People these days are suffering from the latest round of gas and electricity price increases, especially at the outset of winter. In these difficult economic times, wages and salaries are nowhere near keeping up with fuel rises and more and more people are entering what is known as ‘fuel poverty’.

However, there are a few inexpensive things you can do to reduce those horrendously expensive fuel bills. The following are 5 ways to save energy to make you money.

  1. Tools and gadgets to help save money
  • Plug in thermostat – if your heating system is not thermostatically controlled, you will continue to use fuel after the desired heat is reached. A plug in thermostat can be used to set the temperature and will switch off once this is attained.
  • Electric blanket – these can be used to warm beds in cold bedrooms. Once in bed and warm, you can choose to switch it off or keep it running in ‘sleep’ mode.
  • Radiator shelves – a shelf above a radiator bounces the heat forward into the room rather than going upwards like most hot air.
  • A radiator key – used to ‘bleed’ radiators. Bleeding releases gases which cause the top of the radiator to be cold and allows the radiator to heat up properly, increasing energy efficiency.
  • Radiator reflector panels – these can be made of aluminium foil stretched over a piece of cardboard or can be bought already made.
  • Sealant – this can be used to fill in small gaps and holes which cause draughts such as window frames and skirting boards. Draught seals and strips are also effective.
  • Internal letterbox flap – an inexpensive way to stop draughts from your letterbox.
  • Thick and heavy curtains – these can eliminate heat loss through windows, especially if closed when it gets dark.
  1. TVs, computers, laptops etc.

All electrical appliances use energy when not in use, if not switched off. TVs are often put into standby mode when not in use and computers, laptops and printers are often left on all day. Most laptops etc have a ‘hibernate’ facility which will switch the appliance off after a certain time of inactivity. When buying a new TV, consider choosing a medium sized  LCD model rather than a large plasma. Generally, the smaller the TV, the cheaper it is to run. There are TVs with optimised energy saving features on the market (look for the Trust label).

  1. Home Insulation

This will protect your home against the cold in winter and heat in summer. It can also provide a certain amount of sound-proofing, useful in high traffic areas or airport flight-paths. New homes are now built with good insulation, but older properties can be a real problem to insulate. There are five ways that heat can escape from your home:

  • Conduction
  • Radiation
  • Convection
  • Air movement
  • Evaporation

You must aim to eliminate heat escaping through walls, roof, floors, windows and doors. You may be able to qualify for a grant towards the cost of home insulation.

  1. Think about switching to cheaper energy suppliers

You can easily access details about energy suppliers and their tariff charges via the internet. The government are encouraging gas and electricity suppliers to inform their customers about their lowest tariff. Many people are being overcharged for their energy because they have been put on an expensive tariff. It is fairly easy to switch suppliers nowadays, and you could save £££s.

  1. A few energy saving tips you can do yourself
  • Try turning down your thermostat by one degree. If you do not notice much difference, turn it down again. Each degree can save you money. It is more cost efficient to keep the heating on low all day during really cold weather. Turning it on and off during the day costs more.
  • Wear layers of clothes, eg vest, t-shirt, sweater, thermal socks to keep you warm. Put an extra blanket on the bed.
  • When cooking, double up with bakery, while the oven is on, eg savoury and sweet pies while cooking the Sunday lunch. Leave the cooker door open to allow the heat to circulate round the kitchen when finished.
  • Put dirty crockery and cutlery straight into the dishwasher rather than pre-washing in hot water.
  • Keep freezers full as this will eliminate gaps which require more electricity use.
  • Do not use large cooker rings for small pans.

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