Nobody wants a chilly home, but rising rent prices and those dreaded energy bills can have you reaching for the off switch on your radiator just when you need it most. There are ways to fight the winter woes, however, so if you’re a renter on a budget looking for ways to pay your heating bills, check out these top tips.
Control your heat
The best way to make your home warmer without spending more is to manage the heating you already have. Use the timer on your central heating system to heat the house only when you need it, rather than paying for all-day warmth. Close your curtains as soon as it gets dark to keep the heat in, and move furniture away from radiators so the warm air can circulate. You can even get hold of some radiator panels, which slip behind your radiators and reflect heat back into the room, rather than out through the walls.
Improve your insulation
Making significant changes to your home’s insulation – such as double glazing or loft insulation – is something you will have to discuss with your landlord or property manager, but it can be worth it in the long run to reduce energy bills and make your home more energy efficient. If large upgrades aren’t an option, you can still make your home cosy with small additions like soft furnishings, thick curtains and draught excluders for doors and windows.
Get help from the government
If you’re really struggling to pay those bills, help is at hand. People born before 5 January 1953 can claim the Winter Fuel Payment, a one-off sum to help cover your winter heating bills. Cold Weather Payments are also available for people on some benefits schemes, including Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support, and these are paid out when the temperature drops below a certain level. The Warm Home Discount Scheme, available to those with low incomes or receiving pension credits, could give you a £140 discount on your energy bills during the winter months.
Get help from charities
When you’re struggling to make your payments, your energy company may be the last place you want to turn, but they can often help. British Gas, EDF and E.on act as charitable trusts that offer grants and advice about paying your fuel bills, regardless of whether or not you are a customer with them. nPower, Ovo, Scottish Power and Southern Electric have similar schemes available exclusively for their customers. You can check with Citizens Advice for information about more UK charities and schemes like this.
Visit a food bank
In 2015, the Trussell Trust – which runs over 400 food banks in the UK – launched a pioneering Fuel Bank scheme in one of its Bristol food banks, alongside nPower. The Fuel Bank gives people with pre-payment meters vouchers for their gas and electricity, and more money is offered in the winter months (vouchers are worth £49 from November to March, compared to £30 from April to October). The scheme will continue to expand in 2017, so if you need that little extra help then find your local Trussell Trust food bank.
Remember, if you are struggling with a cold home, be sure to tell your landlord or property manager so they can help you tackle that winter chill.
Are you interested in renting in Bristol? Contact Gough Quarters today to find out more.
All images courtesy of Pixabay