We’re all looking for energy saving tips as we head into what could be a financially frigid winter. Between the rising price of natural gas, increasing inflation and a “perfect storm” of pressures across the UK economy, understanding how to keep your energy bills lows is a great way to take some of the pressure off.

Right now, it’s looking like we’ll be paying over £300 more for our household energy in 2022 on average. The cap on the prices suppliers are allowed to charge have been raised, and could well be set to go even higher next year. It’s a financially painful time for most of us already, with the poorest getting hit the hardest as a percentage of their total household incomes. At the same time, National Insurance is on the rise, the tax-free Personal Allowance has been frozen and there’s a lot of worry about possible Council Tax increases.

So, what can we do to keep warm this winter without burning too much cash?

1) Switch energy supplier for a better deal

If you don’t pay much attention to your tariff, then this could be your best shot at keeping energy bills low. You might have started out on a fixed tariff, but once it expires you’ll probably find yourself getting shunted onto a variable one. Over time, you could be seeing your bills go up by potentially hundreds of pounds. Price comparison websites are a good way to check out the competition – but always check across multiple sites. Oddly, you can sometimes find different deals being offered by the same suppliers.

2) Take control with a thermostat

If you don’t already have a thermostat fitted to your heating system, it’s a good idea to get one if you can. Taking control of your energy usage is a great way of bringing the costs down, and even dialling down your thermostat by 1 degree can trim over £50 off your heating bills each year. If you’ve got separate controls for the heaters in your house, shut off or dial down the ones that aren’t pulling their weight. Warming up a room that no one’s using is just a waste of money.

3) Insulate yourself against energy price increases

We’re not just talking about wall and roof insulation here – although you should definitely be using those if you’re serious about bringing your energy bills down. In fact, even if your insulation’s pretty good, your home could still be losing heat unnecessarily if it’s draughty. Windows, doors and even loft hatches are the usual suspects here, and they can all be draught-proofed. Think about your letterbox and chimney as well. Some people even recommend using inflatable pillows to block unused fireplaces, for instance.

4) A word about boilers

If you’re already replacing your old boiler, upgrading to a more energy efficient one is a great idea. That’s a big, expensive step – but even your existing appliance can be made more efficient and cheaper to run if you insulate the pipes. This kind of insulation’s really just a foam cylinder you slip over exposed water pipes. Again, it’s all about not losing more heat than necessary.

5) Cut back on what you’re burning

From the electricity you’re blowing through by leaving everything on standby to the cash you’re splashing on wasted water, there are things you can do to cut your energy bills. Here are just a few everyday examples:

  • Taking showers instead of baths – and using a water-efficient shower head.
  • Switching to energy-saving LED lightbulbs.
  • Turning appliances off instead of setting them on standby.
  • Never running dishwashers or washing machines half-empty.

6) Fix your money leaks

While you’re searching for energy saving tips, think about the money you’re letting escape from your household budget. There’s actually some help out there for struggling families in the form of the Warm Home Discount, for instance. Under this scheme, you could qualify for a single payment of £140 toward your energy bills, going straight to your supplier. The thing is, you have to apply for it to get it, and it only counts between October and March. If you qualify, though, they’ll knock the amount off your bill.

Now for the big one. While claiming your tax refund from HMRC won’t bring down your energy bills in itself, it could still set you up for a much warmer winter. Every year, HMRC ends up sitting on millions of pounds in overpaid tax – and that money could be the key to Christmas for families across the UK. Again, though, you have to claim it, which is what trips people up if they don’t understand the system. When it comes to tackling the taxman, getting the right help makes all the difference – and that’s where RIFT comes in.

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