With the days getting shorter and the temperatures dropping, there’s added pressure on our homes and budgets. But a little extra attention around your home could help protect your pocket. As a helping hand from us to you, here are a few hints and tips on what you could do to keep your bills down – and save a little extra – over winter.
Whether it’s draught-proofing the windows, insulating your loft or even changing the curtains or blinds around your home, often it’s the small things that can make a big difference during winter. And getting ahead can also play a key role in saving money in the longer term.
‘Tis the season…
We recently did some research that showed more than three quarters of us have experienced a seasonal problem in our homes before. But almost three in five of us fail to prepare our homes for winter.
So it’s easy to see how you can get caught out and need to call for help. At home we’re spending on average £114 each time - with some of us even paying above the odds - to do jobs we probably could do ourselves.
By spending a little extra time to get ahead with some essential home maintenance tasks, and finding a few little extras to save your pocket, you can make sure you’re ready to combat a cold snap.
A few handy hints to keep your home cosy
1. Do you feel a draught?
Draught-proofing your home to stop heat escaping is one of the cheapest and most efficient ways to use less energy and save money when heating your home.
By filling gaps around windows, floors, doors, pipes, loft hatches and even keyholes and letterboxes with draught-proofing supplies from local DIY stores, you’ll prevent warm air escaping. If you’re able to invest in double glazing, you could save between £40-£160 a year on heating too (depending on the type of property).
It’s also a good idea to also ensure all doors and windows are closing properly and that they have the correct draught excluding strips fitted.
2. Bleed the radiators yourself
If rooms aren’t heating up or if radiators feel cold at the top and hot at the bottom, it could be a sign that there’s air in the system and your radiators need bleeding to let it escape. The process will help your heating system work as efficiently as possible.
It’s a simple job that you can do yourself without the need for a professional. Make sure you turn off your central heating first. Then, using a radiator key and an old cloth to catch any water, turn the radiator valve slowly - you should hear the air escaping. When the air stops and water runs clear, retighten the valve and restart your central heating.
If your radiators are still cold at the bottom, it may be a sign there’s a build-up of sludge. You will need to call an engineer out to look at this if so.
3. Trap the heat
A typical home can lose about a third of its heat through uninsulated walls, so it’s worth investing in insulation. There are a number of types that can be used, depending on the type and age of the property, and the amount of money you have available.
Insulating hot water pipes with foam insulation sleeves can save you extra by cutting the need to reheat water and prevent pipes from freezing. Fitting a cylinder jacket on the water tank can reduce heat loss and cut a household's gas bill by around 5%.
Loft insulation is also one of the most effective ways to reduce heat escaping from your home. The most well-known and most inexpensive type of insulation is mineral wool which can be rolled between the loft and ceiling joists and can be easily installed without the need for professional help.
Boarding out the loft is not only another great way of trapping the heat into your home, but it will also give you more than a little extra storage space. If you’re on a low income, you may even be eligible for free loft or cavity wall insulation too.
4. Don’t break down
It’s easier said than done. Or is it? You probably won’t be surprised to hear the most common reason for a callout is a broken down boiler.
If the boiler’s losing pressure or you need to re-programme the heating, check your manual first. If you’ve misplaced it, don’t worry - you may be able to find the one for your particular model online.
Though when it comes to replacing a boiler, it’s important to get expert help. If your boiler is not working properly or over five years old, and you’re on certain benefits, you may qualify for a grant towards a new energy efficient one. If you don’t, then look out for money saving offers to reduce the costs – investing in a new one could help save money on your bills.
It often pays to look out for the little extras - they can build up to save you even more money. Whether that’s an offer on a boiler installation, searching for a cheaper deal on fuel, getting discounts and savings, or shopping savvy for your household goods through E.ON Marketplace - it could really benefit your household budget over the long-term.