For a richer life

Heating: Easy ways to cut your bills

Heating: Easy ways to cut your bills Edvvc/Flickr

Cut your heating costs now by making a few simple changes to your home before the really cold weather comes. With energy prices higher than ever, making your home as energy efficient as possible can save you serious money and ensure you stay warm for less.

How can I save money on my gas bill?

The first and most obvious way to cut your bills is to switch to a cheaper provider. Many people are looking at monthly bills of around £200 right now so the most urgent thing you need to do right now is to switch to a cheaper energy company.

If you’re desperate to warm the house but worried about the nasty bills it will incur then switch right now to save yourself hundreds over the year.

If you are using oil to heat your house then look at our article on how to get cheaper oil. There are a number of specialist heating oil websites around that will help you compare prices and also buy in bulk with your neighbours so that you can get cheaper prices. It’s definitely worth doing as oil prices rise.

DIY quick fixes

Tin foil behind the radiators

foilradiatorSticking some tin foil behind your radiators will make them heat your room more efficiently and allow you to turn the radiators down a bit. Simply attach the foil to the wall using sticky tape or wallpaper glue, and make sure the shiny side is as close to the radiator as possible.

This works by reflecting heat back into the room rather than letting it escape through the walls. You can pick up some specially-designed radiator foil from Wickes for £14.99, but good-quality kitchen foil will work almost as well.

Thermal curtains

Another option is to buy ready-made thermal curtains – but with this you have a limited choice of colours and fabrics. Also the cheap ones often look it, while the expensive ones can cost over £100 in some stores.

It’s pretty easy to make your own thermal curtains though – by simply lining your curtains with an insulating material you can dramatically reduce heat loss.

You can get thermal curtain lining which can reduce heat loss by as much as 25% - some start from just £11. Alternatively, you could easily make your own using cheap fleece or a PVC shower curtain with some lining sewn over the top.

For added insulation you can replace the shower curtain with foil insulation. If you’re not much of a sewing whizz, pick up some fabric glue and fix the fabrics together that way.

Insulate your windows, doors and floors

draughtproofCheck the draughts around your house. Loads of cold air comes in under the doors and through the letter box, floorboards, cat flaps, and window cracks.

You can find out where the draughts are in your house by lighting a candle and placing it near your windows and doors. If the candle flame starts to dance around like crazy then you know you’ve got a draught!

By using draught excluder seal around your windows and doors, you can eliminate chilly draughts running through your home. It’s really easy to install and makes a surprisingly big difference.

Insulate your fireplace

Whatever you do – don’t try this if you actually use your chimney. If you don’t use your fireplace, all you need to do is stuff the opening in your room with newspaper or cardboard to stop draughts from creeping in.

If you do have an open fire during the winter months, there’s an easier way to insulate your fireplace: A chimney balloon.

All you need to do is inflate it to block the draught from the chimney cavity, then when you want a fire, you can deflate it and easily remove it. You can get chimney balloons from Amazon from just £17.99.

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Keeping your house warm and cosy

Turn your heating off. Yes, really. If you’re going to be out of the house all day, simply set it to come on just before you return in the evening and it should be nice and toasty for your arrival.

radiatorJust make sure you switch it back off again before you go to bed. You don’t want to be paying to heat the house while you’re tucked up warmly in bed asleep!

Keep all the doors closed and close off any un-used rooms so you’re not heating places you’re not going to spend your time in. Close your curtains when it starts to get dark, but keep them open during the day to let any sun in.

Turn the thermostat down. Sounds ridiculous we know, but turning you stat down just one degree can cut your energy consumption (and your bills) by 10%.

Only heat the room you’re in. If you’re spending the whole evening in your bedroom, don’t put the heating on for the whole house, just use a portable heater in that room for a few hours.

Don’t put your wet laundry on your radiators. Have a look at Lakeland’s heated tower airer instead. It costs £92.99 but it costs less than 5p per hour to run and will leave your radiators to do the job they were intended to do. It will also save you money on the cost of running your tumble-drier.

