Colder and darker nights mean your energy bills will likely start rising, so here are our top tips to minimise those increases and save some cash.
British wintertime is here. That means longer nights, barren trees, (even) worse weather and lower temperatures. This, coupled with more time spent indoors, tends to push the price of your energy bills up.
The cost of the average household’s energy bills is £1184 per annum according to OFGEM, so if you could save 10% off your costs, that works out at close to £120 pocketed per year. And remember, this is saving the planet as well as your pennies.
Here are some top tips on things you can do to push those costs down.
The energy market has a variety of provider options for gas and electricity. So the first thing you should do is check whether another provider can save you more money, as you may be paying over the odds with your existing outlet. Utilising price comparison tools like Money Supermarket, uSwitch or Compare the Market can quickly give you an idea if there are savings to be made. Our advice is always to do as much comparing as possible before making a decision - never just use a single site.
Do remember though that there are benefits of going with certain suppliers beyond price, such as extra care and support, or you may personally be interested in a provider’s sustainability policy. There has also been a spate of energy provider closures in recent times, prompting better regulation from OFGEM, so again do as much research as possible before making a decision. That too good to be true price may end up being just that.
Become more efficient
There are many things in your house which can be improved. Going for energy-efficient LED light bulbs not only last longer than traditional tungsten bulbs, but they instantly reduce electricity consumption, according to Real Homes.
Checking the efficiency of your radiator is also a must - if they are colder at the top than the bottom this suggests they need bleeding (which is easy enough to do if you’ve never done so before). A cold-weather staple, the slow cooker, doesn’t just save you time, but it also saves you money compared to cooking in a standard oven. And Smart thermostats are costly to install but could save you money over time.
Turn your thermostat down
If you can have it a little cooler, then do so. It’s a lovely feeling coming home to a toasty house, but dropping that temperature by a couple of degrees can potentially save you a sizeable amount of money.
You can compensate for a slightly chillier room by wearing an extra layer or two, or snuggle up with a ‘downstairs duvet’ in the living room. And remember you don’t need to do this every day, you could still treat yourself once or twice a week to a warmer house. Dropping the temperature 5 days a week will still mean you’ll use less heating 70% of the time.
Use the Warm Home Discount scheme
The Warm Home Discount scheme is a government initiative that offers select people a £140 discount on your winter bill over 2019-2020. If you earn under a certain threshold or are on the Guarantee Credit element of pension credit you could be eligible. Check to see if you are eligible for a saving.
Turn (almost) everything off
Everyone has had a stern telling off from an adult in their time for leaving on TVs, lights or any other appliance. They may have been miserly but they were right. Even leaving things switched on at the mains can drain power, so turning everything off bar essentials like your fridge and/or freezer is the best way to save money.
Also, be wary of Vampire Power. No, you don’t need to have strings of garlic at your door, vampire power is the amount of power leeched by devices when they are in standby mode, or fully charged and connected to a charger. Habitual checks of everything (before you go to sleep and before you leave the house) could lead to a good saving over the winter months.
Keep your doors, and windows, shut
Anyone with the most basic grasp of physics knows that heat quickly moves, and a surefire way for it to leave your house is to have windows open. Your heating system will then need to work harder to restore the drop in temperature, using energy in the process.
The same applies to internal doors for your home, as well as any exposed parts of the house which let out draughts. You can also use curtains to cover windows which can let out heat to keep things warmer.
Use natural heat
Your thermostat temperature isn’t based on the temperature of your radiators or boiler, but instead the entire house. So you can use natural sources of heat such as the sun to warm your house, which means your heating doesn’t have to work as hard - or cost as much - to heat to your optimum temperature.
If you have a south-facing window, make sure the blinds and/or curtains are open as any sun will warm the house during the day, making it easier for your heating to do the rest. Body heat, from humans or pets, can also make a difference, so keep doors closed if there are a few of you in a room.
One extreme way to save on heating bills is to go on holiday. Check our round up on the best value winter city-breaks.
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