Winter Energy SaversWhen the nights draw in and the chill of winter hits our homes it’s the time to wrap up warm and enjoy the indoors. Unfortunately, it’s also the season that we tend to rack up high energy bills – especially after all the major energy companies raised their prices throughout 2010.

However there are ways to minimize the blow to your wallet this winter and still keep your home snug. If you’re smarter with the energy you use and prepare your property in advance of cold weather, you can keep winter energy costs as low as possible.

Insulate your Home

A lot of the energy we use to heat our homes is wasted due to properties being ill-prepared and under-insulated. Up to a third of heat produced in the home is lost through the walls, but some forward planning before the cold snap starts will help to retain as much heat in your home as possible.

Consider installing cavity wall insulation. This helps to keep heat inside the home and evenly distributes it around each room. Cavity wall insulation works by being injected into the cavity between the inner and outer layers of brickwork in your external wall and acting as a barrier to heat loss. Insulating your walls will cost around £260 for an average sized home, but with an annual energy bill reduction of £130-160, the investment will pay for itself after two years.

Invest in Draught Excluders

There are also some energy saving tricks you can put into action straightaway. Firstly, install draught excluders underneath all your doors. This is a quick and simple way to retain energy in each room by stopping cold draughts from circulating. Draught excluders can be inexpensively purchased from hardware and DIY shops, or you can make your own ‘door snake’ with leftover carpet cuttings and materials.

Similarly, you should also draught proof all windows in the home, particularly single glazed panes. Applying a sealant or self-adhesive strip will achieve this at a reasonable cost. Alternatively, investing in double glazing throughout your home will also reduce escaping heat significantly. If you’re unable to double glaze your entire property, think about double glazing for the rooms you tend to use and heat the most.

Keep Your Boiler in Good Shape

Your boiler going on the blink in the middle of winter can be both a cold and expensive inconvenience. Give your boiler an MOT before the winter months, and consider the benefits of taking out heating cover for your boiler. This will protect you from an unexpected repair bill if the worst does happen.

The average boiler lasts between 10-15 years, so next time you’re replacing yours, invest in a high efficiency condensing boiler that can cut your energy bills by £190-240 a year and significantly cut CO2 emissions. Or an extra money saver for your existing boiler is to fit an insulating jacket.

Take a Closer Look at your Energy Bills

Make sure you’re with the best value energy supplier before winter draws in and your bills start increasing. You should check if your current provider has any offers that you’re not currently taking advantage of. It’s also worth carrying out a check of tariffs offered by other energy suppliers. Try using an impartial comparison and switching website to see if you could save money by switching to another energy supplier.