It’s time for the annual argument about whether it’s too early to put the heating on. Whether you decide to or not there are several ways you can minimise your energy bills over the coming months. For more tips try the Money Advice Service.
- Turn the thermostat down; even just reducing it by 1°c should reduce your heating bills by around 10% which could save you up to £55 a year.
- Don’t light rooms unless you need to. Simply turning the light off when you leave a room can make a big difference to how much electricity you are using. Similarly, don’t leave electronic appliances on standby; televisions etc. still use a surprising amount of power if they’re not switched off properly.
- If you are going to use a dishwasher, washing machine or tumble dryer make sure they are full when you switch them on. If you only have a small amount of washing up do it by hand rather than in the machine and if you have washing to dry why not hang it out for a while and then finish it off in the tumble dryer? Nothing ever gets properly dry outside in the winter but this should save a fair amount of drying time.
- Don’t fill the kettle unless you’re going to use all the water. It takes a long time to heat a full kettle compared to one cup and that’s all wasted energy.
- Make sure you have adequate insulation; there’s no point heating the house if all that warmth is disappearing through the roof.
- If you go away remember to knock the thermostat down to a minimum temperature that just keeps things from getting too cold. There’s no point heating an empty house.
- Where possible switch to low energy lightbulbs. This simple change could also save around £55 each year and while the bulbs may be more expensive, they will last a lot longer.
- Make sure you’re on the best energy tariff available; this is probably the best way to save money and is surprisingly easy. You’ll need bills going back a few months and a good comparison website to compare rates for your usage.
- If you pay by direct debit and your estimated bill is more than your meter reading you might be best to ‘bank’ that credit for the winter which is often a more expensive time of year rather than claiming any over-payment back or asking for your monthly payment to be reduced.
- Investigate whether you’d be better on a fixed tariff; give your energy supplier and call and see if there is anything they can do to reduce your bills. It is in their interests to help and retain your custom.
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