Inflation and energy costs are spiralling much faster than the average salary and UK families are feeling the pinch.
The bad news is that economy specialists are predicting the financial situation is not likely to improve for at least another five years. The good news however, is that we have some tips you can use to save money by making improvements to your home and changing your electrical appliances.
Insulate your home
The most obvious methods of retaining the heat in your home is to fit sufficient insulation in the loft and replace your windows with double glazing. Although this incurs an initial outlay you can realistically save around 20% on the cost of your fuel bills. But you will increase your savings further still by making small changes to your home that make a big difference.
The more obscure insulation solutions are also less costly such as covering over the cracks in your floors and skirting boards and insulating the loft hatch. With these extra little touches you can increase your saving on energy bills up to 30%. If you can´t afford to replace your windows or doors with energy-saving replacements caulking and weatherstripping will still make a difference.
Clean the gutters
Gutters are the first line of defence and protect your home from water damage – a costly home repair, but also a problem that brings cold into your house. Excess water coming in from the outside cause damp in your basement, cracks the foundations, rots wooden rafters, attracts wood-eating insects and causes leaks in your roofs and drains. Keeping your gutter clear of leaves and twigs goes a long way to protecting your home from all these problems and will save you substantial costs on energy bills and potential repair work.
Change central heating habits
A lot of central heating systems these days are becoming outdated and increasingly expensive to run and maintain because they use more energy than the new energy-efficient models or over-heat rooms because they are not controlled by a thermostat or radiator.
With a long-term focus on saving energy to protect the environment, government laws are likely to be updated in the next couple of years that will mean you pay penalty green tax if you are using more energy than you should be to heat your house. To avoid fines replace energy guzzling systems with an efficient bio-mass model that uses wood chips, solar, wind and water power rather than carbon filled fossil fuels. As well as extra green tax you will also save up to 20% on your fuel bills.
If financial restraints make switching your old boiler for an energy-efficient heating system there are short-term measures you can take to reduce the amount of energy you use. Valliant research shows that most people will start using their heater in October, but delaying this until the colder months set in will save you around £19 a week.
Likewise, if you delay the time you put your central heating boiler on at night and in the mornings and turning it down by 1 or 2 degrees could save you round 10 per cent on your fuel bill each month. Prepare to wrap up warm in fleece coats and blankets during the coldest winter nights.
Use less energy
There are many ways you can use less energy in your home. Turn off lights if you don´t need them on and unplug electrical appliances rather than leaving them on stand-by mode. You could also replace appliances that drain energy and replace them with energy-efficient models. The main culprits are washing machines, tumble driers, dehumidifiers and refrigerators. You can also use a microwave, hob or a camp stove to prepare meals rather than the oven.
Given the increase in energy bills the winter months are always the most costly for households, but by making upgrades to your household appliances and a little ingenuity to your home improvements you can save yourself several thousand pounds over the next five years.