When fuel bills are difficult to afford, then one option might be to take action to reduce the amount of energy you use. Here are some organisations and information that can advise you how to be more energy efficient without cutting back too much.
Home Energy Scotland - 0808 808 2282
Funded by the Scottish Government, Home Energy Scotland offers free and impartial energy efficiency advice to householders, community groups, businesses and the public sector across Scotland. Advisors can direct you to grants and other support that you might be eligible for and can provide advice on being energy efficient.
Many local authorities provide home energy advice services, even if you are not a council tenant. Contact your local council for details – use the link below or their phone number and address will be in the phone directory.
Solid Fuel Association - 01773 835400
If you use solid fuel, there are some simple improvements you can make which could cut your heating costs. Contact the Solid Fuel Association for tips on saving energy and advice on open fires and central heating systems.
Website – 01773 835400
Here are some handy energy saving tips you can use in your home.
- If your home has a hot-water tank or cylinder, it should have at least 8cm (3 inches) of insulation. This will reduce the cost of heating the water and keep it hot for longer.
- If there is no thermostat on the hot-water tank it is worth looking into having one fitted. The hot water thermostat should be set at around 63°C (140°F), as this is usually hot enough for most household use.
- Only switch the hot water on for the hours when hot water is needed. It is more expensive to leave it on all day. An hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon/evening is usually enough for most people’s needs.
- The room thermostat on the central heating should be set at 21°C (70°F) for the living room. Do not waste energy by opening windows – turn down the room thermostat or individual radiator controls instead.
- With storage heaters, it is important to close the damper or output dial, (sometimes called the boost) before going to bed or if the house is unoccupied during the day.
- Small shelves placed about 5cm (2 inches) above radiators help push warm air towards the centre of the room. If the radiators have individual thermostats these can be turned down a little – especially in rooms that are not used all the time.
- Installing radiator reflector panels behind radiators can reduce heat being wasted through external walls.
- Heavy curtains at the windows will help to keep the heat in and closing them as soon as it starts to go dark also helps. But make sure the curtains are tucked behind any radiators at the windows.
- Use low energy light as they use around 75–80% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last for approximately 8,000 hours. LED bulbs are more expensive to buy but use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 50,000 hours.
- Do not leave appliances on standby but switch them off at the wall instead.
- Wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine, or choose the economy or half-load setting if possible. Always choose the shortest cycle that’s practical for your needs.
- When using an electric oven, turn it off about ten minutes before the end of cooking time – it will continue to cook at the same temperature.
- Always choose the correct sized saucepan for the amount of food you are cooking. Putting lids on pots will also help to reduce cooking time and therefore save energy.
npower’s Macmillan Fund People having cancer treatment are often at home more and may need to turn their heating up, leading to higher energy bills, while income may be reduced. npower is working in partnership with Macmillan to help people living with cancer keep warm without the worry. Contact npower’s Macmillan Fund on 0808 808 00 00, Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm.