We’re all feeling the pinch right now and this will only get worse with energy bills due to rise in April.
In fact, it’s predicted that electricity and gas bills for a typical family will go up by £693 a year – around £58 extra a month.
Further price hikes are also expected in October – plus the Russia-Ukraine war (and various sanctions) have affected supply chain issues across Europe and the UK – so household bills could rocket even more.
So any tips for pocketing some extra cash and keeping bills low is music to our ears (and bank balances).
Perhaps the best way to keep costs to a minimum is to ensure a home is as energy efficient as possible.
The experts at emergency insurance company Smart Cover have compiled their top tips to help keep bills under control.
Niraz Buhari, CEO of Smart Cover, says: ‘The UK is in the grip of a cost of living crisis and many families are struggling under the weight of soaring energy prices.
‘However, there are a few simple tricks many of us don’t know about that can make your upcoming bill a little bit easier to swallow.’
These are some of their suggestions to keep in mind:
Keep a close eye on your thermostat
Checking that your thermostat is set to a reasonable temperature is a good place to start – as experts say every degree can add up to 10% to your bill.
It’s worth pointing out that the Government recommends a set temperature of 18C, while ‘room temperature’ is generally considered to be between 18C and 22C.
The team at Smart Cover say: ‘It’s also a good idea to consider if you need the heating on at all, for example if you are alone in the house and it’s not too chilly, or if you are leaving town for a few days.’
Ensure your radiators are in good shape
A faulty or poor quality radiator could be costing you, as your boiler is burning fuel that’s not effectively coming out around the house – so it’s simply wasting energy.
Smart Cover say: ‘Many of us forget we need to bleed radiators – remove trapped air – once a year to ensure the heat can get through, while drying clothes on top of them can also cause energy wastage as the warmth isn’t felt in the room.
‘Giving them a wipe once a week can also help as it removes unwanted dust build-ups that prevent the maximum heat coming through.’
Pick the right spot for your thermostat
Where you put your thermostat can make a serious difference to how much energy is used, and therefore how much money you are spending on your bills.
Ideally, it should be placed on an interior wall near the centre of your home and away from radiators, windows and doors.
This is because warm air or cold air sources can create false readings and make you think you need to turn it up or down when it’s not actually necessary.
Ensure your insulation is up to scratch
‘Some homes, especially older homes, may waste large amounts of energy no matter how careful you are with regulating the temperature,’ explains the team at Smart Cover.
‘That could be because it doesn’t have sufficient insulation in the walls, or because there are small gaps in the floors or ceilings that are letting cold air in and warm air out.’
If you feel like you always need to turn the heating on, it could be time to get an expert to check insulation or make suggestions on improvement – that will save you money long-term.
This might be getting secondary glazing (if you don’t have double), investing in draft excluders or even better curtains.
Take out insurance to prevent an unwanted surprise expense
Usually things (like boilers) break at the worst possible moment – but ensuring you’re insured will help take some of the stress out of the situation.
Those without insurance may have to pay a hefty sum to get the problem fixed.
‘Taking out an appliance insurance policy can give us greater control over our outgoings and, most importantly, the peace of mind that we won’t get a nasty surprise out of the blue,’ says Smart Cover.
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