With winter approaching and energy costs rising, we’re all looking for ways to bring down the bills this year.
We are all feeling the pinch when it comes to making ends meet, ‘heat or eat’ has become the new buzz phrase for many households.
Whether you are a family of four or an elderly woman living on her own, this could be the hardest winter financially many of us have faced since the late 70s.
It’s all about how we can save money without risking our health and wellbeing or putting ourselves at even more severe risk.
Here are five things you can do today to make a difference this winter.
Adjust your smart settings
Many of us already have smart thermostats such as Hive and Nest and using these properly as the cold snap kicks in can save a huge amount of energy.
‘One of the best energy-saving tips is simply to get to grips with your thermostat and programme it correctly, using a consistent temperature – one for day, one for night,’ says Stuart Fairlie, managing director of home energy assessor Elmhurst Energy.
‘Dropping by just one degree can slash 10% off a bill.’
Those with smart heating systems can go further, ensuring that heating does not kick in on days when they aren’t working from home.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, a full set of heating controls including a programmable thermostat such as Tado, Hive or Nest could save £180 a year.
Get your boiler serviced
Prevention is better than cure, and nowhere is this truer than with your boiler. Turning on the heating in winter results in a rise in people finding problems with their system, forcing them to pay expensive call-out fees.
Being proactive and getting the boiler checked ahead of time will ensure that it is working effectively, and you won’t have to pay expensive emergency fees.
‘Quick fixes are great but if you’re concerned about how efficiently your heating is working then consider getting your boiler serviced regularly. It will help make sure your heating is operating safely and smoothly,’ says Richard Fox, consumer expert at NetVoucherCodes.
Reduce your boiler flow rate
Jennifer Warren at Energy Guide says that changing your boiler settings can make savings without you noticing the difference. ‘This is extremely easy to do,’ she says, adding that this can save as much as 8% on gas consumption as well as reducing carbon emissions.
‘To change the flow temperature, homeowners need to go to the front of the boiler and locate the dial that has a radiator symbol next to it.
‘Then, you simply turn the dial to “3”, which will achieve the desired 60C,’ Jennifer says.
To find out more on what to do, go online and watch a handy video from Worcester Bosch boilers on YouTube, below.
Download an app to track usage
A smart meter is a great way to get on top of the energy you are using, but there’s a way to take those insights further.
Free app Utrack, from comparison site Uswitch, allows you to make your smart meter even smarter by tracking your energy usage, peak usage times and potential savings.
‘Tracking your usage may help you see how changing some habits can make a difference in your home,’ says Ben Gallizzi, energy expert at Uswitch.com.
‘Whether that’s setting your wash cycle at a lower temperature, ditching the tumble dryer, or running the dishwasher only with a full load, small changes may have a big impact on your next meter reading.’
Get cashback on your energy bills
Worried about your energy direct debit going up? Switching your bank account could help you to pay for it.
Santander’s cashback current accounts pay 2% back on your energy direct debits, up to £5 a month, and this has been doubled to 4% until the end of November, with a maximum cashback of £10 for energy bills.
You also get cashback on council tax and Santander mortgage payments, but there is a monthly fee of £2 or £4 depending on the account you choose.
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