HOUSEHOLDS are eager to slash costs any way they can while the seemingly never-ending energy crisis continues to cripple budgets.
Millions of people are forking out thousands more than they used to just to keep up with their monthly bills.
Energy bills were initially set to be frozen at £2,500 for the typical household for two years, but the Energy Price Guarantee will now increase bills to £3,000 a year from April 2023.
If you’re a large family that uses a lot of energy, you’re likely to spend even more.
We spoke to home insulation and heating expert Dave Raval, chief executive of Loftzone, to find out how you can soften the blow to your pocket.
Taking on each of the tips could help lower costs by up to £1,895.
Here are the key things Dave said you should change to keep prices down.
Reduce the temperature – save up to £100 a year
Dave said most people turn the thermostat down just before they go to bed, but they don’t think about doing this during the day.
The average household sets their thermostat at 21C, which is three degrees higher than the cheapest you could get away with whilst staying comfortable.
The lowest comfortable temperature for most of us is between 18C and 21C.
It’s just the right balance between keeping your home warm, and keeping those energy bills as low as possible.
So that means if you have your thermostat set at a higher temperature you can most likely afford to turn it down and still keep cosy and warm.
Of course, there may be exceptions for anyone who is in ill health, and there is help to cover extra costs.
In fact, turning down the temp by just a single degree could save you as much as £100 a year on your bill.
If you cut it by more you will obviously make even bigger savings.
Experts at Uswitch found that the temperature inside a fifth of UK homes is hotter than Lanzarote over winter, and more than a million properties are heated to 25°C or more – hotter than Sydney, Australia.
If you’re at the higher end of the perfect 18-21 degree temperature scale, then you could still try reducing it by a degree or even two to find savings
When we start to hit warmer weather in the spring, you might not even notice.
Check for vampire devices – up to £750
So-called “vampire appliances” drain energy when left on standby or used inefficiently and they could be making your bills rack up.
Dave said using a smart plug can help you to find these devices in your home.
He said: “Things like set top boxes use a lot of energy when they are left on standby.
“To check for these energy-guzzling appliances, you could use a smart plug – and you’ll probably be astonished at the results.
“Once you’ve checked your home, you could share the device with your neighbours to help them with their energy usage.”
Older appliances usually drain more energy when not in use compared to newer ones, which often have “eco” modes when not in use to save energy and cash.
These plugs work by measuring the amount of energy you’re using on individual devices around the home.
Smart plugs are placed between a socket and the plug of the device being measured, according to Uswitch.
A screen on the plug shows how much power the item is using, and they run on batteries so they don’t add more usage to your bill.
Each plug is different but it measures the energy use of the individual appliance you’ve plugged in.
With some, you can enter the price you pay for energy and then the gadget works out the cost for you.
The cost per unit you pay depends on the tariff you’re on but you can usually find this information on your latest energy bill or online account.
Research by British Gas revealed families could save an average of £147 each year by switching these types of devices off.
But dad-of-two Mark Thompson managed to slash £750 off his bills by turning off or selling his energy-guzzling appliances.
Wrap windows in bubble wrap – save up to £400
Replacing your double glazing can cost hundreds or thousands of pounds, while a roll of bubble wrap costs around £50.
One savvy saver told The Sun how she managed to save up to £400 a year on her energy bills by bubble wrapping her windows.
The bubbles in bubble wrap serve as multiple insulating pockets filled with air – Dave said big bubbles work best at creating a protective later.
Spray a fine mist of water on your windows then carefully press bubble wrap against them.
Or you can attach the clear film to the panes using double-sided tape and then fix it in place with a blast of heat from a hairdryer.
Before you decide to bubblewrap your curtains too, households will need to consider the potential fire risks of doing so – and keep it away from electrical items and candles.
Check for draughts – save £60 a year
Your windows and doors are draughty hotspots, but a simple and cheap fix could help you save cash on your bills.
Gaps and cracks cost the average home £60 a year, according to Shell Energy.
