Not enough money to heat your home? Not sure how to save energy and cut down costs? Curo Money Advisor Sarah Rogers shares her money-saving tips for anyone on a low income and struggling with energy bills. Being energy efficient not only helps the environment, it will put more money in your pocket...
Did you know we use three times as much energy in the winter than in the summer? If you put this into £s and you spend £1400 a year on energy, you’ll be spending £43 a week in the winter compared to £15 a week in summer. If you’re on a low income or have a home that’s not so energy efficient, staying warm can feel like a real challenge. Here are 12 things you could do to use less energy and save money:
- Wash full loads at 30 degrees. This is for clothes if you have a washing machine, and set to economy for dishes if you have a dishwasher. When drying cloths avoid doing this on radiators as this can cause damp and mould. A clothes dryer over a bath or in the bathroom/kitchen with the door shut is a good idea; outside is even better.
- Heating is the number one energy cost, so set your heating and hot water on a timer if you can. Set you boiler thermostat to 60 degrees C, (140 degrees F). If you have central heating the recommended temperature for all rooms is 18 degrees C day and night - here's how to set your room thermostat and timer. This can be slightly higher if you are elderly or have a medical condition as the heat maybe beneficial for your health.
- Always have furniture away from any radiators – furniture will absorb the heat. Set the thermostatic valve on your radiators to low for rooms you do not use.
- When using a room keep the door closed to maintain the heat and turn the heat down in rooms you don’t use. If your radiators are cold at the top, but hot at the bottom, they may need bleeding. It’s easy to fix this – here’s how.
- If you’re replacing appliances go for low energy appliances that are Energy Star Certified. You will notice all appliances are rated A to G, A being the most efficient.
- Don’t leave appliances on standby. Did you know that the average household leaves 10-15 items on standby, each item costs about £10 a year so if you have 15 that’s £150. Better to turn them off.
- Set your fridge to 3 degrees C and the freezer to -18 degrees C as this is an appliance that’s on 24/7.
- Turn lights off when not needed, open blinds and curtains to let natural light in and use energy efficient lightbulbs. Energy saving light bulbs last 8-12 times longer that incandescent bulbs, they will cost more initially but savings will be considerable over time. We have 70 energy saving bulbs to give away, first-come-first-serve, one per household. Call in to The Maltings or send us a message – please bring some ID.
- Draught-proof your windows, heat can escape and cold air can get in through any gaps in windows, doors, key holes and letterboxes. Heavy curtains are really beneficial as well.
- Put reflective foil behind your radiators. You can get this from most DIY stores. It should be fixed behind radiators on external walls, this will throw more heat out in the room.
- Shop around to find the cheapest energy supplier. To switch energy suppliers, you only need your postcode, a recent energy bill (or the ability to answer a few questions) and about 10 minutes of your time. You can switch your gas and electricity energy supplier by phone or online with a trusted energy price comparison site. If you’ve never switched you could save £300 a year on your energy bills.
- If you’re on a low income or in receipt of guaranteed pension credit you could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2019/2020 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The money is not paid to you – it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between September and March. You may be able to get the discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity. Contact your supplier to find out. This discount will not affect your cold weather payment or winter fuel payment if you receive this.
Our message to any Curo customers struggling to pay their bills is always to get in touch with our Customer Accounts Team as soon as possible. Help’s available and you’re always better off talking to us.