We might have passed the winter solstice, but some of our coldest days could still be to come. And, with Eskom’s tariff increase we’re looking at affordable, energy-saving ways to keep warm.
HERE ARE A FEW IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED:
1. Bring out the blankets
On a chilly winter evening, nothing beats cuddling up on the couch under a heap of cosy blankets. To really ramp up the heat, go for wool, fleece or down fabrics. These materials are said to provide the best insulation with fibres that effectively trap warmth. Hot water bottles are also an affordable, energy-saving option. If you opt for an electric blanket, switch it on for an hour or two before you get into bed. Then, when you actually go to sleep, turn it off. It will have done the job of warming the bed, and you’ll save on the electricity bill.
2. Invest in winter curtains
To benefit from as much natural light and heat as possible in winter, leave the shades open during the day. Then, when dusk falls, draw the curtains to retain the heat. Heavy winter curtains will help insulate the house and prevent pesky draughts from getting through; they’ll also prevent rooms from losing heat through the windows. While proper winter curtains can be pricey, you could always line them yourself with a durable lining.
3. Shop smart
Rather than spending money on energy-sapping infrared or oil heaters – that will be relegated to a storeroom in a few months – invest in a year-round product that’s easy on the electricity bill. The LG Artcool air conditioner uses Dual Inverter Compressor technology to heat – or cool – a room 40 per cent faster, providing up to 70 per cent energy savings. It’s an energy-efficient heating solution, perfect for a ‘greener’ home. An added bonus?
4. Cover the floors
A winter luxury is being able to kick off your shoes and walk barefoot on toasty floors. But, with a cost of around R135 a month for three hours of underfloor heating a day (minus the actual installation fee), it’s a luxury many of us will go without. However, to avoid walking on icy floors, simply cover them with carpets or mats. In the long run, these are much easier on the wallet, and they’ll help cut down on electricity. We lose as much as 10 per cent of our home’s heat through the floors, so covering them is an easy way to boost insulation.
5. Close off extra rooms
To prevent cold air travelling through the house, close off any rooms you don’t often use. Any heat generated in the areas of the house where you do spend time will also be more contained. We’re in for a few more icy days, so grit your teeth and consider these energy-saving alternatives to traditional heating.