Kirsty McLuckie on keeping your home warm during Spring

This week sees the first day of Spring. Officially, the Spring equinox will arrive in the Scottish Central Belt on Wednesday, 20 March, 2024, at 03:06am GMT, if you care to set the alarm to mark it.

One way to do so, for the more frugal-minded among us, may well be leaping out of bed to turn off all household heating until Autumn.

It might feel a bit premature, given the mercury is still struggling to reach double digits this year, but perhaps not by much.

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This year boiler company Boxt is recommending an official day to turn your central heating off – and it is the end of the month.

Image: Adobe StockImage: Adobe Stock
Image: Adobe Stock

Andy Kerr, founder of the company, says: “Although there is no single temperature at which you should turn your heating off, many aim for the time when clocks go forward, which this year falls on the 31st of March.

"While many may be waiting for the temperature to change, there’s no specific temperature at which you should be turning off your heating, as it will depend on how well-insulated your home is.”

I like a challenge but, as a family, we may not be able to resist pressing the boost button when April or May nights get chilly, as they often do.

A gradual decline in the domestic thermostat temperature might be less of a shock to the system, but Andy continues: “It is also important to note that leaving your heating on low all day does not reduce your heating bills. Having the heating on only as and when you need it, is the best way to save energy.”

Any households with vulnerable members should keep their homes warm, and many homeworkers –particularly those sitting at a computer all day – will find a cold house unbearable.

However, there are ways to keep the house cosy with the heating off, while waiting for the weather to turn more Spring-like.

Soft furnishings can make all the difference, and if you have a carpeted home then they will naturally help to boost insulation. But if you have hard flooring, investing in some good-quality materials, such as a plush rug, will help to prevent heat from being lost.

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Similarly, draught-proofing your home is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to retain heat.

Primarily, you need to identify the problem areas where draughts are causing issues – these could include doors, windows, chimneys, and floorboards.

You can block unwanted gaps by using draught-proofing strips around your windows and doors, or flexible silicone-based filler to fill the gaps in your floorboards.

Hanging thermal lined curtains or utilising draught-excluders, such as granny’s old sausage-dog examples, are good ideas too.

It seems that the old Scots adage “Ne’er cast a cloot till May is oot” is just as true for our homes as ourselves.

Another way householders have been keeping energy bills down recently, according to a survey out this week from Uswitch, is by taking a shower rather than a bath, with the data finding that many of us have just stopped scrubbing in the tub altogether, as well as limiting the time we spend in the shower.

The data shows that a third of people with baths have stopped using them due to high energy prices – while a brave one in ten now take cold baths instead.

Hardy Edinburgh folk have the highest instances of bath-dodging, in the nicest possible way, with almost half opting for showers – limited to eight and a half minutes – instead.

As for opting for cold baths only from the 1st of April, only a fool would attempt it.

- Kirsty McLuckie is property editor at The Scotsman.