If you want to cut the cost of your heating bill this winter then you’ll want to keep reading, because we’ve got eight tips to help you heat your home for less.
Whether you’re a summer sun worshipper or you long for cosy winter evenings by the fire, we can all agree the sudden hike in our energy bills that come with the drop in temperatures don’t give us a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
But don’t despair. By following our top eight tricks you could soon start saving some all-important pennies and pounds when it comes to heating your house.
1. Keep on top of meter readings
It’s one of those jobs that no one is enthusiastic about, especially if your gas meter is outside and it’s freezing! But, think of it like this, would you let the cashier at Tesco guess how much the shopping in your trolley’s worth? Absolutely not. And the same goes for your energy consumption.
Although it’s a bit of a minefield, most people (without a smart meter) pay energy bills based on estimates from their supplier, so by taking your readings regularly and passing them to your provider, you can ensure you only pay for what you use.
2. Smart meter
Better still, get a smart meter. Since 2016, energy providers have been installing smart meters free of charge thanks to the government’s ‘smart grid’ programme, which plans to make energy usage more efficient and affordable. The aim is that every home will have one by 2020.
The benefits of smart meters are two-fold:
- Firstly, they measure your exact gas and electricity usage and send it straight to your supplier, meaning you only pay for what you use, as well as giving you one less job to do.
- Secondly, they help you to track and identify what it is that you’re spending the most money on, allowing you to make simple changes and save money on your bills.
If you’re interested, contact your energy provider today to organise getting one fitted.
3. Switch supplier
If you haven’t switched energy supplier recently, there’s a good chance you’re paying more than you need to be, and this is because a typical fixed energy deal lasts for three years or less. Once it expires, your tariff will be moved to a standard or default tariff which probably isn’t the cheapest deal.
According to the energy regulator, approximately 58% of UK homes are on a standard or default tariff. By moving from these tariffs with one of the big six providers to the cheapest deal available elsewhere, research shows you could save up to £300 a year.
4. Use your thermostat effectively
According to the Energy Saving Trust, you could save up £75 a year by turning your thermostat down by just one degree.
Better yet, installing a room thermostat, thermostatic radiator valves and a programmer (sounds complicated but any good plumber would be able to help with this) and using them effectively could save you double this.
These kind of heating controls would give you the power to turn your heating and hot water on and off to suit your needs, only heat the rooms you need, and vary the temperature in different rooms of your house.
5. Trapping the warmth and home insulation
Every little helps, and it’s estimated that by stopping the heat escaping from your house where possible, you could save around £20 a year.
Areas to look at include windows, doors, chimneys and fireplaces, floorboard and skirting, and attics. Draught proofing strips, draught excluders and silicone-based fillers are all great options for trapping in the heat, and are readily available from hardware stores and online.
This one’s totally dependent on your personal circumstances and isn’t an option for everyone. But, if you’ve got roughly £3-5,000 to spend on a new boiler, you could save up to £200 a year on your heating bills.
Roughly half of what you spend on energy each year goes to heating your home, and that’s why replacing a boiler that’s seen better days with a newer, more efficient boiler could make such a big difference to your bill.
- Use your existing boiler more efficiently
If replacing your boiler isn’t an option for you right now, you can still make sure your existing boiler is in the best possible shape by keeping on top of servicing, and making sure all your radiators are working as they should be.
Ensuring everything’s running as efficiently as possible will mean you’re only paying what you need to be on heating.
7. Government schemes
- Winter fuel allowance
This is a one-off payment of between £100 and £300 made during the winter months to help with the cost of heating.
It’s available to all households with someone over Pension Credit Age. In 2018/19 most people born on or before 5 November 1953 will qualify for the allowance, and the amount you receive will depend on personal circumstances.
- Cold weather payments
These are one-off payments to help with the cost of heating when it’s very cold. Every time the temperature drops below a certain number for a set period of time you receive a payment.
To be eligible you must already receive at least one of the following:
- Universal credit
- Pension credit
- Income-based jobseekers’ allowance
- Income support
- Income-related employment and support allowance.
- Warm home discount scheme
If you’re on a low income or already getting the guarantee credit part of pension credit, you might be able to get £140 off your electricity bill under this scheme.
Not all energy suppliers are part of this scheme and it’s up to the supplier to decide who gets the discount. To find out if your provider’s involved, if you’re eligible and how to apply, contact your supplier.
8. Wrap up
As annoying as it is to be told to put on a jumper when you’re feeling cold at home, it could really help you to save those extra pennies over the winter months.
As mentioned, a drop in temperature as small as one percent on your thermometer could save you £75 a year. So, before you decide to turn the dial up when you’re feeling the nip, consider whether adding another layer could make you just as comfortable.
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By Bryony Pearce