7 Ways to Cut Energy Costs this Winter

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Want to slash energy costs and save some money, as well as the environment – then these tips are going to help and will make a notable difference for you.

1. Switch deals to save yourself £300

Price increases are being announced by all of the major energy companies. Grab a cheaper tariff to help you combat these rising costs.

According to uSwitch, a price comparison website, there is a difference of £300 per year between the worst tariffs and the best tariffs.

Be sure that you sign up to get a fixed deal.

The iSave Fixed v4 March 2014 from First Utility is the least expensive deal that is currently available. A family of four that lives in a semi-detached, three-bedroom house – which is viewed as the typical customer – would, on average, pay £1,087 per year for electricity and gas. This price is fixed through March 2014.

It is very unlikely that the prices will fall heavily, but if they do, you would need to pay an exit fee of £30 each fuel that you use.

The Online Fixed Price Energy Tariff from Scottish Power is a deal that does not come with an exit penalty. It costs £1,140 per year for a typical household.

However, you need to act quickly. The best deals are rapidly disappearing.

If you not to have a long-term fixed deal, then a good option for you is the iSave v12 from First Utility. This deal costs £1,054 per year.

2. Stop paying by check and cash

You can save a significant amount of money by simply changing the method that you use to pay your bills. The best deals tend to be reserved for online customers by most energy companies. So use a computer to pay your bills if you have access to one.

You can also often get a better deal from an energy provider when you sign up for both electricity and gas. These are known as dual fuel tariffs.

You also can receive a substantial discount – frequently as high as £100 per year on your average bill – when you pay your bill through monthly direct debits.

It is expensive to pay by check or cash. These payment methods should only be used if you have no other choice.

If you have internet access, you also can reduce your costs through reviewing your bills online, instead of getting paper bills by post.

For example, when you go paperless, Scottish and Southern Energy will give you annual discount of £6 per fuel.

3. Put a cardigan on

A majority of households keep their heating at 20 degrees centigrade the entire day, and then wander around the house in either a t-shirt or blouse.

Turn the thermostat down by only degree, down to 19 degrees. Then put a cardigan or jumper on and you can reduce your heating bill by 10 pc.

For a typical household, this will save them £60 per year.

If you have a well insulated house, you will barely notice a difference, if at all.

A wall mounted fireplace can be a wise addition and far more ecologically sound than the traditional alternative as it uses ethanol.

Your hot water probably is too high if it is piping hot. Set your thermostat no higher than 140f or 60c.

Whenever you are out all day, be sure that your hot water and central heating are shut off – whether you are out visiting relatives, at school or at work. Suing your time sparingly, so that it only comes on when it is really necessary.

Turn the radiators off in rooms you are not currently using. And if your heating is turned on keep the doors and windows closed.

Purchase a hot water bottle – You can buy one for Asda or Tesco for only £3.

4. Turn the lights off

On the typical household’s energy electricity bill, lighting accounts for around 19pc. Energy-saving bulbs can reduce your bills by around £55 per year. They last ten times as long as normal bulbs do, and also use 80pc less energy. Energy Saving Trust reports that each bulb that is replace can save you approximately £120 over the bulb’s lifetime.

Ignore anyone who tries to tell you that more electricity is used for switching lights back on than you save from switching them off. According to experts, this is a complete myth.

Cut any bad habits out. Turning the lights off when you go out to the store on a cold winter night can save you £10 per year.

Unplug any of your appliances that you aren’t using that have lights. This includes mobile phone chargers, DVD players and televisions.

Before switching your dishwasher one, wait until it is full – less energy is used by one full load than two half loads do.

5. Close your curtains

Don’t allow any ship to slip through cracks in your windows or walls. At night make sure you draw your blinds or curtains and on your doors use draught-blockers.

Turn the heat down on your washing machine. If your machine has a quick function use that or the 30 degrees setting.

Use tumbler dryers sparingly.

Be careful to not waste hot water. Remember that the more hot water that you use, the more that will need to be heated.

The amount of hot water that is wasted by a dripping tap is enough to fill up 60 baths per year. Use a spanner to tighten it or ask a plumber or friend for help.

As much as 100 liters of water is used when running a bath. Showering instead will use a lot less water – usually no more than 35 liters – and will save £18 per year.

When it comes to the kitchen, just boil the amount of water that you actually need (as long as the element inside of the kettle is covered).

Measuring the number of cups of tea you would like to make is a good idea. Just that alone can save you £7 per year.

If you are boiling rice or vegetables, put a lid over your saucepans, and turn the heat down on your stove.

Consider moving away from centralised electricity by producing your own – heat pumps can be a notable addition, see more about brands like Ochsner heat pumps here.

6. Claim your benefits

The Government last year paid £2.1 billion to over 12 million people in winter fuel benefits. This is a tax-free annual benefit that is paid to individuals over 61 years old, no matter how much money they earn.

How much you receive will range from £200 to £300, depending on how old you are and the situation. For example, individuals from 61 to 70 years old ma claim up to £200. People over 80 years old, may claim up to the entire £300. However, you will only receive a partial benefit if you are living with a partner who qualifies as well. One thing you need to be aware of is this benefit’s qualifying age for women and men is increasing in line with the state pension age for women, which is 61 currently.

The cold weather payment, which is a separate benefit, is paid when the weather is exceptionally cold.

If the temperature drops below zero degrees Celsius within your post area for a period of seven consecutive days any time from November to March, then you will be given an extra £25. Usually the payments are paid automatically to eligible individuals. If you have never received the payment and do not get the state benefit or other benefits, you might need to apply for it.

Men under 65 years old and too young for claiming a state pension are the ones who are most likely to not get the benefit.

7. Read your meter on a regular basis

Always avoid estimated bills if possible. This is when the energy supplies guesses on the amount of energy you use per year and then averages out your bills. You could end up paying more than necessary that way.

Instead provide accurate meter readings to your supplier.

Check your meter at least once every three months. Set an online account up or call your supplier to record your usage. An electric meter can be a benefit as you can see in this post from nPower.

If you have a high credit amount, ask them to return some of the money back to you – that way the money can go into your bank account and earn interest instead.

If your provider tries to give you a hard time reference condition 27 in the Gas Supply Licence. It states that direct debits must be fair and credits be refunded.

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