Cash ad­vice

Wor­ried about fuel bills this win­ter? You’re not alone. Re­search from Com­pare The Mar­ket found that the av­er­age en­ergy bill rose by more than £240 last year. The an­nual house­hold av­er­age is now a whop­ping £1,625, but there are still ways to make big savin

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1 SMART KNOWL­EDGE Do you know how much it costs to heat your home? Smart me­ters show you the amount of en­ergy you’re us­ing in real time, and how much gas and elec­tric­ity you’re get­ting through in pounds and pence. They’re free, and be­ing of­fered to more than 26 mil­lion homes as part of the Gov­ern­ment’s plan for ev­ery home to have one by 2020. Ask your sup­plier if they’re avail­able in your area.

2 TURN IT DOWN The rec­om­mended tem­per­a­ture for the house is 18-21°C, but mil­lions of us turn the dial up much higher when it gets cold ( be­fore putting an ex­tra jumper on!). You’d be sur­prised at how much you’ll save by turn­ing it down just one de­gree.

3 TIME TO SWITCH? It’s al­ways a good time to check if you can get a bet­ter deal. You don’t have to change your pipework or wiring – just switch to a dif­fer­ent billing com­pany. The best deals are usu­ally on­line tar­iffs. Use com­par­i­son sites like uswitch.com or money­su­per­mar­ket. com. Your old and new sup­pli­ers will be told and there’ll be no in­ter­rup­tion in your en­ergy sup­ply. Plus, there’s a two-week cool­ing-off pe­riod in case you change your mind.

4 FUR­NI­TURE FI­NESSE Mov­ing fur­ni­ture away from ra­di­a­tors will help warm air to cir­cu­late more ef­fi­ciently. It might sound ob­vi­ous but, ac­cord­ing to the En­ergy Sav­ing Trust, 42 per cent of us have one or more ra­di­a­tors blocked by fur­ni­ture.

5 INSULATE YOUR HOME The av­er­age home loses 25 per cent of its heat through the roof. Many homes don’t have enough in­su­la­tion in the loft or cav­ity walls. It can be costly, but adding more in­su­la­tion could save hun­dreds off your heat­ing bills. Grants are avail­able in some ar­eas – visit gov.uk/en­ergy-grantscal­cu­la­tor.

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