This week, it’s fair to say Britain has been gripped in an almighty freeze almost as cold as the freezer aisle in your local Tesco. All jokes aside, it seems like the last couple of weeks we’ve had to make the truly courageous decision to venture into lands unknown and actually put the heating on. Yep, we said it.
The plus side? You’ll no longer see your breath escape in a misty fog when you wake up in the morning. Hurrah! The downside? The luxury of warmth has the potential to dent your finances big time.
In fact, the Office of National Statistics states that the average household spends around £1,249 a year on heating and power – making it one of the biggest annual costs for UK families. So, to help see you through bitter onslaught (okay, we’ll stop being melodramatic now), take a look at these thrifty tips to help winterproof your home and save money on your heating bills.
Insulate your home properly
One of the easiest ways to keep your home warm is to stop heat escaping in the first place. While sealing your windows with tape is a legitimate quick fix, consumer experts Which? estimate that investing in some solid insulation for your walls and loft could save you up to £275 on heating bills a year – that’s almost £30 per month. Although it may seem like a hefty job, the long term savings outweigh initial costs after just two years.
Plus, as well as saving you money on your energy bills, insulation can also increase the value of your home. So not only will you be nice and toasty when you wake up in the morning, your finances will be better off in the long run too.
Turn off radiators in rooms you don’t use
Being smart with your heating and turning off radiators in unused rooms is a surefire way to save money on your heating without sacrificing precious warmth. Whether you’re in a two bedroom flat or three storey family home, the Energy Doctor at uSwitch confirms it’s a complete waste on money to be heating rooms that aren’t being used.
For the same reasons, closing doors to confine warmth to the rooms you’re using is an effective way to only heat the areas thatneed heating. It sounds oh so simple, but small fixes like this can pay dividends in the long run. Try not to go overboard though, we’re not sure your partner would appreciate waking up for a midnight toilet break to find icicles forming on the bedroom ceiling!
Consider switching energy suppliers
Did you know you can switch energy suppliers whenever, wherever even if you’re in a rented property? Despite the scare stories about ‘The Big Six’ and rising energy tariffs, only last year the Government concluded that almost 10 million households could save over £300 a year simply by switching energy suppliers or tariffs. Even if you’re unsure what tariff you’re on or how much you’re actually paying out, using trusted websites like uSwitch and MoneySupermarket to check for cheaper plans takes a matter of seconds and could save you hundreds.
The folks over at Love Money have compiled a terrifically handy guide on how to switch, complete with the best and worst suppliers. They said: “Even those who have switched before need to be vigilant as sneaky energy suppliers are constantly reserving their best prices to lure new customers.” Whether you’ve recently switched or haven’t looked at your meter reading since you moved in, it’s a quick and easy way to save money on your heating bills.
Change how you pay
If you dread seeing that monthly heating bill drop on your doormat every month, it could be time to consider switching your payment method to direct debit. Not only is this the most convenient way to pay, but according to Simply Switch, most energy suppliers give you a discount for choosing to pay with a direct debit, and you could save up to £100.
How does that work? Direct debits reduce the admin costs for the supplier, which they can then pass straight to you. Simple! Changing your billing method varies by supplier, so it’s advised to call the helpline of your energy company to find out how.
Bleed your radiators regularly
There’s nothing worse than turning your heating on full whack to find your cosy front room is nothing more than a barren ice pit. No you’re not going senile – your radiators probably just need bleeding. And no, it’s not going to look anything like that scene from The Shining, in case you were wondering.
Simply put, bleeding your radiators gets rid of excess air pockets that may be preventing your radiator from heating up effectively. All you need is a radiator bleed key, which you can buy from places like Best Heating and Argos and a tea towel. Check out Best Heating’s complete guide to bleeding your radiators to make sure you’re actually feeling the benefits of the heating you’re paying for.
Consider switching to a smart thermostat
Whether you’re super smart about turning your heating on and off or consider yourself as useful as a chocolate teapot, upgrading to a smart thermostat does all the hard work for you. Even better, with modern home heating systems like Hive you can control your heating remotely, so you’re never wasting money heating an empty house – even if plans change last minute. Depending on your heating habits, Scottish Power claim smart thermostats could save you up to £337 a year – that’s a lot!
If you’re on your commute home from work or have just picked the kids up from school, use the smartphone app to make your front room super cosy just in time for when you get home. Say goodbye to high heating bills and hello to a cosy warm house, exactly when you need it.
Give your favourite blanket some loving
Yes, we’ve saved the most obvious until last. The easiest way to save money on your heating bill is by using it sparingly. As the temperature drops, it can be tempting to turn the thermostat up a little, but by choosing to layer up and grab the blankets, you could be saving almost £100 a year. A spokesperson for the Energy Savings Trust told This Is Money: “If you turn your main central heating thermostat down by 1˚C, you could typically save around £85 to £90 a year – if you live in a typical three-bedroom semi-detached house with gas central heating.”
And if you haven’t got a favourite blanket already what are you waiting for? Check out The Edinburgh Woollen Mill, John Lewis, Debenhams or Wilko to get stocked up on some super soft blankets and cut costs on your next heating bill.
So there we have it – regardless of which energy supplier you’re with, we reckon you can almost definitely save some money on your heating bills this winter. Both quick fixes and longer term investments are both effective ways to cut costs on your heating and enjoy a warm, cosy house for less during the colder months. What are you waiting for? Get switching off, winter proofing and hunkering down this winter and save yourself some serious cash in the meantime.