Now is peak time for cranking up the thermostat - and in turn, our bank accounts feel the heat. A sure-fire way to save money on your bills is to take control of your heating. One of the top energy and cash wastes is leaving radiators on in empty rooms, so fit thermostatic valves so you can turn these off and only warm rooms you use.
Then take control of your thermostat by turning it to the lowest comfortable temperature, ideally 18C to 21C. Just one degree less can save you £80 a year, says the Energy Saving Trust. And rather than keeping your heating on constantly, set it to come on just before you get up, and off just before you go to bed. If it’s very cold, don’t turn up the thermostat, set the heating to come on a bit earlier instead.
Consider installing a smart thermostat so you can control heating remotely from your mobile, tablet or laptop meaning your home is only warm when you need it to be. Which system you choose will depend on your needs. For example, Google’s Nest (£249 including installation, nest.com) adapts your home’s temperature to your behaviour by monitoring your daily habits. Read our guide to smart thermostats.
A smart meter can also help you monitor and reduce your daily energy usage. Every energy company will be providing these free to our homes between now and 2020. Check your supplier’s role-out plan via smartenegygb.org.
Ditch electric heaters as they’re expensive to run. An efficient gas central heating system is the cheapest, controlled through a thermostat and timer. But if your boiler’s seen better days, replace it with a new energy-efficient one. If you’re on a low income, the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) scheme lets you upgrade your boiler for free.
You may also be able to get help with your energy bill if you're on a low income. Ask your energy supplier if you’re eligible or check on using Ofgem. You can find out more about government energy grants at gov.uk/energy-grants-calculator. Get free energy-efficiency advice from The Energy Saving Advice Service in England (0300 123 1234) or Home Energy Scotland (0808 808 2282).
It’s possible to make a difference for little outlay, for instance with simple draught-proofing. Seal windows and doors to stop warm air escaping and fit a draught excluder. Wrap up your water tank and insulate hot water with materials from DIY stores. Plug gaps including keyholes, where pipes go into walls and under kitchen cupboards.
Add a thick black-out lining to curtains or buy polyester curtain liners that you attach to the heading tape to insulate draughty windows. Add warmth to your home with low-level lighting and candles. Wrap up in jumpers and scarfs, put blankets on sofas and as bed toppers and swap cotton duvet covers for brushed cotton.
Switch and save £s
A big step to saving money on your heating is to shop around and switch energy suppliers using a comparison website. You could reduce bills by hundreds of pounds if you’ve never moved providers. Find a cheaper deal in minutes using Yours Switching Energy or call 0800 008 7777.
5 cheap ways to insulate your home
- Seal windows with cheap insulation film over the glass or even bubblewrap.
- Bleed radiators using a key supplied with the central heating, rotating the valve to 90 degrees clockwise and let the air escape, using a bucket to collect water. Use our step-by-step guide to bleeding a radiator.
- Place kitchen foil behind radiators to bounce heat back into the room.
- Stop heat going up the chimney with a chimney balloon which can be deflated when you want a fire and re-used.
- Seal up wooden floorboards with newspaper and pop a cosy rug on top.