1. Switch supplier
Consider switching your energy supplier, or switching your tariff from your current supplier. An easy way to do this is through consumer rights advocates uswitch. You can find the cheapest deal through uswitch online at uswitch.com or by telephone on 0808 178 3492.
2. Warm Homes Discount
This is a discount of £135 off your annual energy bill. People who get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit are the core group that is eligible, receiving the discount from the government automatically. But the energy suppliers also have broader schemes for other people, each with slightly different criteria. Contact your supplier to find out whether you qualify.
• Insulating your home is an important way to save money on your bills. Several of the energy companies offer free insulation schemes. Get in touch with your supplier to find out if you could qualify.
• You can try out DIY insulation-measures: insulate cold walls on the inside with special insulating wallpaper, available from DIY stores.
• Fill the gap between the floor and the bottom of the wall with draught excluder strip (buy this from the DIY store) or, if you can’t get hold of it, strips of rag or rolled newspaper.
• Fill up gaps in the floorboards with ‘plastic wood’ filler that you can buy from a DIY store or sawdust mixed with glue.
• Buy an inside letter-box flap from a DIY store to stop draughts getting in through your letter box. Or make your own with a cloth bag fixed around the inside of the letter-box (with a hole in the bottom to retrieve the post!)
• Fit draught excluder strips round doors and windows.
• If you have gas central heating, use your room thermostat to control the heating so that you have temperatures of 18°C in most areas and 21°C in the living room.
• Turn your heating off in the summer.
• Set your central heating timer to switch the heating off half an hour before you leave the house or go to bed (if it’s warm enough to sleep without heating.)
• Don’t heat rooms that you’re not using – turn the thermostats in these rooms off, and keep the doors closed.
• Service your boiler every year – this will increase the efficiency of your heating system.
6. Keep doors/windows closed
Keep doors and windows closed when you are heating your home. When you need to ventilate, for example when cooking or bathing and the room gets steamed up, close the kitchen/bathroom door so the rest of the house does not cool down and moisture does not spread and cause condensation.
7. Think about your curtains!
• Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows.
• Don’t let curtains overhang radiators as this funnels heat out of the room via the glass.
• Don’t put heavy furniture, such as sofas, in front of radiators as this traps warmth and stops it from circulating round the room.
• Open your curtains during daylight to get the heat from the sun.
8. Hot water…
• Take short showers not baths. Showering uses about two-fifths of the amount of hot water needed for a bath. This saves about £45 per year.
• Don’t overheat your water. Setting the hot water cylinder thermostat to 60°C is adequate for bathing and washing.
• Repair dripping taps and make sure taps are turned off properly.
• Use the plug to save on hot water.
9. Electical Applicances…
• Buy energy efficient appliances. An energy label must, by law, be shown for most electrical appliances, with ‘A’ rated appliances the most efficient and ‘G’ rated the least efficient.
• Turn appliances off at the socket.
• When boiling the kettle, only boil the water that you need to use. This will save you around £25 per year.
• Cooking with gas or in the microwave is cheaper than an electric cooker.
• You can save on gas by cooking two or more things at once in the oven and by putting lids on saucepans.
• Washing at 30 degrees means less money spent heating the water in the washing machine.
• Make sure you wash full loads of clothes if possible.
• Use the economy setting on your washing machine if you have one.
• Tumble dryers use a lot of energy. If possible. dry clothes outside or on drying racks.
• Use low-energy light bulbs.
• Make sure you turn lights off when they’re not being used.