Jasmine says...

Quote 1

I have a heated tower airer and it’s amazing. Not only is it cheap to run but it also warms the room a little. Highly recommended.

Quote 2

Get free money from the government

free home insulationIf you receive any benefits like income support, pensions or disability allowance, you may qualify for a grant from the government’s Affordable Warmth scheme. This can be spent on things like loft insulation, draught-proofing and cavity wall insulation. Of course we don’t know how long this scheme will continue for as the spending cuts bite so apply early so that you can be in with a chance.

Even if you don’t receive benefits, there are still loads of discounts available. Check out our article Insulation: save money and conserve energy for loads of information about larger scale insulation projects and how much you could save.

The government have also set up the Green Deal, an initiative designed to encourage homeowners and businesses to use more green technologies. The great thing about this is that you will not be expected to pay any upfront costs. Click here for more information about the Green Deal and how it could benefit you.

Keeping yourself warm

Woman shivering in the cold

Keeping yourself warm is just as important as warming the places where you spend your time. If you can keep yourself warm with exercise and sensible clothes then you won’t need the heating turned up so high and like we said, turning the thermostat down just one degree will save you 10% on your bills.

Exercise. Spend 20 minutes a day exercising. Not only will it keep you wamr it will do wonders for your immune systme making your body better able to tolerate the cold. Even if you’re at home your daily exercise can include vacuuming, cooking and dusting. Housework and exercise in one? Done.

Layer up. If you’re in the house all day but you don’t want to spend a fortune heating it, put on an extra layer or two. Layers will keep you warmer than one big jumper so if you are a particularly chilly person invest in some thermals.

And smokers be aware: Smoking slows down your circulation so you’ll get colder quicker. Your circulation will begin to improve after two weeks of quitting, helping to keep you warm from the inside. And think of the savings you will make!

Keep warm in bed. Instead of leaving the heating on all night, turn it off before you go to bed, make yourself a hot water bottle and put an extra blanket over your duvet – you’ll be warm enough that heating won’t be necessary.

  • Sarah

    Lovely tips. More here – heatingoil.co.uk/news/ten-top-tips-how-slash-cost-your-heating-bills

  • Sarah Leather

    Some great tips on here. I found that a radiator cabinet really helped in keeping our rooms warmer, we use classicradiatorcabinets.co.uk/ it also worked as a great protector to stop the children from hurting themselves.

  • Wunda Group

    If renovating or extending your property fitting warm water floor heating instead of radiators will cut heating bills by upto 50%, Radiators use hot water often at 70-75 degrees, floor heating uses water at 35-40 degrees….plus you get the added benefits of more comfort and more useable space. We can show you how to simple our easy to instal systems are plus we offer free estimates 01291 634149.

  • Vernon Groston

    When starting to tackle your debt creativity is an important element. That being said don’t fool yourself into thinking paying down your debt of one card by using another one is “creative” its not! Make sure your strategies are sound and targeting your end goal… out of debt!

  • Alan

    Does reading the units on the electricity meter and calling the service provider gain you any cashback/credit off the bill??

  • Janet

    Go to your local Aldi or Lidl store for thermal underwear and socks at low prices

  • Alan Pearce

    How about solar energy? Save 50% on electricity and get paid tax free index linked for 25 years for reducing the carbon footprint. Earn up to £1,560.00 pa. tax free for 25 years Government Guaranteed.

    Alan

    • Andy Birtles

      The Government is changing the Feed in Tariff from 43p to 21p on the 8th Dec 2011, so it will now take 18 years to pay back the cost of a solar PV system. Not exactly a good investment and government guarantees are not worth the paper they are printed on in this day and age.

  • gillian dawe

    I bought a fan for radiator from the (green site) but my husband says it does nothing at all, just money wasted.

  • Lance Ellis

    I read your article in the daily express yesterday about fans for radiators , cant find them anywhere