Articles

6 ways to save on your winter heating bill

Whilst still staying warm!

6 minutes

With temperatures falling, more and more of us are ratcheting up the heating – but that can also mean a big bill come the new year.

Are there some nifty ways to keep your home warm without spending a fortune on your winter heating bill?

  • Switching deals, even on the same provider, can save hundreds
  • Forget Feng Shui – moving the furniture could improve heat circulation
  • Could tin foil offer a quick heating solution?

These simple tips could help you stay warm for less this winter

Finance and pensions writer John Fitzsimons investigates the best ways to warm your home up on a budget.

1. Are you on the right energy deal?


One of the simplest ways to make sure that you keep your winter heating bills to a minimum is by checking that you’re on a competitive tariff.

Millions of households in the UK are sitting on their suppliers’ standard tariffs, which are not only the most expensive deals, but also the ones subject to the price rises announced by suppliers. Switching to a new deal could save you a substantial amount.

According to regulator Ofgem, while the typical household will pay an average of £1,137 a year if they are on a standard tariff, the cheapest available tariff would see that bill drop down to just £892 [1].

Abbie Sampson, director of external affairs at Energy UK, says that it’s worth shopping around to compare tariffs, or even simply calling your existing supplier to see if they can move you to a cheaper deal.

‘Make sure your supplier is signed up to the Energy Switch Guarantee, an industry initiative that makes switching simple, speedy and safe,’ she adds.

2. Move your sofa


If you find you need the heating on a long time in order to heat up your front room, then you might want to reconsider the positioning of your furniture.

For example, if you have your sofa against the wall, then hot air won’t be able to circulate completely around the room, making it feel colder. By pulling the sofa a couple of inches away from the wall, the air can circulate better.

3. Could your energy supplier help insulate your home?


The better your home’s insulation, the more heat it will keep within the property, rather than having it seeping out through your walls and windows. As a result, you won’t need to keep your heating on for as long to keep it warm, saving you money on your winter heating bill in the process.

Insulation can take many forms, from cavity insulation in your walls to lagging on your water tanks and pipes. If you’ve got an attic, you should also roll some insulation out along the floor.

It’s worth speaking to your energy supplier about insulation, as they may offer free cavity wall and loft insulation.

Keep track of your energy spending with a smart meter

4. Get a smart meter

Another option is to have a smart meter installed. Smart meters show you in pounds and pence how much you are currently spending on your energy. You can set budgets, to make sure that you don’t go overboard and compare how your current energy use compares to previous points in the year. It’s a great tool to help you reduce the amount you spend and, again, your supplier can help.

‘If you want a smart meter, just get in touch with your supplier. Most will fit one for you at no extra cost,’ explains Abbie.

5. Redirect your radiators


Have any radiators against an external-facing wall? If so, there’s a danger that some of the heat produced will be lost, heading out through the wall rather than moving into the room itself. This is particularly a problem if that wall isn’t insulated.

You can insulate the radiator itself with reflective foil, so that this heat is instead effectively bounced back into the room. However, the Energy Saving Trust says it’s only going to, at most, save you £10 a year.

It is still important to make sure that the heat produced from your radiators has the best possible chance of heating up the room as a whole. That means not covering it with towels, curtains, washing or furniture wherever possible.

6. What about renewable energy?


The government offers a Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – a way to reward those households that take steps to introduce renewable energy sources into their home, including things like solar panels, biomass boilers and air-to-water heat pumps.

According to Edward Levian, commercial director at isoenergy, the RHI has helped cut energy bills by making renewable energy systems not only affordable, but in some cases profitable.

‘After installing a renewable heat system, consumers will see a direct saving on running costs and a reduction of the carbon footprint of the property,’ he concludes.

While the cold weather means we’ll all be cranking up the heating, with some small changes, you can reduce the impact that the falling temperatures will have on your energy bill.

Sources

[1] Ofgem, 2019. Infographic: Bills, prices and profits, https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/infographic-bills-prices-and-profits