From eco kettles and smart heating controls to covering the windows with cling film… the small changes that can result in big savings Beat the bill squeeze

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  • Washing machines and dishwashers account for 15% of the total energy bill
  • Consumers should consider using environment and low temperature settings
  • Avoid placing furniture in front of a radiator as it will absorb heat
  • Any person working from home can apply for tax relief on gas and electricity

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Whether it’s putting on a woolen jumper and turning down the thermostat or covering windows with cling film, there are tons of ways to cut energy bills this winter.

Record wholesale gas prices and the collapse of a dozen energy firms providing cheap tariffs mean that many of us are preparing ourselves ahead of cold weather.

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So, with the help of the Energy Saving Trust, MoneyMail has put together a guide to the small changes you can make to reduce your heating bills and protect your cash.

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There are small changes that can be made around the house that can add up to big savings.

Gadgets That Increase Power

You can save a lot of energy by turning off the light switches and plug sockets when you leave the room.

But make sure you’re not overlooking the biggest culprit in your home: your laundry equipment.

Washing machines and dishwashers account for 25 percent of the average household’s electricity use and 15 percent of the total energy bill.

This makes them the biggest contributor to our electricity bills.

To keep costs down, the Energy Saving Trust recommends using appliances only when they are full.

And homes should be careful to use eco and low temperature settings. Reducing the temperature on the washing load by 30 degrees can cut electricity use by 57 percent.

Fewer energy charges also mean it is cheaper to run washing machines and other appliances at night.

The second biggest drain on our power resources is consumer electronics.

Electronics – such as laptops, TVs and game consoles – now account for 19 percent of our electricity use and 9 percent of our energy bills.

Changing the temperature by 30 degrees on the washing load can cut electricity usage by 57%

Changing the temperature by 30 degrees on the washing load can cut electricity usage by 57%

Simply turning them off standby after leaving a room can save you up to £35 a year.

TVs have been particularly dry. So when buying a new appliance, remember that its size has a greater impact on bills than the energy rating. Cooking appliances are the third biggest hit on electricity bills.

About 19 percent of a household’s electricity usage is spent on powering kitchen appliances, including hob, oven, kettle and microwave.

Where possible, costs can be saved by using more of your microwave – which is more energy efficient than an oven.

Experts also recommend investing in an eco kettle that keeps water hot for up to four hours after it first boils.

Cold appliances like fridges and freezers make up the fourth biggest drain on electricity use. Avoid overloading these as this can increase their energy usage.

The fifth worst offender for electricity usage is lighting and experts recommend switching to halogen bulbs to LEDs – which are much more efficient.

Make sure you keep the heat in

To make sure you get the most out of your radiators, avoid placing furniture in front of them as it will absorb heat.

Tashema Jackson from comparison site Energy Helpline says that some homes have reflective panels installed behind radiators to let heat escape.

She also says that applying cling film around windows can keep warm air inside your home, acting as a protective layer.

Hot Tip: To get the most out of your radiators, avoid placing furniture in front of them

Hot Tip: To get the most out of your radiators, avoid placing furniture in front of them

And she says it’s worth keeping the heating on only when you’re at home.

She adds: ‘It takes a lot of energy to keep your radiators warm all day. It is best to only heat your home when you are there to feel the benefits.

‘Try turning up the heating a half hour before you normally wake up so you don’t have to be afraid to pull out your sheets.’

The Energy Saving Trust recommends setting your thermostat to the lowest temperature you’re comfortable with. This is usually between 18c and 21c.

bright ways to be smart

Consider investing in smart heating controls to keep you safe from rising energy costs.

These controls can help you benefit from a smart or time-of-use energy tariff that uses cheap, low-carbon electricity when it is available.

Time-of-use tariffs only work with homes that have an installed smart meter that communicates with energy suppliers through a secure data network.

UK wholesale energy prices updated every 30 minutes. When wholesale prices drop, so can your bills on this type of tariff.

Smart heating controls can help you benefit from a smart or time-of-use energy tariff that uses affordable, low-carbon electricity when it's available

Smart heating controls can help you benefit from a smart or time-of-use energy tariff that uses affordable, low-carbon electricity when it’s available

You can save more if you shift your daily electricity usage outside of peak times.

The occupants of a typical three-bedroom, semi-detached gas-heated home can save around £70 per year if they install and use a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves correctly.

Lowering the room thermostat by one degree can save you £55 a year.

You can manage your heating controls through a variety of apps and products.

For example, the Hive app allows you to switch your heating on and off and up and down even when you’re out of the house.

Don’t Forget Tax Savings

The pandemic has changed the way many of us work – and there is no doubt that it is affecting our household spending.

Although working from home a few days a week has reduced commuting costs for some, it also means using more energy at home. But you can claim some tax relief on these outgoings.

Anyone who regularly works from home – whether part-time or full-time – can apply to HMRC for tax relief on gas and electricity, metered water and business phone calls, including dial-up Internet access.

You can claim relief immediately at £6 per week —…

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