5 ways to save on energy bills this winter
Follow these simple tips to stay warm without racking up huge costs.
Almost half of UK adults say energy bills are among their top 3 financial worries, and 1 in 3 plan to avoid turning on the heating even when they’re cold, according to recent research.
The survey of 2,000 adults by financial comparison site finder.com revealed the extent of Brits’ anxiety about the energy crisis. And with 43% of experts in Finder’s banking panel predicting a UK recession in 2024 if the Bank of England base rate doesn’t fall by the end of 2023, many Brits could be looking to cut back even further next year.
With so many of us looking to cut costs this winter, here are some ways to save on gas and electricity while staying safe and warm.
1. Draught-proof your home
Brits might be wary of any costs involved in draught-proofing their homes, but this doesn’t need to be expensive. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that draught-proofing could save you around £45 a year, so it’s worth taking action to block the cold air.
You can get self-adhesive foam tape for your windows for as little as £10, which should be enough to cover the windows of an average-sized home. You can also buy a brush or hinged flap draught excluder to place over any gaps at the bottom of doors or over your letterbox.
2. Invest in an electric blanket
Some people are switching from heating their entire home to heating the people in it. How about an electric blanket to keep you warm? These target heat directly to your body rather than heating the whole room and use a lot less energy than portable heaters.
Keep an eye out for discounts in the Black Friday sales. You might find a good-quality blanket at a bargain price.
3. Research energy-saving alternatives for drying your clothes
With cold and rainy weather often in the forecast for winter, it can be difficult to dry laundry effectively, so many use a tumble dryer. However, they come with a high cost per cycle, and not everyone has access to one.
Instead, you could purchase a heated airer. There are often deals from budget retailers, and they cost as little as 7p an hour to run.
While it may be tempting, our experts warn against using your radiator to dry your clothes. This will stop heat from being released into the room, so it takes more energy to keep the room warm.
4. Get a free smart meter
You can have a smart meter installed for free by your supplier under a government scheme aiming to roll them out to all households.
A smart meter won’t automatically save you money, but the in-home display offered alongside it can help track how much you are spending on gas and electricity. It shows how much energy you use in kilowatt hours (kWh) and how much it costs.
For example, many of us don’t realise how much it costs to leave appliances on standby, which can cost the average UK household £55 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
You can also see how much your costs increase after using certain appliances, such as putting on a load of laundry or boiling the kettle.
While smart meters might not appeal to everyone, they are useful for tracking day-to-day energy consumption, which could help you make simple changes to your energy usage.
5. Take advantage of available help
While the UK government has stopped the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which provided UK households with a discount on gas and electricity between October 2022 and April 2023, you may still be eligible for government assistance.
Under the Warm Home Discount Scheme, you might get £150 off your electricity bill this winter as a one-off discount. You should get the discount automatically if you’re eligible and receive a letter by January 2024. If you don’t get the letter but think you might be eligible, contact the scheme before 29 February 2024.
If you are struggling to cope with the colder weather and high energy bills, Finder editor-in-chief Liz Edwards recommends looking into the Warm Welcome campaign.
She explains: “These hubs have been set up by organisations across the UK to provide a space with warm food, drink and heating throughout the winter. There are over 7,000 Warm Welcome spaces across the UK, so it’s worth being aware of the closest space to you in case you need it. The Warm Welcome campaign began on 29 October this year.”
About the author
Sophie Barber is a content manager for finder.com in the UK, and she has over 5 years of experience in writing and publishing informative online articles for a variety of websites. She has a Master’s in English from the University of Exeter and is passionate about creating content that taps into trending topics and helps make personal finance decisions easier.
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