Being energy savvy

The increase in energy bills has hit us all over the past few months and prices are set to rise again over the coming seasons. We've put together practical advice and signposting links to the support available.

Heating your home

While being cosy may seem like an indulgence, it’s vital that you keep your home no colder than 18 degrees centigrade in order to keep your family healthy, particularly if you have anyone very young, very old or living with a long-term health condition in your household.

Although it may feel like an uphill battle there are things you can do to minimise your bills and there’s support available to give you a hand. Visit our warm homes pages to find out more about steps you can take to reduce your bills and make your home more energy efficient.

The warm homes team have access to support, information and advice on:

  • Energy saving devices including:
    • Draughtproofing
    • Reflective radiator panels
    • LED light bulbs
    • Pipe lagging
    • Hot water tank jackets
    • Water saving devices
  • Practical help to access grants for free boilers, central heating systems and insulation
  • Support with fuel debt
  • Benefit entitlement checks
  • Making your home more energy efficient and better for the environment

The sooner you act, and the more steps you take to get your home winter ready the better. You can access the support on our warm homes pages or by calling 01942 404261. You may need to meet low-income criteria to access some of the support.

Cheap ways to save on your energy bills

  • Cut out the drafts - Close all internal doors and use draft excluders (you can use old towels if you don’t have any ready-made ones) and heavy door curtains to minimise drafts. You can also buy sticky 'weather stripping' from DIY stores that you can use to plug any gaps
  • Rearrange the furniture -  Move furniture away from radiators so heat is clear to move around the room. Keep sofas and beds away from external walls if possible, as they will be colder in these locations
  • Don’t waste the heat - Leave your oven door open after cooking a meal so the warmth isn’t wasted
  • Fit a shelf above your radiator - This can be useful, but also forces hot air outwards to circulate around the room rather than going straight up to the ceiling. You can also use reflective foil or sheeting behind your radiators to bounce the heat away from the walls and back into the room
  • Check for cold spots - If you have cold spots on your radiators this means that there is air trapped inside and they may need bleeding (letting all the water out of them) to make sure they work properly. You can find instructions on how to do this online
  • Close the curtains - Curtains help keep warm air in, so consider closing them earlier in the evening, or keeping them closed if you’re out all day to minimise the amount of heat escaping
  • Prioritise - Chose one or two rooms that you spend the most time and concentrate on heating them. You can switch off the radiators and close the doors on any rooms you don’t use or are only likely to use briefly, that way you’re only spending your money where it matters
  • Keep yourself warm - As well as thinking about your home, think about heating yourself inside and out. Wear warm clothes (lots of thin layers are warmer than a thick jumper) and drink hot drinks. Staying active is also a great way to keep warm so do housework or online exercise videos to keep your blood pumping. When you do need to rest, hot water bottles, reusable heat pads, blankets and microwaveable bean bags can stop the chill biting. You can even sit on them to warm yourself from the bottom up! It’s best to start using them when you first sit down, rather than waiting to feel the cold
  • Insulate your hot water pipes and hot water tank - Hot water tank jackets can cost around £17 but can save you much more than this over just a couple of months.

Warm, Welcoming Spaces (Warm Banks)

If you are struggling to keep yourself and your home warm there a number of locations across the borough that are opening up their doors to residents, no matter what your circumstances you can come along and keep warm without fear of judgement.

Other ways to save money on energy bills

There’s lots of ways you can cut back your fuel consumption, it’s just a case of getting into new habits. Although you may feel like you’re only saving a small amount of energy for each change they can all add up and help you see a difference when the bill lands on your mat.

  • Switch of lights in rooms when you’re not using them
  • Avoid baths and keep showers to less than 4 minutes
  • Use no more than a 30 degree cycle on your washing machine and avoid using the tumble dryer as much as possible. Try and cut down the number of loads of washing you do each week
  • Limit the use of the dishwasher, and only switch it on when it’s completely full.
  • Don’t leave electrical devices on standby and switch of as many things as possible at the wall over night
  • Unplug devices once they have fully charged. If you leave a charger in a plug socket not attached to a device, it will still continue to output charge into the air and cost you money, so make sure you unplug them as soon as you’re able
  • Get a smart meter to closely monitor your fuel consumption, challenge your self to reduce your fuel usage each week. If you have children get them involved, you could reward them with stickers or a small treat each week if they manage to keep the bills down
  • Replace any old bulbs with LED light fittings which are much more energy efficient
  • Get to know your gas and electrical bills so you can identify any issues - watch this video on understanding what each section of your energy bill means (external link)
  • Visit our pages on eating healthily, affordably and fuel efficiently to get information on how you can save energy while cooking for you and your family.

© Wigan Council