Martin Lewis offers advice on rising energy bills and direct debits
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Households across the UK are bracing themselves for an uptick energy bills. The energy crisis has seen a number of firms enter into administration, while pushing the energy price cap up an eye-watering £139 from the last cap set in April 2021. With the winter months approaching, it is just another financial strain on homes around the nation.
According to experts, however, there are plenty of ways Britons can help to reduce their monthly heating and electric spend.
While you may already know to switch off lights you don’t need, or turn down the heating, there are some other, more unusual recommendations that could benefit your purse strings.
Daniel Nezhad, the director of UK Radiators, told Express.co.uk: “It’s fair to say that most of us are concerned about how much we may be paying when it comes to our energy bills this winter.
“While it’s a valid concern, there are quite a few simple adjustments you can make at home that can save you up to 30 percent on your bills, and that’s without switching providers.”
So what are these simple household adjustments that could be saving you money?
Express.co.uk spoke to three energy experts to find out their top tips for saving money and reducing your usage as cold, dark nights set in.
Re-arrange your furniture
Though you may not realise it, the placement of the furniture in your home could place a huge role in how heat circulates around each room.
Mr Nezhad told Express.co.uk: “You should avoid obstructing radiators with furniture, particularly large sofas because the flow of air or convection is an important part of the heating process.
“Generally, the system is controlled by room stat that is taking the temperature of the air, the room stat will usually be up on a wall and far away from the radiators themselves, and so for the boiler to switch off, you need the air temperature where the room stat is to reach the set level.
“This means that for efficiency, you want the whole room temperature to reach the desired level as quickly as possible, so that your boiler can switch off, stop burning fuel and stop costing money.”
Any obstructions in front of radiators will only slow down this process, meaning your boiler will stay on for longer, burn more gas and ultimately cost you more money.
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Don’t leave your computer on sleep mode or standby
Many computers and laptops have a “sleep” or “standby” function which is much quicker to put on than shutting down your machine.
However, leaving appliances on standby could see energy being drained – even when the technology is not in use.
In fact, Gareth Kloet, an energy expert at GoCompare, told Express.co.uk that homeowners could make some double-digit savings simply by shutting down and switching off.
He said: “It’s probably not practical to turn off all of your appliances but if you turn off your laptop when you’re not using it, or any devices that are left on standby, you could save £35 a year.”
Open your curtains and blinds
As the days grow shorter, Britons might find themselves with their curtains shut more and more often.
However, pulling them back on the rare occasion that the sun is shining could reduce how much energy you use throughout the day, according to Mr Nezhad.
He describes this as “making the most of solar gains”.
Mr Nezhad told Express.co.uk: “It might sound silly, but simply opening your curtains and blinds throughout the day will allow you to take full advantage of any natural heat generated by the sun through the windows into your home, even in the coldest of winters.”
Check your water pipes
Your water pipes could offer up a worrying surprise in the winter months which, coupled with already high heating costs, can be costly.
This is why, according to a spokesperson for Hillarys.co.uk, keeping an eye on your pipes is vital.
The spokesperson explained: “In very cold weather, pipes can freeze up and bust causing serious damage to your home that may cost thousands to repair.
“To try and stop this, allow warm air to circulate around exterior pipes.
“And be sure to check and test exterior pipes regularly so that you don’t come home to a nasty surprise should the temperatures drop.”
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Switch to LED bulbs
Switching off light bulbs is not the only way to save on electricity usage.
The type of lightbulb you use might not seem hugely important if you aren’t clued up on electricity and eco-friendly energy, but according to Mr Kloet, it can be crucial.
He explained: “As well as turning the lights off when you leave a room, it’s worth replacing old bulbs with LED bulbs as they use less energy and last longer.
“By switching to LED bulbs, you could save £40 a year on your energy bills.”
Check chimneys are clean and animal-free
While lighting a fire can be one way to keep the heating turned off, there are some issues that can crop up in the winter months.
A Hillarys spokesperson told Express.co.uk how uninvited animal guests could cause damage.
They explained: “In the cold, birds and other animals love to make warm and dry chimneys their home.
“When lighting a fire, you should always check for any animals who have built nests inside the chimney so that you don’t set fire to debris that could cause issues.”
In the winter months, it is also important to stay on top of cleaning your fire and chimney.
The Hillarys spokesperson said: “You should also do a full clean of your fireplace after its use, to reduce the risk of creosote build-up which can lead to uncontrolled fires or respiratory problems.
“This will also help to keep your chimney flue circulating properly.”
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