It doesn’t seem long ago that Britain was enjoying a summer heatwave, but as the mornings get darker and the days become bleaker, it won’t be long until winter arrives. While we’ve still got a few months to go, the temperature has already plummeted, making it cold enough to switch the heating on. Since the winter weather continues until at least March, your energy bills will cost you a small fortune unless you put some precautions in place.
If you’re dreading being faced with sky-high energy bills this winter, here are ten ways to lower this utility cost, without having to sacrifice on warmth.
1. Turn thermostat down
Do you often find your property going from freezing cold to scorching hot after having the heating on for just an hour? If so, this probably means your thermostat temperature is too high. It should run at a heat that warms your home up but not to the point where you need to take off your jumper and open the windows. Research shows that turning your thermostat down by one degree can save you £60 yearly.
2. Boiler service
When a boiler ages it becomes less efficient, causing your energy bills to surge. Hiring a qualified engineer to check your boiler annually is the best way to check it’s functioning correctly. Otherwise, it may go unnoticed and eventually lead to an unexpected breakdown, leaving you without hot running water and heated radiators to get you through cold winter nights.
3. Condensing boiler
If your boiler is faulty, it may be more cost-effective to invest in a replacement boiler than to pay for temporary fixes. All newly fitted boilers are condensing, which can reduce your energy bills by £200 as it can achieve over 90% energy efficiency.
To ensure you find the right boiler, use the ‘find a boiler’ tool on BOXT, which asks you a few simple questions about your home to determine which product best suits your needs. The online service can also organise the entire installation process to maximise convenience.
4. Boil less water in the kettle
There’s nothing better than snuggling up under a blanket with a hot drink during winter. However, when you boil the kettle, save energy by only filling it with the amount of water you need, especially if you’re only making one brew.
The cost of your cuppas depends on the type of kettle and energy tariff you use. However, it was recently estimated by Tameside Government that boiling a full 2kw kettle four times a day, with an electricity cost of 12p per unit, would cost nearly £60 annually. Whereas boiling enough water for two cups each time would only cost £11.68 per year.
5. Limit water usage
While it’s tempting to take long hot showers each winter night, this is far more expensive than throwing on a jumper. Per four-person household, spending just one minute less in the shower each day can save £32 a year and installing a water-efficient showerhead can save another £38 annually.
If you’re prone to bubble baths through the colder months, try and limit these to occasional treats.
6. Protect home against draughts
Draughts cause unwanted cold air to enter your home and hot air to seep out, making it incredibly hard to warm up a property, even with the heating turned on high. There are many simple ways to eliminate draughts in your property, which will lower your bills, but you’ll need to determine where the draughts are coming from first.
If the doors and windows are the culprits, use draught excluders to close off any gaps and fit thick curtains. Fill any small cracks in the walls with filler to stop unwelcome gusts of air.
Alternatively, you can hire a professional to eliminate draughts if your home has severe cracks in walls, you want to close off a chimney, or decide to install double-glazed windows.
Draught-proofing windows, doors, and open chimneys can save around £45 per year. Replacing single glazed windows with A-rated double-glazing can save as much as £110 a year.
7. Install smart heating controls
British weather is known for being inconsistent, especially through autumn, so you may decide against setting your boiler to come on at regular times to try and lower your energy usage. If you aren’t keeping track of when you’re heating your home, you could be spending more than you think.
Smart thermostats learn your household heating patterns and allow you to heat specific rooms instead of warming the whole house unnecessarily.
A smart meter automatically sends accurate meter readings to your energy provider, so you can avoid being undercharged or overcharged. The digital display monitors also allow you to closely monitor your usage and how much it costs you so you can re-evaluate any expensive habits.
Smart heating controls, including a room thermostat, programmer, and thermostatic radiator valves can save you £75 per year.
8. Change energy providers
Recent findings revealed that over a third of Brits have never changed energy suppliers, with the top reason being fears of increased costs. However, making this switch can save you £320 each year.
Moving to a new energy provider sounds like a hassle but using price comparison sites makes it much easier to find the best deal. The new company will then notify your current supplier to complete the switch, which often takes up to three weeks.
To speed up the process, ensure you have an up-to-date meter reading and details of your current energy deal to hand.
9. Turn lights off after using
The short winter days will likely cause you to keep your lights on for longer. However, ensure you switch them off after leaving the room to save £15 per year. Replace all lightbulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs to cut a further £40 off your annual energy bills.
10. Don’t block radiators
If you’ve tried hiding unsightly radiators with furniture, you could be causing your energy bills to surge as large furniture items absorb heat. Moving your sofa just six inches away from the radiator will allow heat to effectively flow around the home and reduce your energy bills by 10%.
Avoid drying laundry on radiators as it causes your boiler to work much harder than necessary and result in costly heating bills.
Your energy bills will inevitably increase over the colder months, but there are savings to be made. Following these energy-saving methods will help cut costs and make winter more financially manageable.