As the colder winter months approach, you may be starting to spend a little more time indoors. As the evenings get darker you’ll be turning the lights on earlier, and you’ll be putting your boiler through its paces as the heating turns up. You may be one of the millions of people still working from home too, using extra power to run your laptop and boil up the kettle throughout the day.
All of this, combined with the rising cost of energy, means you’ll be using more energy, increasing your carbon footprint as well as your energy bill.
Here at Pure Planet, we split the annual cost of your energy a little differently to other suppliers. Rather than charging you the same amount throughout the year, we collect less in the summer months, when your energy usage is lower, and more in the winter months when you’re using more. We’re not charging you any more than you owe, just ensuring your monthly bill reflects the amount you’re actually using — we won’t sit on your money, or let you build up a big debt.
The winter payments increase comes into effect on 1 October each year, and it’s worth keeping this in mind as you budget for the coming months.
There’s also a number of proactive things you can do to keep your energy bills down this winter. Individually, their impact may be small, but collectively you can make a difference to what you pay, and cut your carbon emissions too.
Draught-proof your home
You’re paying to put heat into your home — don’t let it float straight back out again through draughty cracks under doors and around windows. According to the Energy Saving Trust, professional draught-proofing will set you back around £200, but could save you £25 a year on your energy bills, and help keep you toasty warm.
Prefer to do it yourself? Here’s some ways to draught-proof your home:
- Stick draught-proofing strips to window frames that open, and use silicone sealant on the ones that don’t (for sliding sash windows, you’ll need to use brush strips or get in a professional)
- Invest in a draught excluder for under doors — don’t forget to draught-proof internal doors as well as external ones
- Block off any cracks around your loft hatch — heat rises and you don’t want it wasted in your loft.
Just make sure you don’t block intentional ventilation like wall and trickle vents and extractor fans, and make sure there’s good ventilation in rooms with open fires or open flues, kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms.
Give your boiler some TLC
An efficient boiler will make a big difference to your energy bill. Make sure yours is in tip top condition with our partner Hometree. Hometree provides industry-leading boiler, heating and home care cover. No matter the age or model of your natural gas boiler it’s protected — and you’ll get 15% off a new one if it can’t be fixed.
Close your curtains
A super easy way to cut down on draughts in the winter months — close yours as soon as the sun sets.
Make the effort to open your curtains and blinds in the day though, to allow sunlight in to naturally warm your home.
Invest in your heating controls
You don’t have to invest in a whole new boiler to reduce the cost of your heating. Instead, consider upgrading or installing heating controls. A room thermostat, programmer and thermostatic radiator valves could save you around £75 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
Turn down your thermostat
If you turn your room thermostat down by one degree you can expect to decrease your carbon footprint by 310kg of carbon dioxide a year, and save £60. Make sure your thermostat is set to a comfortable temperature though, around 18 and 21 degrees Celsius.
Look at your insulation
According to the Energy Saving Trust, around a third of the heat lost in an uninsulated home gets out through the walls. So make sure your walls are properly insulated.
You might also be losing heat through your floors and roof, so consider how well they’re insulated too.
Floors: Just adding a rug to bare floorboards can help.
Don’t forget to insulate your pipes as well — foam tube insulation can help keep your water hot, reducing the amount of energy you need to use to heat it.
You might be surprised to hear that you could shave around £35 from your energy bill by simply turning appliances off, not just leaving them on standby. Make sure you’re turning things like your TV and phone charger off at the plug instead of just switching to standby.
Replace old bulbs with LED
Lighting accounts for around 15% of your energy bill. If you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to swap out old halogen bulbs for LED ones. You’ll save between £2 and £3 per year for each bulb you swap. That might not sound like much, but replacing a 50W halogen with the equivalent LED could save you £75 over its lifetime. And that’s not including the cost of all the replacement halogen bulbs you’d need to buy in the meantime.
Get a Smart meter
If you haven’t already made the swap to a Smart meter, now might be a good time. That’s because your Smart meter shows you precisely how much energy you’re using, so it’s easier to make changes.
If you’re a Pure Planet Member, we’ll be in touch when our engineers are ready to install Smart meters in your area. Find out more about Smart meters here.
Get extra support
Help is available if you’re worried about paying your energy bills this winter. This includes government schemes, like the Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payments, and advice, support and tips from charities and organisations like Citizens Advice and Stepchange.
Don’t forget to let us know if you’re struggling to pay your bills too, so that we can help. Tap Help in the app, then ‘Ask a question’ and let WattBot know you’re struggling to pay your bills.