Even though it’s summer right now and we’re not dependent on central heating, rising energy costs are still on our minds. With the fluctuating cost of energy and the increased awareness of our environmental footprint, finding ways to reduce energy bills without compromising the comfort of our homes has become more important than ever. Achieving this balance is not only financially rewarding but also contributes to sustainability efforts worldwide.
Summer is a really good time to make some simple changes that will help you to stay warm this winter. This guide will provide you with practical tips and strategies to keep your home cosy while minimizing your energy consumption and lowering your bills.
How Does the Cold Affect Physical and Mental Health?
Cold weather can affect both physical and mental health in several ways.
Physically, cold weather can lead to various health problems, such as colds, dry skin, and eye irritations. It can also reduce the ability or motivation to exercise, which could lead to other health issues.
Mentally, cold temperatures can impact our moods, temperaments, depression, and outlook. According to studies, cold weather can reduce negative mental health outcomes, but it can also lead to conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a subtype of depression that occurs at the same time each year, usually in winter.
Living in a cold home can also affect your mental health, contributing to severe mental health problems. The reduced sunlight during winter can cause imbalances of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which affect mood. Furthermore, colder and darker days can lead to an increase in anxiety, depression, and a lack of energy due to decreased serotonin levels and disrupted melatonin levels.
It's important to note that these effects can vary greatly from person to person, and not everyone will experience these effects to the same degree. Some people may find that they are more affected by changes in weather than others.
How to Reduce Your Energy Bills Without Being Cold
Reducing your energy bills without compromising warmth can be a challenge, especially during colder months. Here are some tips to help you achieve this:
Insulate Your Home: Proper insulation can keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. This includes insulating your walls, roof, and even your floors if possible. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to apply for grant-funded home energy improvements.
Seal Drafts: Drafty windows and doors can let out a lot of heat. Use weatherstripping or caulk to seal these leaks.
Use a Programmable Thermostat: A programmable thermostat can adjust the temperature according to your daily routine. There's also help available to get this kind of thermostat set up in the best way to save money.
Maintain Your Heating System: Regularly service your heating system to ensure it works efficiently. Replace filters as recommended by the manufacturer.
Use Energy-Efficient Appliances: These appliances use less energy, saving you money on your energy bills.
Switch Energy Providers: If possible, switch to an energy provider that offers lower rates.
Apply for Energy Discounts: Some utility companies offer discounts or rebates for energy-saving measures. The UK's Warm Home Discount Scheme, for example, offers £140 off your electricity bill.
Remember, if you see a sudden increase in your energy bill, it's worth contacting your provider to check for any errors.
Get Advice Locally
There are lots of locally based schemes that can help you save money on your utility bills. Free Energy Advice from SELCE is one example and is available on Mondays from 10.00 am to 14.30 at Erith Library and on Tuesdays at Bexley Central Library from 10.00 am to 14.30.