British Gas has teamed up with NetMums to provide hints and tips to help parents run their homes more easily and energy efficiently. They are celebrating the launch of the new site and their joint venture with a competition to win Vue family cinema tickets, courtesy of British Gas and they have  50 family tickets to give away, click here for your chance to get hold of one! Meanwhile, here are my top tips for energy saving if you live with teenagers!

I live in a draughty 350 year old house – with teenagers. I’m sure you have seen teenagers even if you aren’t lucky enough to share your home with one; T-shirt in Winter, jumper and a woolly hat in the high heat of summer? Somewhere between the age of 11 and 12½ they stop listening to their parents. If you look at them (first mistake, don’t make eye contact) and suggest that as it is January they might want to wear socks around the house or possibly pull on a nice warm sweater they shrug a bit; proffer a coat for their long walk to school in the rain and they make it clear that they think you have gone senile.

Trying to budget in the face of this indifference to Mr Bill and his frequent visits to my inbox means that I have come up with a set of guidelines which I frequently have to reinforce; no amount of insulating will help in the face of a window opening teen.

Here, dear readers, are my top tips for keeping warm, saving energy and staying sane. They can also be applied to people who live in well insulated new houses who have the radiators turned so high that they are wandering around in a vest IN WINTER.

  • If your room is so hot that you are removing clothing and opening the windows to cool off (looking at YOU teen 2), turn the radiator DOWN, close the window and OPEN your bedroom door instead thus sharing your excess heat with the rest of us. This has the added bonus that it airs your room and enables some sociable family interaction. You won’t die.
  • If you are cold, put a jumper on. And some socks. Move about a bit. Step away from the computer, run up and downstairs, have a hot drink, HELP ME WITH THE HOUSEWORK!
  • When you are cooking, put the lid on the pan. It’s a simple trick which reduces the amount of time your ever rumbling tummy will have to wait for your noodles/baked beans/soup, plus it saves energy and therefore costs me less meaning I can afford to buy more noodles/beans/soup. Win Win.
  • If you are only making one cup of tea only put enough water in for one cup, you don’t need a full kettle; saves energy = saves money = more tea bags. Do, however, check whether anyone else would also like a nice warming cuppa so that thirsty people aren’t left with a quarter cup or having to reboil. Thank you.

My top tip for parents is don’t teach your child how to use the thermostat until they are actually leaving home and need the information for their own bill paying. If they know where it is and what it does THEY WILL TURN IT UP WHEN YOU ARE NOT LOOKING AND THEY WILL TAKE THEIR JUMPERS AND SOCKS OFF.

If you need more tips the NetMums British Gas site is full of advice on the best ways to save energy and keep your home warmer this winter – it has all the practical stuff like how to bleed a radiator and how to check your boiler; stuff I really, really wish I had known last week when our heating system had a bit of a turn just as Mr TS had swanned off for a day’s sailing. How was I to know that all that was needed was a new battery in the timer?! Still, a day spent on the sofa watching movies, under a blanket with my smallest boy with the woodburner well stoked wasn’t too much of a hardship 😉

Whether it’s your first pregnancy and you’re worrying how to keep that bundle of joy nice and warm, or you are living with teens like me, we all need a helping hand so do pop over and check out the NetMums British Gas site.

Netmums British Gas

What is your top energy saving tip as we hunker down for Winter?

This is a sponsored post. All the words, especially the shouty bits, are mine.

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