Electricity, water and heating

10 home energy-saving tips for winter

You don't need to sit in the cold to save energy.

How can you save on energy and heating costs without having to freeze or sit in the dark? Our energy-saving tips for heating, ventilation and lighting will help you reduce gas and electricity consumption in your home considerably.

As the temperatures drop, energy costs rise. What’s more, renters and home owners have been facing higher costs due to the CO2 tax introduced on 1st January 2014.

But if you heat your home correctly, you can keep warm, help the climate – and save money to boot. This doesn't require an expensive overhaul of your heating system, "just" a slight change in habits. You will thank yourself when you see your next heating bill.

1. Check your windows and external doors

Even a small air leak can quickly cool your home down. Check that windows and doors are tightly sealed, ideally while the wind is blowing. If you feel a draught anywhere, you should seal the gaps as soon as you can. 

2. Service your heating system

You should get your heating system serviced by a professional before winter. The boiler should be cleaned, the burner properly adjusted and the pump setting checked. 

Set the thermostat correctly: When setting the thermostat, consider whether you could turn it down by one degree and still be comfortable, or set the heating to come on half an hour later.

3. Maintain an ideal room temperature

If you don't heat your home properly, you will waste energy. Ensure rooms are constantly heated to a minimum level and that the room temperature never drops below this. Otherwise, if the rooms become too cold, the walls and furniture cool down too. Then the air temperature will only get warmer when the walls and furniture have warmed up again. This wastes energy and money.
The ideal room temperature lies between 18 and 22 degrees. You can save 6% on your heating bill for each degree you lower your thermostat. 

4. Leave space around radiators

If there is furniture blocking the radiator, warm air is not able to circulate freely in the room.  You should therefore never place furniture, particularly sofas, directly in front of the radiator. 

5. Bleed radiators regularly

Gurgling radiators guzzle energy, since air in the pipes prevents the water – which is what carries the heat energy – from circulating properly. It is very easy to bleed radiators and this straightforward step will help your radiators to warm up faster. 

6. Ventilate rooms properly

Ventilate in short bursts to ensure rooms are well-ventilated. It is better to leave windows wide open for five minutes than to leave them ajar or tilted open for longer periods, as this cools down the room without effectively exchanging the air. 

7. Ventilate at least once per day

How often should a room be ventilated? Regularly – at least once daily – to prevent mould building up on the ceiling and walls. Stop draughts by using draught excluders at the base of doors between warm and cold rooms. 

8. Energy-saving light bulbs

In winter, not only is the heating working overtime, but the lights are on so much longer at this dark time of the year.

An example savings calculation: Swap a 75-watt bulb for an 11-watt energy-saving bulb and save 64 watts. If you calculate two hours every day for 365 days, this amounts to 46,720 watt-hours. This is equal to 46.72 kilowatt-hours. At a price per kilowatt-hour of 20 centimes, that is a saving of 9.34 francs per year and bulb. 

9. Switch off lights

Sounds obvious, but is seldom put into practice: turn off the light when leaving a room. Use accent lighting: illuminate only those parts of a room where light is needed instead of flooding the entire room with light from the ceiling.  

10. Use a kettle for making tea

Boil water in the kettle for your hot cup of tea instead of heating water on the stove. It’s much faster and uses less electricity.