Winter is upon us again and temperatures have dropped leaving a chill in the bones! In this infographic guide we take a look at the ways to make sure you keep cosy so you can enjoy the upcoming festive activities. Visit our home heating oil page for more information on the services Jones Oil offer.
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Home energy audits are a useful way to save money this winter. The audit determines sources of energy loss within a home. When energy use is inefficient, the losses lead to higher utility bills. The audit therefore saves homeowners money as they learn where and how to rectify the issues.
The Audit Procedure
The audit is routinely composed of checking for leaks and inspecting furnaces, ductwork, and installation around the home. Hire a professional energy auditor or owners can choose to do the checkout themselves.
Professional Energy Audit
Professional energy technicians usually begin by examining each room of the home as well as past utility bills. Tests the auditor uses are the blower door test and thermographic scan. Auditors detect air leaks using specialized thermography tools. The instruments are infrared scanners that record the temperature of the home structure to determine if more insulation is necessary. Thermographic scans are either internal or external. Internal scans are more common as temperature differences are often easier to detect.
The blower door test often accompanies the thermographic scan. Air leaks amplify using the test. The combination of equipment detects any issues in thermal envelopes.
Homeowners can create optimal conditions for the audit by moving items away from furnaces and increasing temperature differences between indoor and external temperatures. In the summer, turn on the air conditioning.
Do-It-Yourself Energy Assessments
1. Homeowners can also do energy assessments themselves. Begin with a walk-through of the house to determine any heat losses. Write down any places air escapes within the house. The air leaks may range from 5% to 30%, which is costly during high-energy consumption months such as winter.
2. Seal detected air leaks by plugging and calking the pipes, faucets, wires, and electrical outlets. Check for leaks in windows and doors.
3. Check insulation levels of ceilings and walls to ensure they meet at least the minimum standards. Ensure insulation covers the attic floor and there are vents. Testing walls for insulation levels is a difficult process that involves during off circuit breakers and probing walls with wiring after removing appropriate outlets. Professional thermographic inspections are often easier and more effective way to test wall insulation levels. Homeowners can hire a professional energy auditor or carry out the procedure themselves. Determine areas of air loss and rectify problems to save money this winter.
The prospect of yet another cold-snap in Ireland is enough to make anyone shiver. However, a particular thought should be spared for elderly relatives who are far more susceptible to the cold weather than younger people. Statistics from the National Health Service suggest that around 30,000 people die of illnesses related to cold weather every year. While it isn’t always possible to check on an elderly relative every day, there are a number of precautions that can be taken to greatly lessen the risk they face.
Mane people will turn their heating off for long spells in an attempt to save money. However, this is often counter-productive as it can be far more expensive to heat a cold house than to maintain it at a constant temperature. Elderly relatives should be shown how to use relatively complicated electronic thermostat systems so that the temperature within the home is regulated at around 21°C. If this is not possible, the thermostat should be programmed and checked every time a relative or friend visits.
Staying warm while in bed or during long periods of inactivity is vital. There are a number of ways to achieve this, including the use of an electric blanket or a hot water bottle. Electric blankets should be checked for faults every year by a portable appliance testing expert. It is also important not to allow the use an electric blanket and a hot water bottle at the same time. Hats and gloves should be accessible in case temperatures drop quickly, particularly through the night. It is also advisable to wear several layers of clothing instead of just one thick layer.
The possibility of an elderly person having an accident or becoming ill during cold spells is very significant. Regular contact should be made to check on their welfare. It is a good idea to acquire the telephone numbers of neighbours and friends, just in case contact cannot be made for some reason. If a nearby friend can physically check on their welfare at regular intervals, that may deliver a little peace of mind.
Staying active is a great way to stay warm as it keeps the blood circulating. Ideally, people should be getting up and walking around the house once every hour. Where this is not possible, a social worker or health professional may be able to give advice on exercises that can be undertaken when in a seated position. The severe winters that have swept over Ireland during recent years have caused a great deal of distress; however, a few changes in lifestyle can make a big difference.
Getting children back to school is probably the most hectic time of the year, especially if there is more than one child at home. With the recent economic recession adding to the financial woes of households, parents are adopting several shopping patterns to minimise the costs on getting children back to school. Usage of coupons, shopping at sales or discount shops, opting for generic instead of branded items are a few trends that are getting popular. Let’s look at some tips on saving money on school supplies this year.
Set a Budget
Based on affordability, it is important to plan in advance for school expenses, allowing of course some room for seasonal price variation and inflation.
It is wise to pen down all supplies that are a required to kick start a new academic year. One can either start with a standard list provided by the school or prepare a list after speaking to the children on their requirements. One can also highlight the importance of simply sticking to the essentials to start off the year and subsequently filling in on other supplies during the course of the year.
Separate the ‘must haves’ from the ‘good to haves’, basically the needs from the wants. Refine the list to exclude or defer a few items from the original list.
Take Stock of Supplies
Once the essential requirements have been identified, it is now time for parents and children to scour the home for some of these items that may have already been purchased earlier and can now be (re)used. Most families miss out on stock taking, spending a lot of money on buying supplies they already own.
Shopping for uniform, stationery and books can be an exhaustive task, especially if one has to visit many shops to complete the purchase. Timing the shopping is necessary to beat the crowds and to also grab a copy of the books before the shops run out of stock. Avoid cramming the entire shopping experience in one single outing; it is bound to be tiring, and one may miss a few items on the list as well.
Shop for Discounts
It is ideal to wait and avail discounts, be it shopping for books or clothes. Used text books in good condition too are a great way to save some money.
Don’t Compromise on Quality
While sticking to the planned budget is an absolute must, not all quality products are cheap. Do make an exception while opting for electronic gadgets or backpacks. Durability of goods saves a lot on repair and maintenance in the long run.
Energy Saving and Home Heating
College students can team up with their roommates to purchase energy saving heaters, coolers or refrigerators and share the costs, while enjoying the benefits of the appliances.
College-goers and senior school students can opt to rent text books for each year of their course and then return them in good condition. The practice is particularly helpful as long as the syllabus for the year has not undergone any changes from the previous year.
Shopping online has its own advantages, as purchases can be made right from the comforts of one’s home. Time and effort spent on transport and discount hunting can be used to browse offers at the online sites, compare prices and shop for the best deals. Children need not tag along with their parents to crowded outlets to shop for school supplies. Most online shops also ship orders for free.
Bulk shopping and opting for second hand goods also help save considerably on school supplies.