Ten clever tricks to cut your heating bills

senior woman warming hands by...

While the last few days have been pleasantly warm, that's all coming to an end with the arrival of storm Ophelia, and things are set to get quite a bit chillier.

Most of us are likely to be resorting to the central heating again pretty soon.

SEE ALSO: Heating bills push 11% of households below the poverty line

SEE ALSO: Capping your winter energy bills: Who benefits?

But with energy costs spiralling ever higher, is there anything you can do to keep it under control? We look at some quick and easy ways to cut those heating bills.

1. Shop around
The chances are that you can get a much better energy deal, particularly if you're on your supplier's standard tariff. Use a comparison site such as USwitch or GoCompare, and you might be hundreds of pounds better off.

2. Turn down your thermostat
Dropping the temperature in your house by just 1ºC can cut heating bills by up to £85 a year in a typical home, according to the Energy Saving Trust. And if there are rooms you don't use, turn their radiators off.

3. Cut draughts
Use draught-proofing strips around windows and doors and fill gaps between floorboards and skirting. If you don't use your fireplace, you can block the chimney with an inflatable pillow - or even a plastic bag full of newspaper. Just don't forget it's there and light a fire.

4. Put clingfilm on the windows
Unlikely as it may seem, this one works: it traps a layer of air that acts as an insulator. You'll get a prettier result from proper secondary glazing though.

5. Put something shiny behind radiators
This works by reflecting heat back into the room, rather than letting it seep away through the walls. Tin foil will do, although specialist radiator foil is available for as little as £5 or £6 a roll.

6. Close your curtains
You can get special insulating curtains - but even ordinary ones will have an effect at keeping in the heat. Close them as soon as it gets dark.

7. Hang rugs on walls
Wall hangings not only look good - when hung on an outside wall, they can help insulate your home too. The thicker they are, the better.

8. Put on more clothes
Many of us swan around at home as if we were on a beach, but popping on a woolly jumper will obviously mean you can turn the heating down.

9. Heat your bed
An electric blanket makes going to bed a delight, even in a chilly room. Even a hot water bottle may mean that you can turn the heating off a little earlier.

10. Make a wheat bag
You don't have to use wheat: rice will work just as well. Just make a cloth bag (or use an old sock) and fill it with rice, plus maybe a little lavender for the scent. Pop it in the microwave for a minute or two, and it'll keep you toasty for half an hour.

Most outrageous bill mistakes
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Most outrageous bill mistakes
Carol Sandford, 72, called 118 118 from her mobile phone unaware of the charges involved. Calls to the number cost £1.88 per call and there is also a £2.57 per minute charge from landlines. TalkTalk raises this to £5.68 for the first minute and £3.28 per minute after that. TalkTalk told Carol the charge £81.12 charge was correct but luckily 118 118 were kinder, offering to repay the charge in full. Read the full story here.
One Londoner was more than a little confused when his debit card was declined while he was trying to buy just six bottles of American craft beers. But he quickly realised that instead of the £22.30 he owed, he had been charged £223,000! It's thought he punched in the PIN number before the machine was ready and it added the numbers to the total. Luckily the 28-year-old saw the funny side and laughed the incident off. Read more on the story here.

Early Lewis from Detroit was amazed to find his water bill was almost 100 times as much as he was expecting. The bill claimed that Lewis had used 3,740 gallons of water in just one hour. Thankfully common sense prevailed and the Water and Sewage Department admitted it was a mistake and subsequently charged Lewis the $36 he should have been charged initially. Read more on this story here

George MacIntosh, 73, was charged a staggering £200 for premium-rate gambling texts he didn't intend to sign up for. Unfortunately this wasn't a scam but a legal service from a company called Zamano. It seems the retired vicar had accidentally signed up after responding to an initial text from the company. Read the full story here.
Philip Groves was amazed to receive a £1,411 bill from Vodafone last year for his 10-year-old daughter Trinity's phone. It turns out Trinity had watched 28 hours of instructional loom band videos on YouTube, assuming her phone was using wifi. But the wifi had cut out, leaving her phone using the data allowance at it's highest rate. Vodafone refused to cancel the bill and threatened legal action. Read more here
Daniel Pontin was in for quite a shock after opening a gas bill charging him £31,000 for a year's worth of gas in a one-bedroom home. Pontin claimed his meter was broken when he moved in and was initially charged £35 a month for six months before he stopped receiving bills. When the huge £31,000 estimated bill arrived Npower told Pontin to ignore it while they investigated. Read the full story here

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