Five ways to prepare your home for winter
September marks the beginning of autumn, so it’s time to start thinking about how to prepare your home for the winter.
Remember, it is possible to stay warm without racking up extortionate heating bills – and cutting costs doesn’t have to mean wearing a woolly hat and mittens when you watch TV.
A quarter of your home’s heat is lost through the roof, so adequate insulation is a priority. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that insulation could save your household around £150 a year, so you’ll soon recoup the costs – and you might also be eligible for a grant to help cover the expense.
Contact your local Energy Saving Trust through its helpline on 0800 512 012.
2. Invest in a new boiler
Heating and water account for more than 80% of the energy used at home, so it makes sense to get yourself an energy-efficient boiler. Newer, condensing boilers waste less energy than the older type because they extract heat from the gas that would otherwise escape.
Replacing a 15-year-old boiler with a new condensing model could save you around £235 a year. Look out for the Energy Saving Trust’s ‘recommended’ label.
3. Double glazing
Further ways to stop heat escaping include double-glazing, which cuts the amount of heat lost through windows by half; insulating your hot water tank, which can save you approximately £35 a year; lagging pipes; and draught–proofing doors and windows.
4. Turn it down
Turning your thermostat down by just one degree could save you around £55 a year. Use your timer so that you only have heating and hot water when you need them. And work out how long it takes for your heating to kick in and turn off – if it takes 30 minutes to cool down, for example, set your timer so that it goes off half an hour before you leave the house.
5. Change supplier
Don't put up with hefty energy bills - instead, find out if you could save money by moving to a new supplier.
Your best bet is to contact your current supplier and find out if you could move to a cheaper tariff - but don't sign up at this point. Instead, take the time to compare the packages on offer from other suppliers to see if you there is a more competitive deal for you.
Use an approved comparison website, such as energyhelpline.com, TheEnergyShop.com or uSwitch.com.
It's also worth considering splitting your gas and electricity between two different suppliers - this may or may not work out cheaper, but again it's worth taking the time to find out.
Finally, online tariffs are often the cheapest on offer, so make sure you give these the attention they deserve.