The clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in, winter is just around the corner. So as you brace yourself for the cold weather, make sure it’s not your energy bills that are giving you the chills.
Christians Against Charity have created 6 useful tips to help us save money on our energy bills and avoid getting into debt. The charity is designed to help people of all faiths manage their finances.
Check out their top tips for saving money on fuel this winter:
1.Turn it down – Lowering your room temperature by just one degree can cut your bills by up to ten per cent, saving you around £65 per year.
Adjust your heating to the lowest comfortable setting between 18°C and 21°C, and also check your water cylinder thermostat isn’t too high – aim for 60°C.
Also, as 90 per cent of a washing machine’s energy is spent on heating the water, washing clothes at 30°C will dramatically really reduce your bills.
2. Turn it off – Whilst it’s easier to leave appliances on standby, switching them off at the socket can save you around £70 a year.
Lights account for around 20 per cent of your electricity bill so remember to turn them off and use energy saving light bulbs – they also last ten times longer than ordinary bulbs.
3. Insulate – Draught proofing windows, doors, skirting boards etc. could save you up to £30 a year.
Why not try making a draught excluder by stuffing the leg of an old pair of trousers with rice.
Heat reflective panels behind radiators are an effective way to prevent precious heat escaping – pick up a roll of radiator reflective foil for less than ten pounds from your local DIY shop.
And if you can’t afford double-glazing, there’s a special film you buy for your windows, attach with double-sided tape and fix with a hairdryer!
4. Switch – Some people save up to £200 a year switching supplier, so it’s worth checking you are on the cheapest tariff.
Compare gas and electricity prices online at www.uswitch.com.
Avoid pre-payment meters if possible as they are more expensive, and pay by Direct Debit as this is up to six per cent cheaper than paying with other methods.
Remember to provide suppliers with regular meter readings to prevent paying high estimates.
5. Bleed your radiators – If the top of the radiator feels cooler than the bottom, then you’ll need to get rid of the trapped air.
If you don’t know how, check out www.wikihow.com/Bleed-a-Radiator
6. Energy-saving grants – There is plenty of help available from the Government, energy suppliers and local authorities for implementing energy saving measures.
Visit the Government’s Energy Saving Trust (EST) for information on what grants are available and for more free advice about saving energy in your home www.energysavingtrust.org.uk
If you’re struggling to pay your bills today and are worried about debt, Christians Against Poverty offers free advice regardless of age, gender, faith or background. Visit capuk.org or call 0800 328 0006. They also run free money management courses to help you budget those bills and save for the future. Visit www.capmoney.org to find a course near you.