Sharing a house at university is one of the first true tests of responsibility. Even though you’ve survived your first year, that was likely to be in the safety of university halls, where you didn’t have to worry about the heating or water bills.
Now, in your house, you as housemates are in charge.
Heating, electricity and water; all of course cost money, but there are ways you can all save on your bills. Here, Brian, managing director of Grantham-based Trads, walks you through some simple ideas to save money during term time.
- Low and steady over fast and high
There’s a temptation among students, especially in older properties, to turn the heating up high for short periods to combat the cold. However your boiler can often be more efficient when run for longer, on a lower heat. A lot of the cost involved is getting the boiler hot in the first place.
- Bleed your radiators
It might be your landlord’s property, but you’ll be living in the house for nearly a year. So, it’s important everything works as efficiently as possible for those late evenings watching Netflix. Therefore, bleeding your radiators can be crucial to ensure they’re working properly. You don’t want to be unnecessarily turning the heat up, when you don’t need to. Try our BTU guide here.
- Use the oven for warmth
It’s not just the microwave that can be your best friend – the oven is too. After you’ve cooked that delicious chilli con carne, leave the oven door open. It might allow you to turn the thermostat down a notch, utilising the excess heat from the oven to warm the kitchen.
- Don’t hideaway in the dark
It may be tempting to keep your curtains closed all day as you attempt to hibernate. However, if you open your curtains in the day you let the heat from the sun in, warming the room. But, don’t forget to close as soon as the sun goes down to retain that captured heat.
- One full wash, at 30o
Your mum and dad may tell you to separate whites from colours when it comes to the laundry, but there is a short cut – one that can also save you money. By including a colour-catcher, you’ll lower the risk of the colours running. And if you wash at 30o you’ll be making even more savings. Always make sure it’s a full load too; share with your housemates.
- Check the meter
Don’t rely on the estimate figures sent by your utility suppliers. Regularly check your meter and submit the number to the supplier. That way you can be sure your bills will more accurate and a fairer reflection of your usage.
- Unplug and switch off
Leaving televisions and devices on standby is a guaranteed waste of energy. By turning them off at the socket, you will start to save those pennies. In addition, phone and laptop chargers can still use energy when left plugged in, even when they’re not charging. Just think how much energy your charger is wasting while you’re having a lie in! Therefore it’s important to unplug them, along with any other appliances you don’t use regularly.
- Move the furniture
Hiding radiators and heaters behind furniture might seem sensible, but actually it can reduce efficiency. If you can (and unfortunately it’s not always possible), move any furniture away from them so there’s more space for the heat to flow around the room.
- Use those layers
Your body loses heat through conduction whenever it comes into contact with something cold. Sometimes, the simpler the better, so consider wearing more layers before you turn the heating up. Most importantly, wear socks or slippers!
- Exclude that draught
Often older student houses are prone to draughts from under the doors. Block these unwanted gaps by investing in a few cheap draught excluders to prevent losing heat this way.