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TENANTS: 7 ways to reduce your heating bill during winter months

Having the heating on more than doubles your energy usage – so your bills during the winter are much higher than in the summer months. No-one enjoys spending their money on utilities, so it’s important to do what you can to reduce the cost.

Whether you own your own home or rent the property, there are plenty of steps you can take that can make a real difference – and won’t cause too much hassle. Here are seven great ways to reduce your heating bill in the winter:

1. Turn the thermostat down. Some people like to have the house so warm that they can wear t-shirts and shorts indoors – but that comes at a big cost! Instead, set the thermostat at a cooler, but comfortable temperature. Don’t crank up the heat, invest in a snuggly jumper and some cosy slippers instead.

2. Programme your system. Make sure you’re using the timer on your heating system to best effect. Set heating and hot water to be on when you need it – don’t waste energy heating an empty house. There’s also little point in having the heat on right up until you leave for work or get in bed; set it to switch off 30 minutes beforehand. The house will stay warm in the meantime.

3. Don’t heat empty rooms. If there are rooms that you don’t use much – a spare room or conservatory for example, turn the radiators in them off. Keep the doors closed and you will save a tidy amount on your bill.

4. Reduce If your property is fully double glazed and has UPVC doors, you probably won’t experience draughts, but older properties can leak heating via cracks around doors and windows. Blocking these draughts can help your home feel warmer and, importantly, stop your valuable warm air from escaping. Buy or make a door snake, and consider covering draughty windows with plastic film.

5. Switch suppliers. If you’ve been with your energy provider for a year or more, it’s nearly always worth shopping around for a new deal. People often save £200-300 a year by switching providers, and it’s a simple process.

6. Keep the heat in. If you’re cooking or showering, don’t use fans or open windows to suck out the heat. Instead, open the doors to share the additional warmth with other rooms. Steam can help you feel warmer – humid air feels hotter than dry air, so leave that bathroom fan off.

7. Free up your radiators. Is your bed or sofa pushed up against the radiator? If so, you’re heating your furniture, not the house. Make sure that all your radiators are clear of obstacles so that they can do their job efficiently.

If your home is extremely cold or your bills seem extreme, have a chat with your landlord. They may be able to help by improving the insulation in the loft or installing a more efficient boiler. But do bear in mind that some winters are simply colder than others. If temperatures plunge this year, chances are it will be warmer – and cheaper – next year.