The best way to save money on your fuel bills is simply to use less energy around the home.
This doesn’t mean doing without, but simply cutting down on wasted energy can have a great impact on your bills. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that the average home in the UK wasted £280 last year, simply by not being energy efficient.
If you’re worried about how much money you’re spending to heat and light your home, or just want to spend less, there are some simple steps you can take to make your home more energy efficient.
Insulate your home
Did you know that approximately 35 per cent of heat is lost through the walls of your home, and 25 per cent through the roof?
Insulation acts like a duvet for your home, and slows down the rate at which your home loses heat, meaning you don’t need to spend as much to keep warm.
Insulating the cavity walls and the loft of your home is a great way to save money and could save you up to £160 per year if you do both.
What’s more is that the six largest energy suppliers are giving away free or discounted insulation, so ask if you're eligible – but act now before winter as some of these schemes are coming to an end soon.
The amount you save may vary depending on the size and age of your home, how it’s heated, and how you use your energy.
Make small changes around the home
There are also lots of small things you can do for free or at low cost around the home, such as turning off lights and switching appliances off at the wall.
Five top tips for saving energy
turn your heating thermostat down by one degree
use energy efficient light bulbs
switch lights off when you leave a room
don't leave appliances on stand-by
unplug chargers when not in use
For more ideas, visit the Energy Saving Trust website:
If you’re on a low incomeyou might be able to get some help with improving the efficiency of your property from Government funded schemes.
There are different schemes available in Scotland, England and Wales. Act now before winter!
You can also find out more about who qualifies and how to apply by calling the Energy Saving Trust on 0300 123 1234 (England and Wales) 0800 512 012 (Scotland).
For further information on insulation and about the Government's Carbon Emissions Reduction Target scheme (CERT) - which requires big energy companies to help customers improve the energy efficiency of their homes - see the guidance from the Office of Fair Trading:
Insulating your home can give you significant savings on your heating bills as well as reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Even simple draught-proofing to fill the gaps around your windows can help. Insulating the walls and the loft of your home could save you up to £160 per year.
Energy firms all offer free or discounted insulation under the CERT scheme. However, these schemes will shortly be coming to and end so if you are interested you should take action now. Anyone qualifies for discounted insulation (assuming your property is suitable) but many suppliers are currently offering free insulation, particularly to older people on low incomes or other low income households.
You can speak directly to your energy firm about the free or discounted insulation and other energy efficiency measures they may be able to offer you:
The Energy Saving Trust0300 123 1234 (England and Wales) 0800 512 012 (Scotland) or the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 336699 also offer advice on saving energy and the grants and schemes available to help make your home warmer and save you money.
If you live in Wales, you can call the NEST hepline on 0808 808 2244.
Your landlord is responsible for keeping the structure of your home in repair and making sure any heating and hot water system provided is in working order.
While your landlord is responsible for carrying out any repairs, for example, to your heating system, they are not responsible for doing any non-essential improvements, such as fitting double glazing.
If your rented home is cold because the heating system is not working properly, you should tell your landlord and ask them to fix it. Put your request in writing and keep a copy. If they do nothing, you should get advice about what to do next.
If you live in private rented accommodation you should check your housing status before you complain about housing conditions. This is because it could be easy for your landlord to end your tenancy agreement and evict you if you ask for repairs to be carried out. You might want to seek the help of an experienced adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau. For details of how to contact your nearest CAB:
Boilers account for around 60 per cent of what you spend in a year on energy bills, so an efficient boiler makes a big difference. The costs for replacing a boiler will vary, but a straightforward gas boiler replacement might typically cost around £2300.
There may be grants and discounts available to help you with the costs of a new boiler. Check the Energy Saving Trust’s database or call on 0300 123 1234 (England and Wales) 0800 512 012 (Scotland). Or if you live in Wales, call the NEST hepline on 0808 808 2244.
Draughts happen where there are unwanted gaps in the construction of your home, and where openings are left uncovered. These places can include windows, doors, letter boxes, electrical fittings, pipework leading outside and loft hatches.
To draught-proof your home you should block up unwanted gaps that let cold air in and warm air out. Saving warm air means you’ll use less energy to heat your home, so you'll save money as well as making your home snug and pleasant.
However, make sure you don’t block or seal any intentional ventilation such as extractor fans or airbricks, as these play an important role in keeping your home free of damp and carbon monoxide.
For more information on ways you can draught-proof your home, visit the Energy Saving Trust website:
Other ways you can save money on energy bills include:
using energy more efficiently - you could save around £280 each year just by doing simple things like switching off lights when you leave a room, turning your thermostat down and switching off appliances at the wall
If your home is in a part of the UK that isn't connected to the gas mains network, you might use heating oil to power your central heating system and hot water.Find out how using domestic heating oil works and your consumer rights when you buy and use it: