General ramblings

Gadgets and Gizmos for Staying Warm

March 25, 2014

As well as the more conventional jumpers and blankets, there are, somewhat inevitably, gadgets that you can use to make your heating more efficient. And save you some cash.

Here goes:

  • Radiator booster things-you can get all kinds of things to go on top of your radiators that help to spread the heat from the radiator around the room/house
A Radfan. Which sounds pretty Rad. And claims it could save you up to £100 a year.

A Radfan. Which sounds pretty Rad. And claims it could save you up to £100 a year.

A Radiator Booster Fan

A Radiator Booster Fan

A cheaper alternative, is a good old-fashioned shelf!

  • Radiator Reflector Panels-you place them behind your radiator and the idea is that they help to reflect the heat back into the room, rather than letting it escape throughout the walls. Apparently (and understandably) these are of most use on radiators on external walls, and in houses without any kind of wall insulation. I am told that the DIY approach is to cover cardboard sheets in good old tin foil, and stick these on-anyone tried this?
  • If you’ve got a log burner, then one of these fans helps to distribute the heat
    Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 14.34.20
  • I am reliably informed by those more technically minded than me, that you can now gets Apps that allow you to control your heating remotely-so if you are going to be late, you can delay the time your heating comes on, and save a few pennies. Here is one from British Gas, that I found with a quick bit of Googling, and this one can connect to the UK weather reports to help optimise your heating!
  • Chop-clocs-automatically turn off your heating for a short period every hour, so that it reduces your heating bills without you noticing any change in the temperature-we have whole post on these beauties to come!
  • I have to confess to having little or no interest in the world of thermostats, BUT Eddy, our B&Q energy advisor did comment on the particularly rubbish location of ours (in the hall, just outside the kitchen). He started to tell me all about wireless thermostats, which you can place in your main living area. I did glaze over a little at this point, but they do exist, and they could help to save you some money

Anyone got any experience of using any of these? Or got anything to add to the list?

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  • Reply Magan April 3, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Just kind on “on-line” with the wonderbag idea (LOL). I saw this some time ago and I thought it was a really interesting idea.

    http://www.permaculture.co.uk/videos/heat-your-room-8-pence-day

    on the other side. I am thinking of getting one of those machines that somehow read what you are actually spending so they make more aware of how much heating you use, the thing is that after looking for something like that, I haven’t found it yet, have you found one of those “smart readers” ?

    • Reply Jen April 3, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      I’ve seen the tea light/flower pot thing before but never tried it-looks interesting though!
      We got a smart meter from the library, but it has not been that great. Since getting it I have learned that the ones like we had, that clip around the ‘power in’ lead in your electricity box are not very accurate and quiet unreliable. I think you can get better models that either work remotely, or get wired in to your system. In todays blog post (http://mymakedoandmendyear.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/q-i/) , I use a monitor that allows you to plug in individual appliances and see how much energy they are using-it’s been really interesting!

  • Reply Libs March 26, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    yeep! We are having a wireless thermostat fitted this very day. (along with a fancy pants new energy efficient combi boiler) My husband and plumber grabbed me just as I was running out the door this morning to ask if I thought it was worth an extra £140 on top of the cost of the boiler. Having just read about them somewhere else (Who knows where) I was like Hell yeah!

    First time I’ve ever been so definite about an electrical/ plumbing decision but compared with the cost of the boiler £140 sounds like peanuts and if it saves us money on the gas bill…

    Apparently our new boiler is estimated to reduce our gas use by about 20% but with the wireless thermostat it will be nearer 30%. And it does all this fancy stuff when we are on holiday and things.

    ??! I appear to be getting a bit overexcited about a piece of plumbing kit! but best leave work and run home to play with it.

    • Reply Jen March 27, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      I always mildly disconcerting to get so excited about plumbing and the like-makes me smile to think how things have changed from my wild student days!

  • Reply lizlovingandlearning March 25, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    9 hours to go on this one. (I have no connection to the seller!) Watch out for height depending on your stove surround.
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/le-creuset-kettle-/331158179220?pt=UK_Homes_Garden_Kitchen_Kettles&hash=item4d1a90cd94

    • Reply Jen March 27, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      Thankyou!

  • Reply Kate Harrison March 25, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    We are burning some very dense wood tonight and the room is very warm.

    • Reply Jen March 25, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      LOVE our log burner 🙂

  • Reply Kate Harrison March 25, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Have always has a gas hob as we used to get a lot of power cuts here. So we can always make a brew and a meal. Came in handy as our elderly neighbours only had electricity. Might try a kettle on the wood burner.

    • Reply Jen March 25, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      I was just thinking the same! Need to track down a suitable kettle first though…

  • Reply lizlovingandlearning March 25, 2014 at 9:30 am

    I’d definitely choose a shelf over that first gizmo but how high to put them has often caused discussion in our household. Perhaps worth putting foil under it because the wood always seems to get very hot whatever the height.
    We’ve tried foil behind radiators in the past and also the fancy reflective sheets you can buy. We had no way of measuring if it was working but it made us feel we were doing something.
    I’d heard of these fans for woodburners but not followed up. Saw this here and thought maybe I should give it a go. But sadly at £113 not just now. Maybe it would save us a lot but that’s too much of a risk of money for the time being. We do have a kettle which sits on the woodburner and if we’re organised enough gives us evening hot drinks and hot water bottles.
    The stove has also been a real boon when we’ve had powercuts. I keep meaning to get a small metal box to use inside it for eg baked potatoes – they worked with foil but it was messy. I once woke up to a powercut and had to get the fire lit and going strong enough to boil the kettle before the morning coffee – over half an hour if I remember right – fair made me stop taking electricity for granted!!

    • Reply Jen March 25, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      We LOVE our log burner. As you say, power cuts definitely make you realise how much we all rely on electricity…

  • Reply Claire Holgate March 25, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Hi Jen, we have a wireless thermostat – it’s quite brilliant 🙂 We usually keep it in the living part of the house which means once that part has got to the right temp then it stays there (and in my experience, the rest of the house stays colder – we live in a bungalow if that’s relevant).
    The best bit about this new fangled thermostat is that we can set the timer for different temps during the day, & it’s on a 7day cycle so we can have diff temps for diff days too. There’s a boost button to keep it on longer into the evening if you need it, plus all sorts of other settings – e.g. frost proof-for-when-you’re-on-holiday mode etc. Probably a gazillion other options that I’ve never worked out how to use. All in all, it’s highly recommended! 🙂
    Claire x
    PS – ours is a Honeywell CM927 if anyone wants to google it…..

    • Reply Jen March 25, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      Brillo, thanks so much Claire. Might get hubby to do some investigating!

  • Reply Chris March 25, 2014 at 7:45 am

    We have thermostat if radiator valves. They allow you to control every rad separately so the lounge is set at 20C the bedrooms at about15 C and rooms we are not using are on the frost proof setting.we have had them a long time and they save use a lot of money.

    • Reply Jen March 25, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      That’s great to know, thankyou Chris 🙂

  • Reply Vivienne Downes March 25, 2014 at 7:21 am

    Electric blankets are now Intelligent & can be safely used all night if necessary they use very little power. Also there are electric throws that means you can turn the heating off once you have settled down for the night watching TV as well ! They are chocolate coloured fleece … mmmm wonder why ?

    • Reply Jen March 25, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      Intelligent electric blankets?! How fab! I am sure chocolate has heat retaining properties…!

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