With energy prices continuing to rise, many Brits are keen to cut their costs wherever possible. The advice on how to reduce your energy costs is great and varied, so what's really going to save you money? We check out some of the dos and don'ts.
Only when needed?
You might think it's cheaper to leave your heating on at a low temperature all day, but that's a myth according to the Energy Saving Trust. If your home is poorly insulated, you'll just be throwing money out of the window by heating your home continually. They insist that money-savvy homeowners can save more money by using the heating when required - so use that timer on your boiler for the times when you need your home to be warm.
For those at home all day, turning the thermostat on the boiler right down and the radiator valves up may prove the best option. That way you can control where your house is heated and won't spend money heating those rooms that are empty or not regularly used.
Some say that painting your radiators black can help to prevent energy lost, but opinion is divided, with some claiming that the paint may actually act as an insulator. However, reflective panels placed behind radiators can help to cut energy costs, since they reflect that heat into the room rather than letting it escape through the walls. If your home is badly insulated, it might be worth investing.
Doors open or closed?
If you leave the internal doors open while you're trying to heat the home, it will take a good deal longer to reach the temperature specified on the thermostat. Since most heaters, including radiators and convection models, work by creating a current of air, which circulates to be continually reheated, keeping the door closed in the rooms you want warm will keep that heat in the right place, ensuring cosiness is maintained without heat escaping into the hallways.
Best portable heaters
Halogen heaters have long been recognised as a cheap way to heat your home if you don't have the benefit of central heating. But are they really the best money-saving option? While you'll feel the benefit of a halogen heater in an instant, as soon as you switch it off, the heat will rapidly dissipate. So if you're staying in for the evening, a convection or panel heater, or a free-standing radiator could help you save money in the long run, since the heat will linger for longer, even if it takes longer to warm the room.
For anyone with a gas or oil central heating system, it is always best to heat water only when needed. However, if you rely on an electrical immersion heater for your baths and showers, it could be worth switching to an Economy 7 tariff, where you can heat water more cheaply during the night. For this to really save you cash, however, you'll need a well insulated tank so that it stays hot throughout the day. Check with your energy supplier as to the tariff you are on, and whether Economy 7 is an option.
If you are on an Economy 7 tariff, you may find that it's cheaper to run appliances such as dishwashers or washing machines during the night when you pay less, provided your appliances are safe, and your neighbours understanding!
Have you managed to save money on your energy bills? Tell us how below...