It's almost October, which is normally our favourite month of the year, but since the recent news of energy price rises, it has been a month we – like most people – have been dreading. Luckily, we're to help. Not by telling you to turn your heating down by 1°C (though that might actually save a few pennies), but we've rounded up some energy-saving products that will help lower your energy bills in the long run.
From air fryers that cost 44p to run for an hour, to an energy-saving kettle that can boil to a set temperature and keep your water hot so you needn't re-boil, it's all here.
We've grouped together as a team and revealed the top buys we can really recommend, to help you save money (and energy) at home this winter. From our Real Homes to yours. Our team is made up of apartment dwellers, flat sharers, period home owners and everything in between. Here's what we're buying to keep costs down come October, November, December and beyond. It means spending a little, but cumulatively, we hope it saves you a lot.
Find nine top buys just below, from budget-friendly picks to more expensive investments that will surely be worth the money when the temperatures outside are in the minus numbers. Afterwards, while you're waiting for your deliveries, you can read our guide on more ways you can reduce your energy bill without spending any money at all.
9 top energy-saving products to help you save money
A draught excluder is an easy way to make the most of your heating, and contain heat in one room. Or they can be great for preventing any cold air from circulating throughout your home. They can fit in with your home decor, too, and they mean that you can save money on your energy bills if you've turned off the radiators in unused spaces.
You can browse more stylish draught excluders in our guide.
Though an initially expensive outlay, in the long run this smart thermostat is more than worth the expense. We've tested it and our reviewer gave it 4.5-stars out of five. "It goes above and beyond to save energy with plenty of added features you won't see on similar products and offers room-by-room control should you want it". It also means you can pre-heat your home from afar, or turn your heating down from a different continent.
Read our full Tado Smart Thermostat review for a deeper insight.
Yes, air fryers are currently having a moment. And we can totally understand why. In fact, the majority of the Real Homes team has an air fryer. We use them to cook everything from chips to meat and veggies, and they pre-heat super fast so as to not waste the time (and energy) it takes to pre-heat your oven for 15 minutes. This smaller air fryer is less than £60 and costs around 44pto run for one hour. It's also nice and compact so that you can put it away in your cupboard after use.
If you are planning on using your tumble dryer over the next few months, then it would definitely be worth buying some wool dryer balls to speed up drying time. And in turn, lower your electricity bill! They say each one can be used hundreds of times, and they also remove lint and help to de-crease clothes. A cheap buy that can make a big difference, they can reduce drying time by 30 to 40 per cent.
If you want to forgo tumble drying altogether, you need a quick way to dry to avoid condensation. Invest in a heated airer like this one and spend just 4 pence per hour drying your towels. It sits neatly in a corner, too, and it folds away for easy storing in a cupboard or underneath a sofa.
We gave this brilliant kettle 5 out of 5 stars in testing, and it even boasts a Keep Warm function to keep your boiled water hot for 30 minutes. You can choose the temperature (from seven settings) for hot but not boiling water for delicate teas, saving money and time.
Find more brilliant kettles in our guide.
Whether your energy bills are rising or not, an electric blanket is always a failsafe purchase around this time of year. We've tested this fluffy one from Lakeland and can vouch for its comfort. "It has proven to be more cost-effective than turning up the heating in my flatshare, and if my housemates don't want to turn the heating on one night, it means I'll still be toasty as I sleep" claims our Ecommerce Writer, Louise. It heats in five minutes, has six settings and boasts auto shut-off for safety.
A cheap way to improve your water pressure at home, this shower head also claims to use 50 per cent less water than the average. Plus, its beads purify the wate and it's easy to fit as well as budget-friendly. It should also ensure you shower faster, using less hot water (and in turn, energy) because of the added pressure. Our tester loves hers and it's great if you live in a hard water area.
Find more high pressure shower heads in our guide.
If sparkling water is your preference, then it might be worth investing in a Sodastream. Gone are the days of this being for making orange soda and cherryade, but you can stop buying bottles of sparkling water from the supermarket and add the gas yourself, and to your own preference. We've got one of these at home and not only does it look lovely on our kitchen counter (it's cordless) but it's super easy to use, too.
What else can I replace in my home to keep warm?
