Dim down your energy bills
STHE nights draw in and the autumn weather really starts to bite, many of us are spending more time indoors, huddling up on the sofa in front of all those must-see Saturday night TV programmes, with the heating turned up full-blast.
Sadly though, this doesn’t do much to prevent the cold sweat that inevitably breaks out when we open our next energy bill.
Thankfully, a few simple changes could save significant sums of money and help you take more control of your bills.
So, before you reach for the heating switch, here are some tips to help shave your bills in the coming months.
Many suppliers offer a discount for paying by direct debit. Paying this way can work out about £100 a year less than paying by cheque, for example.
You may also get a discount for receiving your bills online.
Shopping around for a different energy supplier could save you up to £200 and there are lots of comparison websites that can help. Ofgem has recently urged consumers to add energy shopping to their ‘winter ritual’.
It may also be worth getting in touch with your existing supplier to discuss other options.
If you’ve switched suppliers or are considering doing so, make sure you haven’t left any unclaimed credit behind on your old account.
If you use heating oil, you may find it more difficult to shop around.You might want to consider setting up a local oil buying club, which could give you the collective buying power to negotiate a better deal from suppliers by buying in bulk and getting deliveries at the same time.Websites like Oilsave (www.oilsave.org.uk) can help you to find out about local suppliers.
There are various schemes available to help people with their winter bills, and Citizens Advice could help if you aren’t sure whether you may be entitled to more money.
The Home Heat Helpline can also give information on grants, benefits and payment schemes. Call 0800 336 699.
Research suggests that properly insulating your home, including filling cavity walls, topping up loft insulation, upgrading a boiler and having double glazing, could save a household up to £320 on their annual energy bills.
You may be able to get insulation for free as suppliers are working with the government to make homes cheaper to run.
The Energy Saving Trust (energysavingtrust.org.uk) has information about the help that energy suppliers can give.
As this appliance tends to be constantly switched on, it could be worth investing in a newer and more efficient model.
If you can’t afford a replacement, make sure your fridge is running as efficiently as possible, by checking the
Changing a few habits around the house could bring financial rewards. Most importantly, if you’re not using an appliance, switch it off.
Rather shockingly, TVs and games consoles that are left on permanent standby are estimated to cost a household up to £80 a year.You could consider using a ‘standby saver’ device, which will allow you to turn off your appliance without having to reach for the plug.
Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows.And turning off lights when you leave a room could save about £7 a year. Every little helps.
According to the charity Business in the Community, turning your thermostat down by one degree could save about £75, while reducing your shower time could shave £20 off your energy bills over the year.
Only boiling as much water
Be smart and take a modern approach with a therM thermostat and hub. systems enable you to control your heating and hot water from your smartphone or tablet via an app. If you can do basic wiring, you can fit therM yourself (an internet router is also required). Instead of leaving the heating on when you go out on a cold day, you can turn it on using your smartphone when you’re on your way home
You can save money by turning down your thermostat and adjusting the length of time you have your heating on
back is ventilated and dust-free, and that the door seal is undamaged.
Keep it away from heat sources, such as direct sunlight or your oven or boiler.
as you need in the kettle and only switching the washing machine on when you’ve got a full load of clothing are other small steps that could help to make significant savings in the long run.
Updating to an A-rated condensing boiler, such as a Worcester Greenstar (pictured), could make your heating system up to 90 per cent efficient, according to Martyn Bridges of boiler manufacturer Worcester, Bosch Group.
“A survey indicated that a central heating system with a full set of controls and thermostatic radiator valves could save up to 40 per cent compared to an uncontrolled system.”