December - Alan Bew, Prospect RoadAs the clocks go back this Saturday and we look towards the nights drawing in, many of us are already starting to put the heating on. This will obviously increase our bills, however, there are some things you can do, whether you own or rent to avoid excessive bills at this time of year.

Check your energy bills

Even though there have been increases in energy prices, there may still be good deals to be had for gas and electricity. Check your bills to find out how much energy you typically use and see whether it would be beneficial to fix your energy prices for a year or see if there are cheaper deals altogether. 

Even if you do stay with your current supplier switching to paperless billing or setting up a direct debit may save money on a monthly basis. Always submit actual meter readings as opposed to relying on estimated bills. If estimates are too high, this will allow you to lower your bills. Should they be too low, you avoid a nasty surprise after a few months.

Insulate your home (and yourself)

If you are a home owner, check your energy supplier’s deals on cavity wall and loft insulation. Most utility companies are encouraging customers to improve their homes and rewards include help towards the cost of improvements now and lower bills in the long run. If you’re renting, it may be worth speaking to your landlord or letting agent about these schemes and while it may sound obvious, putting on an extra jumper or investing in a pair of slippers can also make a massive difference.

Look after your heating system

Whether you have a gas boiler or are heating your home with electric storage heaters, it’s worth having them serviced regularly, at least once every 12 months before the cold period starts and bleed your radiators as they can only work efficiently when any air has been removed from them.

Keep the heating on

Especially if you are leaving your flat for a few days during a cold snap. Keeping your heating on low will prevent frozen or burst pipes and potentially structural damage to your home caused by cold conditions. Make sure you know where and how your mains water supply can be switched off.

Heat the rooms you need

If you have a box room or a guest room that isn’t being used, turn off any radiators in that room to avoid wasting gas or electricity and seal the door against draughts.

Check fires and fire alarms

Autumn and winter are perfect for curling up in front of a cosy fireplace. However, winter is also the time when fire related accidents increase. Have your fireplace serviced if you haven’t used it for a while and check that all fire alarms in your property are working.

Minimise draughts

Draughty doors and windows can suck the heat out of your property in a short space of time. If you can’t replace them, try using draft excluders and heavy curtains to retain heat during the colder months.

Collect an emergency kit

Having a small bag of useful tools can save time and take the stress out of an emergency. Your handy kit should include a torch, batteries, insulation tape, a screwdriver and a radiator key.  Add to that a list of important phone numbers for your home insurance company, landlord, emergency plumbers and heating engineers etc.

All these things can help keep you a little warmer this winter and leave a little extra money for Christmas perhaps. 

 

Photo Credit – Alan Bew