There's an abundance of things you can replace in your home if you want to stay warm this winter without extra heating, but the question is: do they really need replacing, and do you have the money to do it? If you answered yes for both, then here are some suggestions from us, and from the experts over at PlumbNation (opens in new tab).
1. A warmer duvet
Depending on the tog of your current duvet, a new winter one shouldn't go amiss. Go for something over 10 tog to keep warm as you sleep throughout the low-temperature months.
2. Thermal curtains and blinds
Speaking with PlumbNation, they recommend that “keeping your curtains closed, or investing in a thermal curtain lining can likewise help to prevent warm air from escaping – this trick alone can reduce heat loss by up to 25%". The Deconovo Blackout Thermal Curtains (opens in new tab) from Amazon have almost 50,000 positive reviews if you're looking for a suggestion.
3. Efficient LED bulbs
It might be a given, but switching all of your lights to LED bulbs is also an easy way to save money and energy, and it might sound obvious, but using lamps instead of your main lights won't just save money but it adds ambience too.
4. Draught excluders and blockers
“Using a draught excluder is one of the quickest and cheapest ways to keep your home warm, preventing cold air from entering and warm air from leaving under your doors" we were told by PlumNation, too. If chimney draughts cause you issues, check out the Chimney Sheep from Amazon (opens in new tab) which blocks breezes, but allows ventilation.
5. Rugs and carpet
More expert advice has us looking at buying a new (and stylish) rug for each room of our house. "If you have a carpeted home then it will naturally help to boost insulation; however, if you have hard flooring investing in some good quality materials, such as a plush rug, will help to prevent heat from being lost". Head to Ruggable (opens in new tab) for high-quality rugs that you can wash time after time.
6. Cleaning your radiators
Something as simple as your cleaning routine could also save you heaps on your bills, as explained by the experts. "A buildup of dust can affect your health, allergies and your heating bill. Layers of dust in your radiator can prevent heat from escaping effectively, meaning your radiators will have to work harder to warm your room." See our guide on the best cleaning products to use at home for inspiration.
7. Clothes airers
Invest in a heated clothes airer and stop using your tumble dryer or radiators to do this, say the experts. "We would recommend that you stop using your radiators to dry your clothes. The clothes that you place over the top of your radiators prevent the heat from escaping and heating your room, meaning that your boiler has to pick up the slack and work at a greater rate – increasing costs".
8. Remove or change your radiator covers
This one is unfortunate because we love a radiator cover as much as Mrs Hinch does but it's also recommended "if you have a radiator cover make sure to check that it is a good conductor of heat" yes, go and check right now! "Radiator covers made from materials such as wood are poor conductors and can prevent heat from being dispersed effectively – wasting energy and money. Also, if your radiator cover has a solid top then you may be losing even more heat, as it will be absorbed by the top of the cover".
How can I delay turning my heating on?
We've been speaking with the experts and as well as recommending products to reduce your bills, we've also got things you can do to prevent the need to put your heating on, safely.
Chatting with Jordan Chance, a heating expert from PlumbNation, we discovered several ways to help delay the inevitable and to save a little bit of money this winter.
“Turning on your central heating is notably one of the sure signs that winter has arrived. Although there is no single temperature at which you should turn your heating on, many aim for the time when clocks go back, falling this year on October 30th" says Jordan.
So, if you can, we say to use some of the above products to try and hold off on switching it on until the beginning of November. Though bear in mind that even when it is on, some of the rumours you might hear are false. “It is also important to note that leaving your heating on low all day does not reduce your heating bills!" he claims. "Having the heating on only as and when you need it, is the best way to save energy. Using a thermostat with a timer offers a simple and speedy solution to controlling your heating effectively.”
Another reason to buy a Tado Smart Thermostat (opens in new tab), then! And don't forget that turning your heating down will make a difference. "By turning your heating down by just 1°C, you can save up to 10% on your heating bill. The typical heating range is between 18–21°C… so why don’t you see how low you can go?".
We are tempted to put our heating on when the temperature drops rapidly between August and October, but as temperatures go, it is still relatively mild in the UK until late October. So, we hate to sound like your parents, but put a jumper on before reaching for that thermostat.
If you live in a period home, then see our dedicated guide on 20 ways you can save energy.