As we enter into February, typically a cold and wintery month, energy bills tend to rocket into the upper atmosphere, do a few loops and then keep going. It can be a worry for people living in lower income households, and if your energy bill amounts to more then 10% of your total household income, you could potentially be living in Fuel Poverty. However there are ways to improve your energy efficiency, which can keep your energy bills under control.
21 degrees is the recommended 'living room' temperature, with bedrooms heated to 18 degrees. It is also recommended that you do not leave the heating on all day. The coldest parts of the day are early mornings and late at night, so you could time your heating to stay on for 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours at night. Getting a more up to date boiler over time could potentially save you 40% on energy bills.
Hot food and drinks
This one is pretty simple to be honest. A hot meal can warm you up no end! A particular favourite is a warm chicken soup and a nice cup of Bovril. It is advised that you should only boil as much water as you need or you should boil it and then keep the remainder in a flask so you can keep it hot.
Wear a few layers of clothing
I wouldn't go over the top, but wrapping up with more layers will keep you warm inside and out. Wrapping yourself in a blanket or shawl could be useful, and also try to keep your feet elevated by resting on a cushion or foot rest.
Close your curtains
Close your curtains at dusk (at this time of year, that's roughly around 5.00). If you have a radiator under your curtains, close them and then tuck them behind the radiator.
It is advised to sit no longer then an hour, we aren't saying you should do star jumps and press ups but even getting up to make a cup of tea can help get you up off the chair.
Keep the doors closed
You need to try and trap in as much heat as you can, so leaving doors closed between heated and unheated areas can be useful for doing that. Also pressing a polystyrene sheets against a window can stop heat from escaping through the windows.
Turn Lights off
Allthough the winter months are fairly long and dark, only keep the lights on in rooms that you are in this will help reduce your electricity bills, allthough if you are a bit cautiaus of the dark or aren't as stable on your feet leaving some on is definately advised.
These are only a few tips that can help fight the winter blues, however the Sheffield Sustainable Development Team can help people struggling with fuel bills even more. For people who are currently living in fuel poverty you may be able to take advantage of government schemes/services which can reduce the cost of your energy bills. The Sheffield Sustainable Development team offers advice and information about this to hundreds of members of the public each year. If you would like to see if you are eligible for any of these schemes then please call: 0114 203 9202 or 0800 915 9096 (free)