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How to reduce your energy bill this winter

16 June 2021

During the cold months, it can be tempting to stay indoors and crank the heating. And while that can keep you cosy, you may still feel a chill when the energy bill comes.

But staying warm doesn’t necessarily have to mean burning through money. By following a few simple steps, you can reduce your energy bill while still staying cosy.

Know your home heat-sappers

While every home is different, there are a few common ways that heat can quickly escape. You can search for tell-tale signs of heat leakage around the home, including:

  • Access doors
    • As heat naturally rises, it’s a good idea to check any access doors to the attic or roof for gaps or broken seals. Even if your roof is insulated, these sneaky access points to the cold outdoors can create a chimney-like draught effect if left unattended.
  • Doorframes
    • Can you see a sliver of light through your doorframe? If so, your doors could be leaking heat even without even being open. Try adjusting the screws along the sides of your door until you can’t see daylight. You can also check the weatherstripping around your doors and replace them if they’re looking worn. A quick fix like a ‘door snake’ for the bottom frame is another economical way to trap heat.
  • Windows
    • Up to 40% of your valuable winter warmth can be lost through your windows alone. Remove and replace any old or cracked caulking (i.e. the seal around your windows). Invest in some lined drapes or blinds. If you have the budget for it, or are planning a renovation, installing double-glazed windows can potentially save you thousands in heating costs over the years. By paying attention to this element of your home’s energy armour, you can turn it from a weakness into a heat-saving strength.
  • Rugs
    • If you have hardwood floors, you may want to consider investing in some stylish rugs for the winter months. An extra layer of fabric can add much needed protection between you and any upward draughts from the floorboards

Dress for the weather

While it can be tempting to turn the heat up and relax in less bulky clothes – resist the urge! Before you turn up the temperature inside, try layering up first. This doesn’t mean you need to dress like you’re heading for the snow; it can be as simple as putting on a jumper, layering with thermals, or donning your ugg boots with pride.

Check your boiler and heaters

If your hot water boiler is over 15 years old, you may want to consider switching to a newer one. Modern condensing boilers are generally more efficient, meaning you could save up to a third of your annual heating bill by making a simple switch.

Similarly, if you haven’t had your heating system serviced for a while, now’s the time. A poorly maintained heating system can see you wasting energy (and money) running something that isn’t working at full efficiency. When checking your heating, make sure you:

  • ensure ducted heating is free of leaks
  • have your air filters cleaned
  • maintain insulation on central heating systems, and
  • service all heaters according to model instructions.

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Watch out for thermostat creep

Did you know that simply turning your thermostat down by 1°C could cut your heating bill by up to 10%? By setting your room thermostat between 18-21˚C, you can ensure a comfy living space at a healthy temperature. Many heaters will have the temperature disaplayed but, if not, it’s as simple as turning it down to low.  

It’s also smart to not leave your heating constantly on day and night – even if set to low. Take advantage of your heater’s timer function and align it to switch on before you wake up and before you get in at night.

Find the right energy plan for you

Of course, your energy-saving practices won’t be nearly as effective if you don’t have the right energy plan to begin with. There are so many options on the market, so shop around and make sure you’re on the best plan for your home and family. 

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This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.

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