It’s safe to say that nobody ever wants to pay more than is necessary for household utilities. Whether you shop around for the best broadband deal, get dual fuel heating discounts or look for ways to cut your electricity use, everyone should be motivated to save money wherever possible to get the most out of the home budget.
During the colder months, heating costs are a particularly big part of your monthly outgoings, so it may be useful to identify ways to save money on heating bills that are easy to implement. Here are our 8 top tips to do just that.
1. Insulate and draught proof your home
Did you know that about 20% of the heat in your home is lost through draughts and poor ventilation? Basic draughtproofing measures around the doors – especially external doors – and windows – especially old sash windows – should save you a ton of money. Ask your local DIY shop for advice about foam, sealant and adhesive draught proofing strips that you can fit yourself. Better still, invest a bit more into your home by insulating your loft, walls and floors and save up to 15% on your heating costs. Or go for the gold standard: fully double glazed windows.
2. Work with your radiator, not against it
When it comes to arranging furniture, it’s vital that you keep the radiator clear. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work out that if you block the radiator in a room by placing, say, a sofa or cupboard in front of it, the room will struggle to get warm because the air cannot circulate. Equally, if you want your central heating radiators, electric panel heaters and convection heaters to work at their most efficient, it’s best to keep the door in which your heating appliance is located closed. That way, the warm air is trapped, keeping the room warmer for longer.
3. Be savvy with the programming
Modern central heating systems will come with a programmer. It’s a little box on the wall, usually near the boiler, that lets you choose the times when you want the heating and hot water to be on. Think about when you actually need the heating. For instance, there’s no point heating the house when everyone is out at work/school. Choose set times when you want the home to be homely, and periodically review whether these times can be shortened without anyone noticing.
4. Turn the thermostat down and put a jumper on
It may go against the grain to turn the heating down when it’s cold outside, but it makes total sense when you think about it. According to the Energy Saving Trust, you can save up to £75 a year by turning your central heating thermostat down by just one degree centigrade. Chances are you won’t even notice the difference in temperature in the home, but your wallet will thank you over time. And if you do feel a little chilly, what’s wrong with putting a jumper on?
5. Think about fitting thermostatic radiator valves
While a thermostat will control the overall temperature in the house, you may find that some rooms get hotter than others. By fitting thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs), you can control each radiator individually, adjusting the temperature as required so that no energy is wasted. For example, you may want your bedroom to be cooler to aid good sleep, but your living room to be nice and toasty. By tweaking the TRV settings, you can make the most efficient use of your central heating system.
6. Provide regular meter readings to your energy supplier
Energy suppliers have to base their bills on something, so unless you give them your accurate meter readings when asked they will have no choice but to estimate how much you’ve used. Chances are they will overestimate rather than underestimate. While it may all even out in the longer term, it could leave you paying far more for your heating than you need to right now. It’s best to provide regular meter readings you’ve taken yourself, so you know that you’re only being charged for the energy you’ve actually consumed.
7. Say goodbye to paper bills and pay online
Old school utility bills that come through the post every quarter should really be a thing of the past if you’re trying to save money, and especially if you then choose to pay by cash or cheque. It’s inconvenient and costly all round. Most energy companies offer discounts (up to 20%) to customers who pay online, and even bigger savings are to be had if you’re paying by monthly direct debit. It’s certainly worth shopping around.
8. Learn to be financially responsible
Finally, learning to save money on heating bills may be an important part of your household budgeting skills, but perhaps other areas could also do with some attention? Effective budgeting is essential for making the most of the household income but not everyone has the financial discipline to spend wisely. Set some time aside to examine your general behaviour around money and review your spending habits in detail. You’ll be amazed at the savings you’ll be able to identify if you really put your mind to it.