Save money this winter
Energy prices have risen by more than 6% since last year. Here are some suggestions for you to manage the increase.
Don’t heat the home unless you’re in it
Sounds simple doesn’t it? But in Britain we waste £2.2 billion every year on unnecessary heating, that is, heating our homes when there’s no one in them. Simply by turning off the heating when there’s no one at home could save you as much as 11% off your fuel bill.
Don’t heat rooms you’re not using
Even when it’s cold enough to put the heating on, do you need to heat every room? The downstairs toilet? The spare bedroom? Do you need to heat bedrooms at night when you’re tucked up? If you start to use your heating more strategically, you could start to save money.
Don’t have the heating on constantly to avoid burst pipes
We sometimes overestimate how much we need to heat the house to prevent our water pipes from bursting. Check your boiler to see if it has a frost setting (this will warm the water if it gets too cold) or set the thermostatic valves to the frost setting on the radiators which will warm the room to low temperatures. If you have neither of these, then the next best thing is to put the heating on a very low setting in the night and at the coldest parts of the day. If you set it to 7 degrees Celsius, you should be fine.
Turn it down a degree
Do you really need to have the heating on so high? By simply turning down your thermostat by just 1 degree you could cut your heating bills by up to 10 per cent.
Switch Energy Supplier
It’s now quick and easy to change energy supplier, and you should regularly check back to ensure you’re on the best deal. According to Ofgem, the government’s energy regulator, you could save hundreds of pounds a year by moving to the provider with the cheapest tariff. If you’re worried about the process, you can find a straightforward guide here.
Get rid of those draughts
If you can eliminate heat loss caused by draughts in your home, your boiler will use less energy trying to maintain a certain temperature, saving you money. Draught excluders are cheap and easy to make and could be a great activity to do with your children. At windows, try thick (ideally thermal) curtains to help stop heat escaping.
Get out and about
Not only will moving about keep you warmer and fitter but also save you money because you’ll be able to turn your heating off when you’re not at home! If you look after young children, why not take them to the library or a museum (which are often free) or for a wander around the park? For the more adventurous amongst you, you can find out what activities are on your doorstep here.
Use your appliances wisely
One cycle of a typical dishwasher costs the same in energy and water as heating between four to six washing-up bowls of water, so it’s best to run it full to be most energy efficient. Your washing machine accounts for approx. 7% of your energy bill, so make sure you also run this with a full load. Washing clothes on the shortest and coldest cycle will help and for bad stains, soak beforehand to avoid rewashing them.
If you follow these tips, you could save money, but you should also see if you’re eligible for help with your winter fuel bills.
Cold Weather Payments
If you’re on means tested benefit you might be eligible for a Cold Weather payment. They’re paid when the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below for 7 consecutive days. It’s possible to get £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather until 31 March 2019. You can find out if you’re eligible here.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
If you’re on means tested benefit you may also be eligible for £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2018 to 2019 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. You’ll need to have both gas and electricity from one supplier, and they’ll need to be part of the scheme. Contact your energy supplier to check if you’re eligible or you can find out more here.
Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment is for anyone born on or before 5 November 1953 who has lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 17 to 23 September 2018 (this is called the ‘qualifying week’). You could receive between £100 and £300 and if you are eligible you will receive this payment automatically. Find out more here.