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EASY ENERGY and Money Saving Help

Ofgem’s energy price cap was planned to happen on 1st October 2022, a substantial increase from the previous price cap. This is worrying and is likely to lead to a very hard winter for many of us. Now is perhaps not a good time to switch energy supplier as they are all in the same situation and can’t offer a better deal at the moment. Simply the best way to reduce energy bills, is to use less, which means conserving energy in a variety of ways. We can stop wasting energy by helping to make our home more energy efficient and/or changing what we do to try and consume less.

Using less energy and saving on our heating bills makes sense financially and for the planet. Turning our heating down to 18 degrees (Considered to be the lowest temperature we need at home to maintain good health) can help save a considerable amount. Also, wearing warm clothes indoors and switching off any electrical items not in use like lights, TV, computers, consoles etc., will also cut down bills and energy use. (Although fridges and freezers should always be left on).

Below, we have gathered plenty of simple, cost-effective suggestions from a variety of sources, to help save energy at home and to stay warm this winter. This is not about major changes and expense like retrofitting the whole house or investing in solar panels and heat pumps - although they are all very important ways to save energy.

No, instead these are small, even obvious, everyday things that we can all try at home. If we do, some or even all of these will help to reduce our energy use and bills although we may have to think and do things a little differently than we are used to!

 

Using Less Energy

Making homes energy efficient – Stopping heat loss

Most of the heat in our homes is lost through draughty doors, windows and through the roof. More insulation will help. If you can afford double or even triple glazed windows and increase loft insulation that will help a great deal.

However, if you are on a low budget then there are a few cheap, simple suggestions that can work too.

Door draught excluders

Fit draught excluders around doors and window frames to seal up gaps, most hardware shops sell them. Even a fabric pillow sausage bought or made from rolled up material will stop some heat loss if put at the bottom of the door. As a last resort try stuffing rolled up paper or rags into cracks and keyholes!

Covering Windows and Doors

Before modern central heating, many people had a curtain pole inside, over the front door with a long thick heavy curtain hanging from it to keep out draughts and retain heat. Also, at the window, lined curtains kept the room warm. These days houses may not have any curtains only blinds which do not fully cover the windows. In colder weather, closing a pair of warm curtains when it gets dark, will help to retain heat and cut down on energy loss and those bills. The cheapest way to achieve this is to get some thick curtains from a charity shop then hang them at home. For a door curtain, fix a curtain pole or even a broom handle will do with some curtain rings to hang it up. Keep those doors and windows closed too so precious heat doesn’t escape.

Reflective radiator foil

Some people say this works to reflect heat back into the room. You can buy some but instead, first try sliding a large sheet of aluminium foil behind the radiator, shiny side facing the radiator back, then fix it with tape or drawing pins to the wall or under the windowsill.

Exterior vent cover

You can buy vent covers but you can also just lean a piece of wood or brick at an angle over the air vent outside (so air can still escape as it needs to circulate in a room and escape through the air brick or vent) but if an icy cold wind is blowing right through from outside it helps to partially cover the vent!

Chimney draught excluder

If you have an open fireplace, you can buy these to help stop warm air escaping through the chimney or letting cold air come in. Alternatively, you can stuff an old pillow or newspapers up the chimney to keep out the draught – just be sure to leave a little gap to let some air escape and to remember it’s up there and REMOVE IT BEFORE lighting a fire!

 

Doing Things Differently

Here is where we may have to think and do things a little differently than before!

Save Energy by Heating Less Hot Water

Heating water uses a huge amount of energy whether by gas or electricity. The best way to reduce bills and energy use is to heat less water.

Shower or Bath?

☺ A shower heats less water so is cheaper than a bath

☺ Shorter showers are cheaper too

☺ Showering less often in a week is usually Ok and saves more money

Doing the Washing

☺ Using a washing machine in the evening can be cheaper

☺ Use the machine less often but do more while the machine is still warm

☺ Having clean underwear daily is fine but is it really necessary to wash outer clothes after just one day of wear? Hanging them up to air outside or by a window overnight should be fine

☺ If you can, dry clothes outside on a line rather than tumble dry or hang them up to catch the warmth of any sun. Avoid wearing damp clothes.

 

Save by Adapting What You Do

Eating and Drinking

☺ Have a thermos by the kettle. Fill kettle and boil. When boiled make tea/coffee and put excess hot water into thermos flasks to use in the kettle next time. It will take less time and less energy to come to the boil

☺ A Microwave uses less energy than the hob or oven

☺ A slow cooker uses less energy than the oven

☺ Have at least one hot meal in the day

☺ If you can afford it, an induction hob uses less energy than gas or other types – you can also get portable single or double induction hobs

 

Keeping Warm - (Good for all but especially older and very young people)

☺ Natural fibres like wool and cotton keep you warmer than synthetic ones

☺ Lots of layers keep you warmer than just a couple

☺ No-one should mind what you look like indoors, being warm is important!

☺ Put a coat on if needed, a shawl, duvet or sleeping bag if sitting for a while

☺ Keep your head, hands and feet warm – wear hats and gloves if needed – bed socks and a cardigan at night

☺ The most important part of your body to keep warm is your core area (the bit below your neck and above your hips) gilets or sleeveless jackets are good for keeping this area warm.

☺ Microwavable handwarmers and wheat bags are good for a quick warm up

☺ Have plenty of hot drinks to warm your insides

☺ Keep a hot water bottle handy and ready to be filled when needed

☺ Only heat the rooms you often use turn thermostats down in the others

☺ Move furniture away from radiators or heater to allow warmth to circulate

 

Keeping Warm and Active!

☺ If we sit still, we get colder, keep moving to keep the blood circulating.

☺ Try some simple exercises during the day even if you are sitting down.

☺ Children can run up and down stairs if you have them, or do some star jumps ....maybe see if they can run on the spot for 5 minutes – make it a game or a competition

☺ Try to go for a 30-minute brisk walk outside every day (wrap up well)

☺ If they are open, go to a library, a café, pub or community hall for a warm!

 

ENERGY SAVING and Money Saving help
Energy Saving Trust Advice to make your home more energy efficient, reduce
carbon emissions and lower energy bills

https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/energy-at-home/

Energy Saving Trust - Reducing home heat loss advice

https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/energy-at-home/reducing-home-heat-loss/

Government Website - Ways to save energy in your home interactive website
https://www.gov.uk/improve-energy-efficiency

Ofgem Find schemes, grants and benefits to help with home energy
https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/save-energy-and-reduce-your-bills-schemes-and-grants

Citizens Advice Bureau - General help / advice about energy saving and bills
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/

CAB - General help and advice about energy saving and bills
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/get-help-paying-your-bills/make-sure-your-home-is-energy-efficient/

Citizens Advice Bureau and Energy Savings Trust Easy Read LeafletEasy_Read_Energy-
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1HsVA-vtXZ8vvIod0p89N_IzirS6s-Szm

Beat the Cold  - Energy Advice Independent charity working to reduce the incidence of cold related illness and fuel poverty.  Advisers are trained to give energy advice; they follow agency policies on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults; and they are all subject to an enhanced CRB check.   All visits are by appointment only.

https://www.beatcold.org.uk/  or Phone 01782 914915

Staffordshire Warmer Homes - Run by Staffordshire County Council, in partnership with district/borough councils to combat fuel poverty and help residents heat their homes for less.

https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/Warmer-Homes/Staffordshire-Warmer-Homes.aspx