Cut 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?
- See our DIY quick fixes to cut your heating costs
- Keep your home warm and cosy
- Get free money from the government to cut your heating costs
- Help with your bills
- Keeping yourself warm
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 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 all get cheaper prices. It’s definitely worth considering as oil prices continue to rise.
Also, before the worst of the winter weather comes, ensure that your boiler is working properly. Check out how a poor credit score could affect your ability to make use of monthly payments for a new boiler. Keep an eye on your score!
You don’t have to pay hundreds to make your home warmer and more energy efficient (and so cheaper to heat). There are all sorts of little tweaks you can do yourself that are easy and cheap, but make a big difference to your bills.
In fact, we have a bunch of ideas on how you can save money on your bills and on how to save money by being green. Take a look!
Here are some quick wins you can achieve this evening to cut your bills and keep you toasty through the winter:
Tin foil behind the radiators
Sticking 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.
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 exactly that, 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 on eBay 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
Check 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.
But 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 £20.
Then, there are ways to cut your heating bills without any effort at all…
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.
Just make sure you set it to switch 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! Anyway, scientists say it’s better to sleep in a cool atmosphere, while your body is warm under the bedclothes.
Clean Your Radiator System
Making sure your heating system is working properly can save you a lot of money. Sludge can build up in your heating system over time, blocking the flow of the hot water. This sludgy build-up could add a massive 25% more to your bill. A sign of a build-up of dirt is cold spots at the bottom of the radiator, or individual radiators taking longer to heat up than others.
Keep all the doors closed
Close off any unused 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 sunlight in.
Turn the thermostat down
Turning your thermostat 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.
You could also invest in a heated throw so that you don’t even need the portable heater. There are lovely ones around where you just plug them in and then wrap them around you.
Lakeland has a lovely selection of heated throws, electric blankets and even a heated foot-warmer. Take a look and get yourself set for a cosy winter!
Don’t put your wet laundry on your radiators
This is something I used to do FAR too often!
It’s not cheap – at £99.99 – but it is very cheap to run. It costs less than 6p an hour, so it’s great for families.
There’s also a larger, three-tier one that costs £109.99 here. Definitely worth it if you have big loads of washing to do regularly.
Not only are these efficient, but they will also enable you to leave your radiators to do their intended job. They will also save you money on the cost of running your tumble-dryer.
If you receive any benefits like Universal Credit, 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, so apply early to 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.
In October 2021, the UK government announced homeowners in England and Wales will be offered subsidies of £5,000 to replace their gas boilers. These grants will be given from April 2022, and are part of the government’s plan to stop the sale of new gas boilers after 2035. It will also contribute to lower carbon emissions by replacing gas boilers with low-carbon heat pumps.
The Government have not yet released exact details of when and how you can apply for the grant, so be sure to keep checking for updates and secure your money!
are you struggling?
Certainly, the first thing to do if you’re really struggling with your fuel bills is to contact your energy provider. All the big ones have ‘slush funds’ to help those in need. As with anything, the more persistent you are the more likely it is that you will get something!
warm homes discount scheme
There is also the Warm Homes Discount Scheme which will give you £140 off your heating bills from October to March. It’s a Government scheme and has been signed up to by some, though not all, of the energy providers. You can find out about it here.
There are grants and other help organisations for fuel poverty as we explain here.
the green deal
The government have also set up the Green Deal, an initiative designed to encourage homeowners and businesses to use more green technologies.
There’s no free money here, but there are free assessments of your home. Also you can get finance plans – i.e. ways to pay the cost over time rather than in a lump.
The sort of improvements you might be advised to make are:
- double glazing
- renewable energy products (e.g. solar panels)
N.B. this isn’t available in Northern Ireland
Also, if you are a pensioner or on tax credits/benefits, there are grants and other types of help at hand.
A 2000w solar panel kit, for example, should cost you under £4,000. While it’s a bit of an initial investment, this solar setup should be enough to power small homes year-round.
If you want more information there is a free helpline that can give you access to grants and information on heating bills.
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!
Spend 20 minutes a day exercising.
Not only will it keep you warm it will do wonders for your immune system, 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.
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.
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 so warm that touching the thermostat won’t even cross your mind!
Have you got any tips for keeping warm on the cheap?
Any saucy ones? Go on – I bet you do!
Tell us about them in the comments below!