One thing to do this week... winterproof your home
As the long nights start to draw in, it's important to ensure that your home is ready for the winter cold before you receive the dreaded January energy bill.
Here's how you can make sure your home won't drain your finances this winter.
1. Make sure your boiler is working efficiently. According to Which?, nearly one in three boilers will break down in the first year of use, and if that happens during the winter months you could find yourself extremely chilly.
Prevent a boiler breakdown by arranging for a boiler service by a plumber with Gas Safe Register ID, costing between £15 to £120, so you can fix any problems before the cold weather really sets in.
2. If temperatures plunge well below zero again this winter, you will be paying through the nose for your heating. This makes now the right time to switch onto the cheapest energy tariff.
According to the regulator Ofgem, more than four million people switched energy providers last year, saving them an average of £150. Dual and paperless bills will also reduce the cost of your bill.
3. Insulate your home efficiently. At least 19% of a home's lost heat escapes out of windows, according to the Energy Saving Trust, and by insulating properly with double glazing, you can reduce heating costs by about £130 a year.
Smaller changes include fitting an insulating
jacket to your boiler, which can save around £35 a year, and laying down draught excluders to stop warm air escaping under doors. Even closing your curtains at dusk and putting on an extra layer of clothing can help.
4. Finally, ensure your current home insurance will cover any potential cold weather damage such as frozen pipes and flood damage, otherwise you could be left with a huge bill after Christmas.