Personal Finance

Reduce Your Winter Bills

winter, snow, gloves, chotchocolate

Staying warm in winter shouldn’t be reliant on your bank balance – but unfortunately, rising fuel costs can mean that it’s a struggle to keep the heating on.

Here are some suggestions for how to reclaim the costs or reduce your bills.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

If you’re eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme, then making a claim is probably the most important thing you can do to overcome high heating bills.

It’s a government scheme that gives those on a low income a one-off discount of £140 on their energy bills, credited directly to their fuel account between September and March.

Elderly women keeping warm by fire

Those who already receive the ‘guarantee credit’ element of pension credit should receive their fuel discount automatically. However, it’s also available to younger people with a low income. You’ll need to speak to your energy supplier to check that they’re part of the scheme and, if so, what their eligibility criteria is. They’ll also tell you how you can apply to receive the discount.

There is also a discretionary Cold Weather Payment scheme available from the government for those receiving benefits such as universal credit, income support or pension credit. This is a payment of £25 per week, made automatically during periods of exceptionally cold weather.

Switch your energy supplier

Has your contract with your energy supplier come to an end? If so, it’s likely that you can save some money by switching to a new provider rather than renewing your contract. You can use any of the popular comparison sites to quickly compare deals and check who would be cheapest. Try to make sure that the supplier you choose also has a reasonable reputation for customer service.

Time your heating properly

It’s important to make use of your boiler’s timer controls so that you can make sure you’re heating your home at the right time. Rather than leaving the heating on throughout the day, time it to come on just before you get in from work. Similarly, you should be able to set the timer so that the heating comes on shortly before you get up – making the house nice and toasty when you wake up in the morning.

Control for heating and water

If you’re the kind of person that finds themselves forgetting to turn the heating off then timers should help you here, too. Just make sure that it’s set to switch itself off automatically after a couple of hours.

Interestingly, it’s now law that all new boiler installations must be installed with controls, which was part of the Boiler Plus reforms, which aim to increase the energy efficiency of UK homes and attempt to reduce carbon emissions.

Make the most of the heat you have

Once you’ve decided to put the heating on, it’s important to make the most of it. This can be as simple as making sure that you close all of the doors in the house to lock heat into the room that you’re actually using. If there are unoccupied rooms then you can also consider turning the radiators right down in those areas.

Draughts can be a big problem, causing heat to escape through cracks in your doors and windows. Draught seal tape can be picked up for less than a fiver, and used to close that gap and keep more heat in. You could even consider making your own draught excluder to put by the door: all it takes is a pair of old tights stuffed with socks.

Hopefully, some of these tips will help you heat your home for less over the winter. But if you’re really struggling, there’s help out there. Contact Simple Energy Advice for tailored support.

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