When the temperature drops outdoors, we focus on keeping as comfortable and warm as possible indoors, but as we drag out the old heaters there are a few steps we should be taking to help us save money and make sure we stay safe.
We sat down with Zak Saboune, managing director of Service Today, to pick his brains about the best tips to keep you warm, safe and money savvy this winter.
Saboune says one thing people often don’t think about is that ceiling fans and heaters should be used in conjunction with one another, and changing the direction of your fan will actually help utilise the heat in the ceiling rather than losing it. The simple switch could end up saving you money on your heating costs.
“If people have ceiling fans, I’d be looking at changing the rotation of the way the fans spin,” he said. “It’s generally something people kind of forget about. They have a little rotation button, and when it comes to winter you change the way it spins to clockwise.
“This will put any heat in the ceiling it’ll push it down instead of losing all the warmer air through the ceiling. That helps with heating the home.”
If you’ve had your heater for a few years, Saboune suggests looking into an upgrade. Not only are many of the modern systems more energy-efficient, same have tech-savvy features that allow you to turn the system on while you’re out, so you can come home to a toasty warm house.
“Many people are still using old portable heaters and don’t know there’s better technology available,” he said.
“Because technology has really changed and evolved, there are a lot of systems that you can connect to an app. You can have an app installed that controls your heating system from your phone. You can then control and schedule your heating.
“You can come home while your home is already heated, you don’t have to wait. And you can set up schedules so you can automatically have it turn off at a [certain] time.”
Saboune says there are some issues around the use of gas heaters that people should be aware of. Firstly, if you do have a gas heater, you should also have a carbon monoxide alarm.
“Another problem with portable gas heaters is because they heat inside the home, when the gas is burning the unburnt gases generally circulate within your home,” he said. “This can cause people headaches and drowsiness.
Saboune also says before plugging in an electric heater, it is important to inspect the cords and make sure they are solid, not frayed, and in good condition. Also giving any filters a regular clean will remove built-up dust, which can create a potential fire hazard if left alone.
The use of electric blankets can also pose a danger if used incorrectly. Before fitting any electric blanket, make sure you check that the heating element is sitting solidly within the fabric (with no wires sticking out) before switching it on.
It is extremely important to remember to switch electric blankets off when they are not in use and whilst you are asleep, as well as being careful to never place heavy items on top of an electric blanket as they can damage the inner wiring or create a hotspot, which can cause a fire when the blanket is turned on.