Dim down your en­ergy bills

Harefield Gazette - - PROPERTY -

TJG1ST

A

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.

BET­TER

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.”

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