How do you answer the following questions?
You spend some quality time in the home. You don't heat it to tropical temperatures, but its too expensive!

Staying warm for less money?
 You want to spend less and save more on heating costs, but are not sure if you are using the correct fuel

Want to be energy efficient in the home?
You've tackled all the basics: energy-saving light bulbs, etc, but feel you could still be doing more...

What about government grants in order to insulate or heat the home?
Make sure you get what you are owed in your district - included in the guide.

Tip 1: Have you enough insulation - really!
Current regulations specify anything up to 10 INCHES of insulation , evenly distriibuted throughout the loft space as a MINIMUM. Many people see a little loft insulation and assume that's enough. Remember the 10 inch rule, and if you don't have enough, and don't want to pay in full for it, check with your local authority as you may, even if fully employed and NOT on benefits, be able to claim back part or ALL of the outlay in insulatiing the loft space appropriately to an energy-saving standard that is considered acceptable locallly.

Tip 1(b)It doesn't stop with the loft...
Check that the walls are insulated, especially if you have not lived in the house very long. If you are a tenant, ask the landlord if all the insulation is to an acceptable, up-to-date standard. Cold air can get in many places: through draughty windows, the letterbox, under the floor, through ill-fitting doors and so on. With care, you can check quite easily by holding a candle near any suspicious areas. (CARE: don't set the curtains, or anything else, on fire!) The money spent in repairing these issues, which may even be nil if you are a handy diy'er, will all contribute towards saving money on heating the home.  Use draught excluders around the doors and windows where you are unsure -- its easy to do, and turns a draughty house into a toasty-warm one!

Tip 4:  Dont put wet washing on the radiators!

You are stopping your radiatiors doing what they do best: heating the air so it can radiate around the room!
Consider buying a heated airer -- or, better still, put the clothes out in the sunshine to dry. Even on some cold winter's days, it works! At a push, you can opt for the old-fashioned 'clothes-horse'-- but put it away from the radiator, so that the whole room is heated and the radiator is not prevented from working effectively.

Tip 5: Heat the room you spend most time in

What's the point in heating the whole house, if your favorite position is in one room? Modern radiators have thermostatic valves. Simply turn these right down to 1 in the rooms you are not using (not OFF else you might get problems with damp), and set a comfortable setting in the room you are in. Make sure the heating thermostat is where you are, though -- if its in a cold room, the heating will stay on constantly! This is why its a great idea to have a portable thermostat fitted. You can take it with you to your favorite room.

Tip 6: Don't run the heating flat out!

You've heard it many times, and its worth repeating here: if you turn down the heating by just one degree C, you might save up to 10 percent of the heating bill compared to before. It's a no brainer. Will you really feel another degree colder?

Tip 7: Use the curtains to trap heat

As well as opening the curtains to let in the sunshine in the morning, which naturally heats the home whatever the season, close them just before dusk to trap the heat  where you want it -- in the house!
You can even get special curtain linings these days that help the curtains to trap the heat better. They simply stitch or attach to the back of the curtains. You can cut down on heat lost this way by up to 25%.

Tip 8: The ol' tin foil trick...
Its not an old wives' tale -- its true! Stick tin foil BEHIND the radiators to increase their efficiency. Get the shiny side of the foil right next to the rad' (or as close as you can) using wallpaper paste or even sticky tape. Then you can try turning down the setting on the radiator to see that it really works! If you don't fancy using decent kitchen foil for the job, many DIY outlets sell them specifically. Look out for them!

Tip 9: Keep your heating boiler checked out and working properly
Whether you use a natural gas boiler, or an oil-fired boiler, be sure to get the boiler serviced at east yearly. Boiler servicing ensures your boiler is in tip-top condition, and runs efficiently. Above all, a 'gas safe' boiler engineer (or the equivalent in your locality -- an accredited natural gas boiler engineer) must be used, so you can be sure your boiler and heating system is both efficient and safe!

Tip 10: Natural gas or oil is generally cheaper, and more controllable than heating with electricity
If you have access to natural gas in your home -- use it! Gas prices per KWh (kiloWatt hour is the measure of 'work' done by the heating system) are lower than electricity prices, mainly because an awful lot of electricity is generated by gas-fired electricity generators. Upshot -- you get a lot more heat for your money when using natural gas. Couple this with a modern combi boiler, and you have the best efficiency available. The only time that electricity might be cheaper than natural gas is when you are in a position to generate your own electricity (perhaps through solar panels). Even then, the peak of generating energy is in the height of daytime -- whilst we tend to use energy for heating on dark nights...
Let's start right at the beginning: the first and perhaps most obvious way to keep billls low is to pay less for the energy in the first place, by choosing the correct provider. In markets where there is competition, you could save many hundreds each year by changing your energy supplier. Whether you heat with natural gas, or electricity, the various money-supermarket type sites will show you the way.

Just be sure to have a recent bill handy as you wiill need to enter information from it in order to get a fair comparison. Please don't think you are the special case that won't save a significant amount money like this. I say this, because research shows a staggering number of people, given the choice to change to a potentially cheaper energy provider, just stay put, thinking its simply too much hassle to go through. Don't be one of them!
More tips and advice on heating your home  this winter:

Tip 3 to staying warm at home: DIY: -- lliterally!

This tip brings a whole new meaning to 'Do It Yourself'! You can save money on home heating bills by feeliing warmer in yourself. Do this by being sensible with the clothes you wear; suitable attire for a cold winter's day -- though not necessariy the height of fashion-- may mean putting on two warm pullovers, or even wearing a Grandma-knitted thick woolly jumper!

Do some exercise: Its proven that spending 20 minutes a day doing even simple exercises (I'm not talking about a home gym here!) will get your body working, so you are less likely to feel the cold in the first place. The next time you feel chilly, get up and at 'em with the vacuum cleaner, and have some fun working some exercises at the same time!

Quit smoking. OK, I'm not gonna bang on about this (being a smoker myself) but the medical research shows that smoking slows the body's circulation, making you more likely to feel the cold.

At night-time, turn the heating OFF. Just take a simple hot water bottle with you to tuck under a cosy extra blanket on top of a duvet. In no time, you'll find you don't need the home to be heated whilst you sleep.Just set it to come on via the heating timer when its nearly time for you to rise -- about 1 hour to twenty minutes before you get up is a good guide. You'll save money by having the heating not running for up to an extra 55 hours a week - significant savings!
Costingless: Heat the home for less money: stay warm for less money!
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With energy prices worldwide higher than ever, it really does pay to make sure you comprehensively tackle energy efficiency in your home to get the absolute best from your heating system.

In this guide, we'll look at everything from simple DIY jobs that anyone can do, to whether or not its worth completely upgrading your entire heating system. Don't miss a trick with our guide to heating your home for less this and every winter.
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