There’s no doubt about it, the weather has definitely started to turn. And of course as the temperatures fall, more and more of us have to bite the bullet and finally stick the heating on.
This is the time of year when our energy use really ramps up, and with it so too does the amount that we spend on our gas and electricity bills.
This isn’t helped by suppliers announcing that they are going to crank up their prices – a study by uSwitch last month found that suppliers have already hiked prices a whopping 43 times so far this year, leading to more than 12 million households having to pay more for their energy.
With that in mind, how are we most likely to be wasting our money when it comes to energy use? And what can we do to keep our bills as affordable as possible?
Wasting money on our energy bills
There are a number of different ways that many of us end up paying far more for our energy than we really need to.
The big one is that absolutely LOADS of us are on rubbish energy tariffs.
The most expensive tariff that any supplier offers is its standard variable tariff. This is the one you move onto once you come to the end of a fixed tariff, and it’s also the one that’s affected by the price rises suppliers announce around this time of year.
Surviving the cold weather
Unfortunately, many of us have a real sense of apathy about moving tariffs and suppliers, viewing it as too much hassle. But it will likely mean a saving of hundreds.
According to Ofgem , around 57% of households are on their supplier’s standard tariff and as a result are typically overpaying by more than £300 a year.
However, there are plenty of daft things we do around the house that lead to a ramping up of our bills.
A study by Npower this year found that around one in five of us are unfussed about leaving the telly on standby as we don’t believe it will add to our energy use, while a quarter regularly leave the lights on in empty rooms and a similar number typically boil more water in the kettle than they really need.
These little energy wasters may not seem like much but they all add up to leave you with a bigger bill to pay than necessary.
Energy Saving Discounts
Save money by insulating
If you really want to trim the amount you spend on your energy bills though, you shouldn’t just limit yourself to diligently turning the TV off standby and turning off lights when you leave the room.
There are plenty of other sneaky little tricks which can save you a few quid, even when the temperatures really drop.
A new survey by MyJobQuote.co.uk has revealed some of the most popular DIY home warming tips.
The most popular, coming from more than half of respondents, was putting insulation in the attic or loft. If you don’t insulate your home, then the heat generated by your radiators ends up slipping out of the house, meaning you have to leave the heating on for longer.
Insulation can make a real difference to your energy bills too. According to the Energy Saving Trust , insulating the floors alone can deliver savings of £40 a year – that saving will quickly ramp up if you ensure that your walls, roof and pipes are insulated as well.
Say no to draughts
Another popular trick flagged up was to use draught excluders on doors.
The Energy Saving Trust describes this as one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy, noting that draught-proofing around windows and doors can save around £20 per year.
It argues that draught-free homes are comfortable at lower temperatures, so you can save more by turning your thermostat down as well.
Say ‘curtains’ to cold
Hang curtains in front of windows, doors and unused fireplaces – for a full list of draughty corners click here .
You can buy second-hand curtains for a couple of quid from a charity shop. The heavier the material, the better.
Can tin foil save you money?
This may sound bizarre but another method flagged up by respondents was insulating radiators on external-facing walls with tin foil.
The logic is that reflective foil means that heat which might normally seep out through the wall is instead ‘bounced’ back into the room.
The Energy Saving Trust reckons it works as well, so long as you don’t already have insulated walls, saving around £10 a year.
You can pick up specialist reflective foil from hardware stores like B&Q and Homebase , though some suggest even normal tin foil will do the job.
The brilliance of bubble wrap and cling film
Another slightly out-there idea is to bubble wrap your windows. Yes, really.
Supposedly it works as a decent budget draught-excluder, and lets in a decent amount of sunlight to boot. What’s more you can simply take it down when you have guests coming over and then pop it back up again after they leave.
If bubble wrap seems a bit much, people such as Amazon, W Savvy home heating hacks: Cheap ways to stop your energy bills from rising as temperatures fall ickes and HomeBase are selling cling film for the windows with similar heat-retaining properties.
Installation takes about 10 minutes and there are plenty of guides on YouTube to help you install it.
Attack your bills
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