Cut £££s and help the environment

By at home

Don’t see red
• Leaving appliances on standby is a pure waste of money – they continue to eat up energy.
• Switch off your TV, phone charger, and other gadgets, at the wall.

Keep it cool
• Fridges use about 15% of your total household power, so it’s vital yours works efficiently.
• Clean the coils- if they’re dusty or covered in grime they can’t work effectively.
• Keep your fridge full- food retains the cold far better than air.

Light up
• Around 95% of the power used by standard bulbs is emitted as heat, not light.
• Energy-saving light bulbs use a fifth to a quarter of the amount of power of ordinary bulbs.
• Plus they will last 10 to 12 times longer.
• Always turn off the lights when you leave a room.

Window wise
• Fitting double glazing windows will help you cut down on heat loss and draughts
• It will also reduce any noise from the street.

Mind the gaps
• Filling the gaps around doors and windows, and the spaces between floor and skirting boards will eliminate drafts and shave up to £15 off your heating bill.

Go up the wall
• Up to 33% of the heat produced in your home is lost through the walls. So consider cavity wall insulation as an effective way to keep your bills down.
• Find out if your home is suitable for cavity wall insulation and whether you’re eligible for a grant from Energy Saving Trust (www.energysavingtrust.org.uk).
• If not, cavity wall insulation costs about £450, takes about half a day to install, and could save you £92 a year on fuel bills, as well as reduce your carbon footprint.

Be kitchen savvy

• Cover your pots while cooking to use up less energy.
• Once water is boiled, turn the heat down – lightly boiling water is the same temperature as a roaring boil.
• The bottom of your pan should be the same size as the burner so as to use the minimum amount of energy.

Is your boiler on the blink?
• Replace your old one with a high-efficiency condensing boiler, as conventional ones lose heat up the flue.
• Condensing boilers will scavenge the escaping heat, and return it back into the system to make more heat. This could save you up to 32p for every £1 on your bills.
• They can be fitted to most systems and are easy to install, too.

Don’t let heat escape
• Wrapping your hot water tank in a cylinder jacket is one of the simplest ways to save money.
• A new, 75mm thick jacket costs around £20, but could save you around £40 a year – an immediate saving of £20.

Insulate your loft
As we all know, heat rises – so without loft insulation you’re literally sending your hard-earned pennies through the roof.
• Cladding your loft with 250mm of insulation can save up to 25% off your heating bills, if your loft currently has no insulation.
• Also, if you do have loft insulation, check it’s 250mm thick – anything less won’t be as effective.
• Getting insulation fitted by professionals costs from £200, so it will soon pay for itself.
Grants are also available for roof insulation, and if you’re in receipt of benefits you may be eligible for a 100% grant. Go to www.markgroup.co.uk for more information.

DO THE SWITCH
Switching energy supplier is one way that can help you to save up to a few hundred pounds a year. The amount you can save depends on a number of factors, including who currently supplies your energy, how you pay for it, and whom you will be switching to. Here are some ways to cut costs:
• Pay by direct debit. Most companies will charge a fee for processing your payment if you don’t, and it means you won’t be fined for any late payments.
• Consider having an online-only account, with paperless billing. Not only will it help the environment, but it will also eliminate the risk of being over-charged by an estimated bill because you’ll be entering your own meter readings. What’s more, paperless bills are often the cheapest on the market as they allow energy providers to save, too.
• Do some research to find the cheapest supplier. There are loads of different price comparison sites online that will tell you the cheapest supplier in your area. It may seem like a bit of a chore but once you’ve decided on whom to switch to, your new supplier will do the rest and all you’ll have to do from then on is pay less money. To encourage you, many companies will give you cashback or vouchers as an incentive to sign up with them.
• Sites to try: www.moneysupermarket.com; www.uswitch.com, www.energyhelpline.com. www.simplyswitch.com

Money sense…When buying any product that uses energy, from kettles to washing machines, make sure you look for the Energy Saving Recommended label or European Energy label rating of A or higher. It could save you £35 in running costs every year.

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