Buy draught-proof tape around windows to seal them up and stop the cold air from coming in
Dave said: “Don’t let the money you’ve spent on heating your house seep through the gaps.
“One cold evening, go around with your hand across every window and across every door and feel for draughts.
“Older houses typically lose more heat through gaps in doors, floorboards, and windows, so it’s vital to plug these gaps.”
On Amazon, you can buy 10 metres of the self-adhesive seal for only £2.85, for example.
Put draught excluders up against your door to save money on your bills.
It’s a good way of plugging up the gaps where hot air can escape.
If you’re looking to buy one, they will set you back between £8 and £10 from retailers like Dunelm, Wayfair and The Range.
Lay down a rug – save up to £180 a year
If your floor isn’t insulated it can account for up to 10% of your home’s heat loss, especially if it’s wooden flooring.
Insulating your floors can save you around £110 for the average property, and up to £180 for a detached house per year.
Dave said that adding an extra layer, especially of something in a cosy material, like a rug, can not only cover over gaps you might find in the flooring but also prevent some warm air from escaping.
Check your radiators – Save £75
Dave said it’s important to not waste money heating rooms that you don’t spend much time in.
But a thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) could potentially half your gas bill.
By attaching one to their radiator, you can limit or turn off the flow of gas into the radiator while the central heating is on.
This will allow you to only heat the rooms you want to, meaning there is no need to turn on every radiator in the house just to heat up over the coming winter.
The average household can save up to £75 every year if they have thermostatic radiator valves fitted on all their radiators, according to British Gas.
Dave said: “Most homes have one single thermostat controlling your temperature, but many rooms need less heat.
“Ask yourself – does your bedroom need to be hot at midday? Does your hall need to be as warm as your lounge?
“Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) can be fitted without needing to do any plumbing.
“They just screw on and allow you to turn down or up individual radiators – easy.”
The gadgets can cost around £20 from Toolstation and Victoria Plumbing and up to £100 elsewhere for a smart controlled TRV.
Don’t forget your curtains – save £30
Open your curtains as soon as it’s light then shut them when it gets dark, Dave said.
This is because the sun will warm up the room naturally, and closing them in the evening will stop the heat from escaping again.
Simply putting up curtains can reduce your energy usage by as much as 15% – and could save you up to £30 a year on your bills at the same time.
You can also buy thermal blackout curtains that will help cut down your bills.
These work by being able to create a firm seal to the wall which can protect a home from the transfer of heat both ways – that means it’ll be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer months too.
But that’s not the only step you should take.
If you want to stop as much hot air from escaping then try taping the curtains to the wall or use electrical tape to keep the middle together and closed.
You’ll need to seal your drawn curtains with the heavy duty tape from top to bottom so no air can get through.
Insulate the loft – Save £300
Heat rises and in a typical British home, around 25% of your heat goes out through your ceiling, into your loft and out through the roof.
Most people have some loft insulation, usually between the joists and maybe two to three inches.
Insulation acts as the woolly hat for your home, trapping the heat inside so you need less energy to heat it constantly.
Dave said insulation is vital for helping homeowners save up to £300 in heating bills every year.
But he noted most people don’t know that squashing insulation makes it less efficient.
He added: “We love to use our lofts for storage or to wander around it for access.
“However, don’t put your boxes straight on the insulation or board down directly onto the joists, doing this will double the heat loss which has a big impact on your bills.
“Fluffy loft insulation works by trapping air so when you squash it you get rid of all those air bubbles, and it doesn’t work so well.
“Raised loft boarding is the best at preventing this, creating a raised platform for boarding to rest on.
Loftzone sells store floor kits, with prices starting at around £75.
You can also buy loft legs from retailers such as Toolsation – they work by raising the loft floor so your insulation isn’t compressed.
Here are five of the cheapest electric heaters under £30 so you can avoid putting the central heating on.
Plus, we round up other ways to save on your energy bills with a number of small tweaks.
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