As the temperature starts to fall, the Tenancy Support team at Notting Hill Genesis shares how taking small steps now could lead to big savings when winter eventually arrives.
Winter time can be a drain on household finance. Not only will you be using more energy for warmth and lighting at home as the days become darker, damper and colder, it is also the period when many households celebrate Christmas with all the expense which that can bring. Winter is also when you are more likely to experience problems with your home and car.
Taking small steps in the coming weeks to winter-proof your home before winter arrives will help you to save money.
Use energy-saving tricks
- Switch off lights you don’t need and use energy-saving light bulbs - they last eight times longer
- Exclude draughts with heavy curtains and sausage-shaped draught excluders near doors
- Turn down your thermostat by one degree - it can reduce your heating bill by 10%
- Time your heating for when you get up and for a couple of hours in the evening
- Wear extra layers instead of turning the heating up
- Switch off electrical items not in use - don’t leave them on standby
- Match your saucepan size to the hob ring otherwise you're paying to heat the air
- After you've used the oven and switched it off, leave the door open so the excess heat can circulate round the kitchen while it cools.
- Wash your clothes at 30 degrees and have a full machine when you wash.
- Air dry clothes or use an electric clothes airer (they cost pennies to run per hour) instead of using a tumble dryer.
- Know where your water stopcock is and how to turn it off. This will help avoid frozen pipes bursting and will prevent a flood and damage to your home when frozen pipes thaw out.
Switch your energy supplier for gas or electric
- Check with your current supplier that you are on the cheapest possible tariff
- Use a comparison website like uSwitch or Money Supermarket to see if you could save money by switching to a different supplier
- LAMB (Look After My Bills) is a free service that automatically switches you to a different energy deal if there is a £50+ saving to be made
Check your bills
- Only pay for the energy you have used by ensuring your bill is based on an actual reading rather than an estimated one (which has an E next to the meter reading). If the reading is estimated, check your meter and submit the updated reading to your supplier. Your bill will be recalculated and re-issued.
Need more support?
If you are finding it hard to pay your energy bills or you already are in debt:
- Speak to your energy provider. This might feel very daunting but your provider may be able to assist with a payment plan or freeze accumulated debt for a period. They might also offer energy saving advice as well as details of benefits for which you might qualify.
- Contact your Housing Officer or Neighbourhood Manager. They can work with the Tenancy Support team to locate the best partnership support for your personal situation.
- Visit our Tenancy Support directory of partners who can offer support. You can search by need and by borough to fine tune the results.
- Contact Turn2Us, a charity that helps people in financial trouble get access to benefits, grants and other financial help. You can also use their FREE helpline on 0808 802 2000 to speak to an impartial advisor.
- Visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau. Find your nearest one here
- Contact the Energy Savings Trust. They offer impartial advice on how to cut energy bills. You can get in touch via the helpline on 0300 123 1234 (England and Wales) 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org For details about all Government departments and up-to-date information about benefits, visit www.gov.uk.
- Check out energy trusts and funds which may be able to help by providing grants to clear debts including energy bills. Some energy providers contribute to a trust or fund which is administered by a charity. Contact Charis (the charity which administers all these schemes) by calling 01733 421021 or email email@example.com for an application form. They can explain if you would qualify for their support.