With bitterly cold temperatures in place across much of the UK, and the Met Office warning of an arctic airmass brining more chills and potentially snow with them, we looked at one cost efficient way of staying warm this winter.

The Sanitas Heated Underblanket, available at Lidl for just £19.99, proved a hit when it came to keeping beds warm in the cold evenings.

The blanket costs just 2p per hour to run and can be tucked under your covers before you go to bed to ensure a toasty welcome when bed time comes.

While it is possible to leave the blanket on throughout the night for just 21p, we found that turning the blanket on two or three hours before bed was more than enough time to scare away the winter chills.

South Wales Argus: The heated underblanket available at Lidl costs just 2p per hour to runThe heated underblanket available at Lidl costs just 2p per hour to run (Image: Lidl)

But if you don't want to fork out on a heated blanket, how else could you save money and stay warm this winter?

Should I leave the heating on all day?

Addressing the belief that it is more cost efficient to leave your heating on all day than turning it on when you need it, Stephen Hankinson, energy efficiency expert at Electric Radiators Direct, said: “Firing up your boiler and the initial stage of heating your home is the most energy-intense, and costly, period of the process. That has led some to speculate whether doing away with this and keeping the heating on all day – at lower temperatures – can reduce this cost.

“But – and there are a good few buts – it’s not recommended.

“Having your heating set to a low temperature – say 14o-16o – means it is not set to a level that you are likely to be comfortable in, so you’ll be turning it up at some point and spending more money.

“Plus having your heating on when you're not in the home is a complete waste of money. You don’t put the oven on when you’re not cooking food, so why would you turn on the appliance designed to keep you warm when you’re not there?”

He also looked at four other ways you could save money on your energy bills this winter.

How to save money on energy bills

Turn your thermostat down

Stephen explained the easiest way to cut money off your bill is to turn your thermostat down.

He said: “If your thermostat is attempting to reach a temperature of 22-23o each day, you’re unlikely to notice the effect of dropping it a degree or two. In the coldest depths of winter, it may not even be possible for temperatures to get that high if your home has large, airy rooms.

“You’ll save more for each degree you can withstand taking it down by. Going by the latest average usage figures, dropping from 21o to 18o could save over £300 a year.”

Never heat empty rooms

“In a home with central heating, this is very easy to overlook if you have rooms that are not used regularly, as switching the heating on will activate every radiator around the house,” Stephen explained.

He added: “Turning radiator valves down will stop them from producing heat – and this can lower your bill if you live in an older property with an older boiler. But for newer homes and systems, this is counterproductive as the inefficiencies it causes in the system can actually increase your bill.

“In these cases, you’re better off trying to make your system more efficient by reducing the flow temperature of your boiler – but this is a tricky balance to strike as going too low can cause big problems for your boiler.”

Schedule your heating

Stephen said: ““Those who don’t work from home at all during the week should pay close attention to this one as there will be large parts of the day where you simply do not need the heating on.

“An hour or so in the morning, starting shortly before you typically wake up, should have you in comfort as you go about getting ready for the day. And keeping the heating off while you’re out for the day means you can set it to have the house nice and warm for you when you get back.

“Similarly, if you’re going away for an evening or a few days, make sure to change your thermostat to reflect this and ensure you’re not wasting money.”

Heat the person, not the space

This isn’t as simple as sticking a jumper on, Stephen said. Instead, he recommends that rather than reaching for the thermostat when you start feeling chilly, you can instead reach for a hot water bottle.

Boiling the kettle for a hot water bottle will cost around 6p, and be significantly cheaper than turning up the heating.

Stephen added: “If temperatures have really plummeted, or you just want more of a technological option, then a heated blanket is also great. If you spend three hours of an evening relaxed under one, the electricity will set you back about 9p even at full blast.”