HOUSEHOLDS are beginning to feel the winter chill, but coupled with rocketing energy costs, many are being left out of pocket.
The news has come now that households may face 18 months of rising energy bills, so cutting down your costs NOW will definitely help in the long run.
Brits are already forking out up to a quarter more than usual on their energy bills, so many are scrambling to cut down costs any way they can.
You can do things as simple as unplugging electronics to help save hundreds over time, but sometimes more permanent to semi permanent methods might be more effective.
Hundreds of thousands of people overpay by £246 on heating bills due to poor insulation, but fixing that can reduce costs.
There are other government grants you can apply for to get money off your heating bill too, so it’s worth looking into these as households can get up to £140 cash to cover bills in some circumstances.
Low income households can get £25 a week to help with energy bills during the winter thanks to the cold weather payment scheme too, and £300 off fuel payments during the coldest months with winter fuel payments.
But before reaching for those schemes you could try hacking your own house to stop any energy waste or hot air escaping in the first place – it can help the money you get from these grants last longer too.
Insulation is a great way to do this and it can be done on a tight budget.
Tashema Jackson, consumer champion at energyhelpline.com says: “There are a number of simple steps you can take to make your home warmer from draught excluders to pipe insulation and they can all help reduce your energy bill.
“Most of these tips you can do yourself and there will be guides and videos online showing you how to install.
“If you really aren’t sure, speak to a professional, but this will naturally increase the costs although the quality of work is likely to be higher.”
Here’s some of the ideas you can try:
Setting up draught excluders around your home to block out any unwanted cool air is a cheap solution to slashing down your energy bills.
It means you could spend as little as £3, that could save you £200 on bills in the long run.
Exactly how much you could save will depend on how draughty your house already is.
Essentially what you are aiming to do is stop cold air coming in and prevent warm air from escaping.
Draughts or gaps around your doors and windows act as unwanted ventilation shafts.
That means all the while that you are paying for heat to fill your home, a large volume of that warmth could be escaping out of spaces you might not even realise exist.
Pop a plush draught excluder in front of a door, or apply self adhesive draught-excluding tape onto windows or chimneys.
On Amazon, you can buy 10 metres of the self-adhesive seal for only £2.89, but Norton Finance says you could save £215 on fuel over five years as a result.
If you’ve been unsuccessful stopping the draught creeping in through the window then curtains can work as a great barrier too.
Supposedly one-third of a home’s total heat loss comes through window and door openings.
You can also buy thermal blackout curtains that will help cut down your bills too.
These work by being able to create a firm seal to the wall which can protect a home from the transfer of heat both ways – that means it’ll be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer months too.
Putting up curtains can reduce your energy usage by as much as 15% – and could save you up to £30 a year.
Costs will vary depending on style, length and whether or not you need to put up a rail, but you can get thermal curtains in the UK from as little as £13 a pair.
Rugs and carpets
If your floor isn’t insulated it can account for up to 10% of your home’s heat loss, especially if it’s wooden flooring.
Adding an extra layer, especially of something in a cosy material, like a rug or a carpet, can not only cover over gaps you might find in the flooring but also prevent some warm air from escaping.
You could also try under floor insulation which can save you up to £40 a year according to the Energy Saving Trust.
You’d only need to do the ground floor as heat rises but it could seriously save you cash by eliminating cool air entering your home.
Clingfilm – yes clingfilm
A budget way to essentially create your own double glazing is by placing a layer of plastic film on window frames to seal up the last pockets of escaping hot air.
You can buy actual window film kits for around £5 – £10 too which is far cheaper than the cost of full double glazing.
But really you can use any material for the second layer of glazing, as long as it’s transparent and airtight.
Clingfilm will work fine and you can pick this up for as little as a pound on your next grocery shop.
But as a result, manufacturers claim you can save around £10 a month during the coldest months of the year with the method.
Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert says you should see about getting your windows fixed if they are draughty though, as these solutions will only do half a job if you don’t solve the root of the problem.
Insulate hot water pipes and tanks
Insulating your water tank and covering any exposed pipes can save the typical home around £80 a year.
It means the sources of your heating and where hot water is stored will stay hot for longer and you won’t lose any heat that you may already be paying through the nose for.
For tanks, you can get a jacket of sorts for your hot water tank costing around £15 and is really straight forward to install – just make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
When it comes to pipe insulation you can buy lengths of pipe insulation from £5.50 for 1 meter – but make sure you get the right diameter and thickness.
It’s typically for covering any exposed pipes you may have (generally between your water tank and boiler) so the cold chill from outdoors won’t interrupt the hot water flowing through your home.
Loft insulation can save you up to £300 a year.
As heat rises in your home, it’s got to go somewhere, so if the top of your house isn’t properly insulated, you’ll loose all that precious heat right out the roof.
You can purchase the 100mm thick roll for around £20 for around eight metres, and you’ll typically need three layers of rolls to really notice the difference, with the recommended thickness being 270mm says EnergyHelpline.
if it’s a bigger project and you’ve more area to cover, you don’t necessarily have to splash out on the costs alone, as low-income households can make their homes more energy efficient with grants of up to £10,000 from councils.
The money can be put toward measures like cavity wall and loft insulation, underfloor heating, energy efficient doors or the replacement of single-glazed windows, so all the heat escaping methods are covered.
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