Warmth and energy efficiency
Keep your bills down
- Draw the curtains at dusk, close doors behind you, keep windows and doors closed when the heating is on (although if using a gas heater make sure the room is ventilated with a flue).
- Switch off lights when leaving each room.
- Make sure your loft has 250mm (10inches) of loft insulation
- Fit foil behind radiators to reflect heat back in the room.
- Don't overfill your kettle - only put in the water you need.
- Switch off the TV - standby uses nearly as much power as when it's fully on Your hot water tank should be set to around 60°C.
- Wash clothes and linen at 30 or 40°C (modern detergents perform better).
- Take a shower - it uses less water than a bath.
Call the Energy Efficiency Advice Centre free on 0800 512 012 or visit the Energy Saving Trust's website.
Paying your bills
If you are struggling to pay gas or electricity bills, contact your supplier as soon as possible to avoid debt mounting up. They will have payment schemes that let you spread your bill out over the year. The Home Heat Helpline 0800 33 66 99 can offer advice on this.
Before you do that, it's also a good idea to contact Consumer Focus. They offer free, independent advice, as does your local Citizens Advice Bureau, Age Concern and the Home Heat helpline.
As well as advice on bills, Consumer Focus can help take up complaints, help you switch suppliers, register you for free services through your supplier, and let you know about grants and benefits that you may be missing out on.