Did you go without heat at home this winter?
If so, you're not alone...
We didn’t have the worst winter ever, but we still had plenty of wet, windy and cold days.
Despite that, research published by Switcher.ie today shows that seven in 10 people in Irish households went without heating at some point over the winter to keep costs down.
It may sound like a lot of households going without heat, but it’s perhaps not surprising when you consider the average household energy bill now stands at €2,060 per year.
So, if you’re one of the many who went without heat this winter, how can you make sure you don’t have to do so again when next winter rolls around?
See if you’re eligible for any energy schemes
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, recently announcing an expansion of the Warmer Homes Scheme and the Warmth&Wellbeing Scheme, in a bid to tackle energy and fuel poverty.
Under these schemes, eligible consumers can get energy-efficiency improvements made to their home free of charge, including things like:
- attic insulation,
- lagging jackets, and
- cavity wall insulation.
So, it’s definitely worth checking if you’re eligible for these schemes and availing of the supports available.
Even if you’re not eligible, talk to your energy supplier(s) or the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) about other grants or financial help that is available to install energy saving measures - things like insulation could really help when it comes around to winter again.
Make some small changes
No-one wants to spend dark evenings doing DIY. But now that the days are getting brighter, making a few small changes around the house could help you to keep out the chill next winter.
- Firstly, seal off any draughts. Most draughts come in through the gaps around the windows and doors. Investing in brush strips - which you attach to the end of the door - will really help. For windows, you can use silicone to seal off draughts around the frame.
- Change to energy efficient light bulbs. There will be an initial cost outlay, but each bulb you replace will save you money in the long-run as energy efficient bulbs use a fraction of the electricity of an ordinary light bulb and last up to 10 times longer.
- Make sure to bleed your radiators. Maintaining your radiator is key to its efficiency, so take the time while the weather’s better to bleed all of your radiators to make sure they’re all in top working order. If this seems like too much work to do regularly, you can attach an automatic radiator bleeder to remove all of the built-up air in the system. They cost about €15 and can save you a lot of time and hassle.
Read more tips in our guides to energy saving.
Switch energy supplier now and really see the difference
According to Eoin Clarke, Managing Director of Switcher.ie, by far the biggest saving on energy bills can be made by switching to a cheaper supplier or a better tariff.
He said: “The average household can save up to a huge €402 by switching from standard energy tariffs to the cheapest deals on the market. This could go a long way towards helping you to heat your home in the winter.”
For more information, have a look at the cheapest deals on the market.