Temperatures have dropped in recent weeks as the UK heads further into autumn and away from the late summer highs of September. With more of us waking up feeling chilly and reaching for the heating, monthly bills may be mounting. While there are schemes in place to help some people pay for their heating, such as the Winter Fuel Payment, there are other things you can do around your home to save money on heating.
Big Brother winner and building expert Craig Phillips has teamed up with Smart Energy GB and Homebase to give his top tips for saving money on your heating bills.
The trio has launched the first-ever Green Aisle in Homebase stores, which is full of energy-efficient and eco-friendly home improvement products.
Data from the Energy Saving Trust found a household can save up to £581 on energy bills each year if they implement a full range of efficiency measures.
This includes buying efficient appliances and using best practice energy-saving behaviour, which can be encouraged with a smart meter.
Winter fuel support: How to save money on your heating
Under the Green Homes Grant, homeowners in England, including landlords, can get up to £5,000 to pay part of the cost of energy-saving measures like insulation.
Low-income households can get 100 percent of the costs of work covered up to £10,000.
You can visit the Government’s Green Homes Grant website here and apply for funding towards creating an energy-efficient home.
In the meantime, to get your home winter-ready and save some money on your heating bills, here are Mr Phillips top nine tips.
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Buy, or make, a draught excluder
A simple DIY task which anybody can do is to plug those draughts.
Have a good look around your doors and windows, and if you find you’ve got a tiny little bit of draught coming in, it means your heat is also escaping.
Draught excluders or draught insulations fitted around all the doors and windows can make a massive difference to stop heat escaping and cost a couple of pounds to buy.
You could also try and make one, put your craft skills to good use by making a draft excluder.
Think about those places which you wouldn’t expect the heat to be escaping like a letterbox or cat flap.
Even things like an unused fireplace or chimney will result in a lot of heat loss.
These have simple DIY fixes, like installing a specialised balloon flue in chimneys which are not in use.
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Get a smart meter installed
One of the easiest things you can do is to speak to your energy supplier about getting a smart meter installed.
Having a smart meter allows you to better manage your energy consumption at home and identify situations where you are using a lot of energy, which you can then change as necessary.
But also, on a national level, they help to upgrade Britain’s energy system to one which can help tackle the climate crisis and meet our net-zero target.
Technology to help us be more sustainable is changing all the time and it’s so exciting.
A smart energy system – with smart meters at the heart – will allow consumers to charge their vehicles when rates are low and energy is greenest, whilst hopefully lessening the peaks in electricity demand.
Switch off appliances
One thing you can do which costs you nothing, in fact, saves you money, is walking around your house to check appliances are turned off.
This could include TVs on standby or lights in rooms you are not currently in; check they’re unplugged and nothing is running which shouldn’t be.
When it’s time to upgrade white goods in your house, do be careful about what products you purchase.
All these items will have energy ratings on them from A+++, for most efficient, to G, the least efficient.
Selecting white goods with the best efficiency rating is not only good for the environment but good for your pocket as the less energy used, the more money saved.
Also, don’t forget, with your existing white goods, you don’t just have to upgrade to be more energy efficient in the way you use them – for example, doing a full wash rather than half a load and washing on the coolest possible cycle.
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Whatever electrical items you’re charging up in your house, whether it’s cordless power tools, your phone or your laptop, check the manufacturer’s advice on the batteries.
You’ll find nowadays with modern batteries it takes as little as an hour to charge up and you can get dozens of hours of use from a single charge.
This compared to ten years ago when it was the norm to just leave your phone to charge all night, this excessive charging leads to energy wastage and is not required for modern-day tools.
Bleed radiators to make sure they’re working as efficiently as possible.
If they don’t heat up fully or gurgle, they probably contain air so you could be wasting energy.
Make sure your radiators are off when you bleed them and use a radiator key.
If you can, try also putting reflector panels or radiator foil behind the radiators to reflect heat back into the room.
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Firstly, the Government’s Green Homes Grant scheme does cover insulation – such as solid wall insulation, cavity wall insulation and loft insulation.
Insulating your house properly is very important and it’s recommended to almost always start with the roof area. Check all around your loft, if there isn’t much lagging in the insulation up there, get some advice on how best to tackle it.
There are a number of different products on the market which can help you and the first step is figuring out what type of insulation you already have.
If it’s a house with cavity walls, you can have them injected with foam inside them. This makes them more airtight and, of course, more energy-efficient.
If you have a solid wall construction on your house, you can apply a rigid insulation foam board on the outside, this is then covered up by a lightweight silicone render.
Sealing the gaps in the original wall and keeping heat inside.
Both of these should be carried out by an appropriately accredited contractor in order to comply with the Government’s Green Homes Grant scheme T+Cs.
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Heat exchange systems
While not a DIY job, if you’re in development or building a new house, it’s definitely something to consider.
Heat exchange systems use the energy from the sun which heats certain rooms, such as those with big south-facing windows and draws the warm air out of one room into a centralised system.
This can then be dispersed into other rooms not benefitting from the same warming daylight, balancing out the heat in the house.
Windows and doors
Energy-efficient doors and double, or even triple, glazed windows make a huge difference to stop heat escaping, save money and are eligible within the Government’s Green Homes Grant Scheme.
Over half the money spent on fuel bills goes towards heating and hot water.
Turning down your room thermostat by just one degree can save a household around £60 a year and adding heating controls to your home is a simple way to regulate or reduce the temperature.
Heating controls allow you to schedule your heating and hot water to go on and off when needed, they also allow you to select areas of your home to heat at a particular temperature, rather than heating your whole house at the same temperature.
By installing and using heating controls efficiently you could save money and reduce your carbon footprint.