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This year, winter heating bills are likely to be a bigger concern than usual. Due to COVID-19, many of us are working from home. While necessary to prevent the spread of the virus, this extra time at home could result in huge heating expenses. There’s never been a more important time to review your heating bills and assess whether there’s any way to curb the cost. Following these 10 tips will make sure you’re not paying more for heating than you should.
1. Check Comparison Websites
Possibly the biggest way to save is by targeting your heating bills at the source. Who is your heating provider? How much are they charging you? And are there cheaper options?
Luckily, the magic of the internet makes answering these questions easy. Simply fill a few details into a comparison website, such as Compare The Market or Switch, and you will receive a list of quotes to easily compare different providers and find the best deal.
Don’t get over-excited and switch straight away: it’s possible your current provider might negotiate your bill if they hear you’re considering switching. Call them to explain you’ve found a better quote and gauge whether they will offer you the same deal or better. That way, you will get the best rate on the market without even switching.
If they won’t give you a better quote, it’s time to switch to a different provider.
2. Track Your Spending
It’s impossible to know whether you’re overpaying if you’re not keeping track of your spending. This is where money management apps like Emma come in handy.
Simply add your bank accounts to the app, and Emma will track your finances, monitoring recurring payments like bills to ensure they aren’t deviating from the expected amount. If a bill is unexpectedly high, Emma notifies you so you can investigate why and prevent extra expenses from occurring again.
Not only that, but Emma also has a built-in price comparison function. By teaming up with MoneySuperMarket.com, the Emma app informs you when there are cheaper options available. You can even switch providers within the app.
And guess what? Emma is totally free to download, so there’s really nothing to lose by giving it a go!
3. Install A Smart Meter
A smart meter measures your gas and electricity bills. Unlike traditional meters, it provides near-instant updates on your energy usage so you can see straight away when lots of energy is being used on heating. This means you can turn your thermostat down straight away if the reading is high.
Smart meters also send automatic updates to your supplier, so you will be billed for your exact use, rather than estimated use. This will potentially save you money — provided you’re using less energy than the estimate.
4. Install A Smart Heating System
Smart heating systems are a clever, efficient and modern way to save money and energy.
Your smart heating system will adjust energy use based on your routine and the weather, ensuring energy isn’t used when it’s warm outside or if no one’s home.
Tado’s Smart Thermostat even notifies you when windows are open or if it detects unusual behaviour from your heating system, so you can address potential problems the moment they happen.
5. Install Solar Panels
Solar panels are good for saving energy, the environment and your bank account — there really are few downsides to having them installed.
Yes, there is an initial upfront cost. But, once installed, they pay for themselves: you could save up to a third on bills with solar panels installed.
Plus, through the government’s feed-in tariff, you could even get paid for the energy you generate!
6. Regulate Your Thermostat Temperature
Turning your thermostat up high uses lots of energy when the heating hasn’t been on. And much of that energy may be unnecessary, causing your home to overheat.
Keeping your thermostat on more consistently at around 20 to 22 degrees is recommended to avoid your boiler over-working.
7. Replace Your Old Boiler
If your boiler is over 15-years old, it’s possible it has become inefficient — it could be costing you as much as £350 per year!
Signs your boiler needs replacing include radiators taking a long time to heat up, a bad odour, increasing energy bills, leaks and excessive noise.
If it’s time to get a replacement, The Heating Hub has a great guide to different boilers and their cost.
8. Don’t Obstruct Radiators.
Covering radiators with anything — from sofas to washing — could be restricting the flow of heat around the room. Radiator heat gets absorbed by obstructing items, making it harder for the rest of the room to warm up. As a result, you could be turning your thermostat up unnecessarily high.
Consider the layout of rooms and where radiators are placed, making sure to avoid obstructing them.
9. Install Insulation
Insulation in walls and your attic will keep the heat in.
Cavity wall insulation is relatively simple to install, as there is space inside the wall specifically for this purpose.
If you have solid walls, don’t fret! Insulation can be installed for solid walls too. The upfront cost is higher than for cavity walls, but it will save you big money on heating in the long run.
10. Install Draft-Proof Strips
Cold drafts are your heating bill’s arch-nemesis! Try installing draft-proof strips around window frames to stop the cold air getting in.
Even simply putting a doormat outside your front door can help prevent the outside chill coming in from underneath.
These 10 tips to save money on heating during winter will ensure you stay warm and toasty, without breaking the bank. To learn more about looking after your home during the colder months, check out our article on 10 of the best ways to keep your home healthy in winter.