Winter is officially upon us and the cold temperatures (and rising fuel costs) mean that people often struggle to keep their homes warm. We all want to save money on our energy bills …
Many of our clients are elderly and living independently, and cold weather can often bring increased health issues. For example, cardiovascular problems can be exacerbated due to the cold, as well as the risks of hypothermia and symptoms of arthritis.
According to Ofgem, the industry regulator, the average household spends around £1,254 on heating and power, making it the largest, annual expense for UK families.
With temperatures set to plummet over the next month, we thought that now would be a good time to provide some tips for our customers on how they can increase efficiencies and save money on energy bills this winter.
- Replace your lightbulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs. Although they can initially cost slightly more than traditional, incandescent bulbs, over their lifetime they save you money, because they use less energy.
- Install a smart meter. This will allow you to track usage far more accurately, determine when you’re using the most energy and have more control over your gas and electricity usage. It can also show spikes in usage and help to identify your less energy-efficient appliances.
- Turn off standby appliances. People don’t realise that, when appliances are on standby, they are still using electricity. Did you know that, by simply turning them off, you could save around £30 per year?
- Install a smart thermostat. This will make your home more energy-efficient by only heating the rooms you use. You can also turn off the radiators in rooms that aren’t used.
- Draft-proof your home. If you have drafts coming into your home from external doors or windows, you’re likely to want to turn the heating up. Instead, investigate your home, room by room, and install draft excluders where needed. Make sure you also draw your curtains in the evenings, to minimise heat loss through your windows.
- Find out if you’re entitled to a warm homes discount. A huge number of pensioners who claim pension credit don’t realise they can also claim a £140 reduction on their electricity bills. The warm homes discount scheme requires participating domestic energy suppliers to provide support to those who are in, or at risk of, fuel poverty. Some people receive this discount automatically, if their energy supplier is registered with the scheme. If you find your supplier is not a participant, it’s well worth changing suppliers, and you may find a cheaper tariff too, in the process. More information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme.
- Compare energy suppliers and switch if you find a better deal. Whilst many of us would rather stay with the same supplier than go through the perceived hassle of investigating alternatives and changing over, using sites like Money Supermarket, Compare the Market and uSwitch can make the process much easier and far more efficient. You can compare monthly and annual costs, as well as potential, annual savings, and find the deal that’s best for you. And, if you do decide to switch supplier, the move will be entirely handled by your new energy company and there should be no loss of power to your home.
- Ask your Extra Help home-helper to help you winter-proof your home. As well as the regular cleaning and home-help services we offer, our home-helpers can assist with all sorts of simple jobs around the home to help you conserve energy, such as installing draught excluders, radiator heat reflectors and new, energy-efficient lightbulbs for people who may find these tasks difficult, due to lack of mobility etc.
We hope our tips prove that, with a few simple changes, everyone can become so much more fuel-efficient this winter!
If you’d like to find out more about the home-help services we offer, please call us on 01604 532932.