, if you are really going green, why not break open a board game?
Command the Kitchen
Christmas dinner is the highpoint of the festive season for anybody who has grown out of the phase of rushing downstairs at 6am to rip open their presents. But it is also one of the most chaotic, and potentially traumatising parts of the Christmas periods, for the person in charge of the food. But by spending time beforehand, making a few simple calculations, you will find that saving money will also create the best dinnertime schedule, too. Get all your pieces in the oven and cooking so they are ready together, and you will save money by not having the cooker going for longer than needed. Choose a turkey crown over a full bird to reduce the amount of roasting it will require. And don't load up the dishwasher afterwards, either: everybody should take turns doing their bit for the washing and drying, and it will be done in no time. Don't leave it all up to mum!
An energy efficient Christmas is not an impossible task. And once you have started with these suggestions, you will soon start to find your own savings both at home, and when out and about, throughout the festive period.