Student House Heating Tips and Tricks

As the new year’s buzz subsides and the ‘what day is it?’ mindset of the holidays is replaced by a return to study and assignments, you might find yourself once again worrying about those blooming heating bills.

Unfortunately, even with it being a new year, the UK undoubtedly remains gripped in various crises.

However, the good news is that with the right steps, you can take back control of the seeming chaos and limit your heating expenses, helping to bring you more peace of mind!

Let’s dive in, shall we?

1. Draught Proofing

There are a few low-cost (and even free) ways of keeping the heat in and preventing draughts.

First and foremost, be sure that you and your housemates are keeping windows and doors closed properly throughout the day and particularly in the evening time. This will help to lower heat loss and reduce the need to turn on the heat.

If you’d like to spend a little bit of cash, you could pick up some low-cost draught-proofing strips for your doors or/and windows. You might also want to look into draught excluders and door seals for your doors, which is another way of reducing heat loss.

Obviously before adding anything to your student house, just be sure that it doesn’t go against the rules relating to any alterations to the property. The same applies to any of the below tips, of course! But it should be fine.

2. Check Your Boiler’s Age

You may want to check the type of heating system used in your student let. If it’s an old combi boiler i.e. a non-condensing model, you may find that your heating bills will be higher than if you had a modern combi boiler.

While it’s not always possible to have it changed, it’s certainly worth looking into subsidies, such as the British Gas ECO scheme, which your landlord could potentially apply for if the property is in need of an upgrade.

3. Evening’s Out

If you prefer staying in at night, then you may want to focus more on the other tips listed.

However, an evening out doesn’t necessarily have to mean going to the pub (although that can be cheaper than staying at home and keeping the heating on – particularly if there are student drink deals on… or you could just stick to water).

For example, you and your housemates could head to the library to study. If you’re a talkative group, you might want to spread out, of course!

But spending the evening studying in the library or/and even just messaging with friends on social media or watching Netflix on your laptop with headphones on would be a way to pass your evening without having to spend on heating.

4. Electric Heating

Note: Just as a heads up, if anyone in your student house is vulnerable to low or high temperatures (e.g., if they have a health condition), you shouldn’t experiment with different types of heating, unless you know exactly what temperature it is.

This is because, while everyone can end up unwell from temperatures that are too low or too high, those who are vulnerable are particularly at risk. So, always safety first!

Since small electric heaters are a bit costly, you’ll probably only want to consider this option if you have one at home that you could take with you (or if any of your housemates have one).

It’s important to say right off the bat that an electric heater won’t be the most economical choice in every situation. If you have a fairly large student house and you’re likely to move between rooms throughout the evening, then a small electric heater wouldn’t be of much use.

However, if everyone tends to chill out in the same space in the evening, plugging in a small electric heater to warm the space can save you money, once you don’t leave it running for too long.

If the property has decent insulation, once you’ve heated up the room sufficiently and then some more, you could turn the heater off and that should keep the room toasty for a few hours.

How long exactly you should leave it on is hard to say since it would depend on factors like the size of the student’s house and how well-insulated it is.

If you can get one handy it’s worth testing it out (you might, say, leave it on for 45 minutes to an hour) and then see if it keeps the space cozy and warm for a good while.

5. Use Your Curtains Right

Get into the habit of opening up your curtains during the daytime (to let sunlight in – as aside from mental health benefits this will provide solar heat to your property) and closing them each night.

As much as 20% of homes lose heat via the windows, so you can see the importance of always pulling the curtains over after dark.

6. Hot Water Bottle

Whether you use a small heater to warm up the primary space used in the evening, or you turn the heating on prior to ensure it is off before bed, you’ll probably be hitting the hay in a cold room (or at least a room that will get cold as you try to fall asleep).

One way or another, on a particularly cold night, when you’re tempted to turn the heating back on, it would be useful to have a hot water bottle on the ready.

This way, you could keep yourself nice and warm while under the covers.

Again though, if anyone in your house is vulnerable to cold temperatures, it’s important not to take chances, particularly on especially cold nights.

7. Avoid Putting Clothes Over the Radiator

While it’s common for people to hang wet clothes on the radiator, the problem here is that it can block your radiator from heating your home.

Obviously, when you’re trying to save on energy, you’ll want to keep running your tumble dryer to a minimum. If it’s possible to dry clothes outside (e.g., if you have a suitable balcony where you can fix a clothes horse) then that would be a great alternative to popping clothes on the radiator.

However, if you don’t have an outdoor space to dry clothes, then setting up a clothes horse indoors is the next best thing. Just be careful to avoid dampness becoming an issue inside your property.

For that reason, you should probably dry clothes early in the day so that you can open the window to air the house. This will minimize the risk of drying clothes causing issues like mold or mildew.

However, in the wintertime, you’ll obviously want to avoid opening the window as much as possible (even in the daytime).

Therefore, you may want to weigh up the option of using an extractor fan when clothes are drying (or to address the build-up of moisture in the air regardless) with the option of opening a window. You could even mix it up between opening a window for a bit, then closing it before running the extractor fan.

8. Keep Yourself Warm with Clothing Layers and Hot Beverages

Last but not least, you shouldn’t overlook the advantages of piling on the layers and sipping on a hot drink to keep extra warm.

Interestingly hot drinks like tea don’t actually warm your body, but warm your mouth and create the placebo of being warmer all around.

It’s worth mentioning that to save energy you should avoid adding more water to your kettle that you need. Kettles are particularly high energy consumers in most households.

So, if all of your housemates have a cup of tea or coffee around the same time, you can make your kettle use more economical.

Obviously, it’s not ideal to have caffeine too late so maybe hint your caffeinated-loving friends to try out, decaf coffee or you want to make a real fancy suggestion, chicory!

As for keeping warm with clothing, simply adding a few layers (including, perhaps a nice warm dressing gown) can help limit how long you’d need to keep the heating on to get warm.

9. Stay Active

Moving around will warm you up too and help limit the need to keep the heating on.

If you are particularly into fitness and have an exercise bike (or could pick one up from home home), this could prove particularly useful on cold, winter evenings.

Moreover, the mental and physical health benefits offered might keep your spirits up during those short dull winter days.

10. Insulation

If you and your housemates have a few bobs each to spare, you could ask your landlord about having some insulation added to the property if it is not sufficiently insulated, to begin with.

Wall insulation may cost a few hundred pounds but if your student house is particularly outdated, it may be worth the investment ahead of the winter, particularly if you’re early into your college experience and are likely to use the same student house for several years.

Also, make sure to insulate your boiler’s hot water tank if it has one as this could help prevent substantial heat loss.

With that said, if you’re unsure how your landlord might react to such a request (and don’t want to rock the boat) or you’ve no idea if you’ll still be there in future years (maybe you’re already in your final year), it’s best to stick to our inexpensive and free steps to keeping a student house warm during the wintertime.

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