As this winter draws nearer and the heating gets turned back on after what feels like a century, you may be wondering how to keep control of your energy bills without scrimping on your creature comforts. Here are some simple practical tips for actions you can take to cut your bills for this winter and beyond.
You can almost certainly save money just by switching energy supplier, and there are plenty of comparison sites out there to help you find the best deal. Consider dual gas-electricity tariffs and pay by direct debit, as that can also bring the costs down. You can also check with your current supplier that you’re on the cheapest tariff, as they’re legally obliged to switch you and to make it easy to switch if you find a better deal elsewhere.
Be Thermostat Savvy
You can save as much as £90 a year on your heating bills simply by turning the thermostat down by one degree. It won’t make any difference to your comfort, but being a little more disciplined about the way you heat your home can lead to significant savings and cut your domestic carbon footprint. If you don’t have them, install a room thermostat, programmer and thermostatic radiator valves and you could save up to £165 a year. If you really want to get thermostat savvy, opt for smart controls that you can use from an app on your smartphone.
Upgrade Your Boiler
If your boiler is over ten years old and has a low energy rating, consider a boiler replacement. A new boiler such as an A-rated condensing boiler can save you up to £350 a year. Boiler replacement may involve bigger up-front costs, but the energy savings are worth it in the long run. And a new boiler will improve the energy-efficiency of your home, which will be reflected in your EPC if you ever sell. If you’re eligible for the government’s ECO scheme, some or all of the costs of your new boiler will be covered, so it’s worth checking if you qualify.
Go on a Draught Hunt
Seal off all the draughts in your home – especially keyholes, gaps in doors and letterboxes and window frames. Do it yourself and you’ll save £35 to £45 a year on your energy costs. While you’re about it, make sure you have adequate loft installation and find out whether your walls have cavity wall insulation. In many areas this can be done for free and affects not just your energy costs but your home’s EPC too.
Block Off Your Chimney
If you have a chimney that’s not in use, consider blocking it up. You’ll recoup up to 4% of your household’s lost heat, and any chimney sweep should be able to advise you on the most effective way to do it – just make sure you tell Santa!