Get ready for autumn and winter

The glorious summer of 2022 is now over. Although there are still some sunny days, autumn is here and winter not far behind. It always feels like summer passes too quickly and it’s a long wait until the next one!

Focussing on the positive, there are some great things to look forward to during these two seasons and many people love them more than summer. Cosy nights in front of a fire, autumnal colours, rich winter foods and the biggest celebrations of the year - Christmas and New Year.

Autumn and winter are still popular periods for short lets, especially during October half-term and Christmas holidays – so there are plenty of opportunities.

Autumn/winter 2022/23 will have its challenges though as rising energy prices dominate the headlines and concern over climate change has never been greater.

Practical things you can do.

There are lots of things homeowners can do to keep homes warm and energy bills under control which will also help meet the carbon reduction commitments that the UK government is legally required to deliver. The best part is changes can be simple and not leave you feeling you are in a bleak Dickensian novel!

High energy bills aren’t solely a result of having the heating on too high. Dripping taps, rattling windows and draughts under the doors are all contributory factors. There are less obvious ones too like boiling more water than is needed for a cuppa or starting the washing machine or dishwasher before they are full.

Try simple tips like closing the curtains when it gets dark as this acts as a layer of insulation. A good-quality winter duvet is essential too. Consider adding throws and blankets to the foot of the bed in case you or your guests get chilly. They’re nice in the lounge too.

Use rugs on floors, especially around sitting areas and next to your bed. They keep your feet warmer and act as insulation too. Don’t let vanity get in the way of a few extra layers of clothing.

Sofas positioned in front of a radiator absorb heat that could be heating the room. Move them to an alternative position or at least a few centimetres away to allow hot air to circulate freely.

According to experts at the Energy Saving Trust, it’s a myth that keeping heating on low all day is cheaper than having it on a timer. In the long run a timer with the temperature controlled by a thermostat is the best way to save energy and therefore money.
The Trust recommends between 18 to 21 degrees Celsius during winter.

New smart thermostats can be controlled remotely ensuring it’s warm when you arrive home and heat is not wasted if you’re delayed. Most systems also connect lighting and hot water systems.

Get a Smart metre. Whilst it won’t save money on its own they monitor energy usage and how much it is costing and help identify ways to save energy via its in-home display.

Switch off plugs at the socket - British Gas say chargers and appliances plus games consoles, laptops and TVs draw small amounts of power when not in use but still plugged in and turned on.

Around 25% of heat is lost through the roof. This can easily be reduced by installing 25cm of insulation throughout your loft. If you have a hot water tank, make sure it is properly lagged – or insulated.

Block out cold draughts by making your own draught excluder (sometimes called a sausage dog excluder). DIY draught-proofing your doors and windows with self-adhesive rubber seals are relatively cheap and easy to install.

As we approach the autumn/winter season, remember to book in a boiler service. A boiler breakdown impacts negatively on a guest’s stay: please do not let it be you! If your boiler is more than 10 years old, it may be time to replace it with a more efficient model.

Also, we recommend you have fan heaters as a back-up for emergencies or to take the chill off one room. That’s more efficient than heating unoccupied rooms and adds a bit of extra warmth during extreme weather.

The list goes on and maybe you have a few tips of your own. One thing is for sure - now more than ever is a good time to review your energy usage.