Ben Gallizzi, Uswitch Energy, comments: “With UK temperatures dropping into single-digits in the coming days, many people will be looking for ways to keep themselves and their homes warm during this chilly period. 

“Unfortunately this cold snap coincides with an increase in energy bills for many consumers, as standard variable tariff prices rose on 1st January. 

“To keep costs down, it remains important to track your energy usage and change your habits in a safe and manageable way while still keeping warm.

“There are several checks you can make around your home to ensure your heating is working efficiently, and ways you can effectively change your energy use to help keep costs down.” offers tips to keep costs down in a safe way while staying warm: 

1. Keep the thermostat down and at a steady temperature – If you can, try to keep your thermostat at around 18°C, which is the recommended temperature for people in good health. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that households turning the thermostat down by just one degree could cut bills by up to 10%. 

2. Check your boiler – Reducing the flow rate on combination boilers can quickly knock money off heating bills, and you won’t even notice the difference. These types of boilers work best when the water going to radiators is heated at 60°C or below. However, most boilers are set to a much higher flow rate, costing households more money.

3. Check your radiator settings – Most radiators have valves which can control what temperature they reach. Turning down the valves in rooms you use less often can help save you money. When turned on, double-check if there are any cold spots, which may indicate that your radiators need bleeding. 

4. Avoid obstructing the radiator – It’s best to keep your radiators as free of obstructions as possible. Sofas placed in front of radiators will absorb heat rather than letting it spread around the room. 

5. Draught-proof your home – Cutting draughts is a quick and cost-effective way to keep your home warm while saving money on your bills. Seals between the door and the frame will help prevent heat escaping, and you should also block any gaps around your windows and your loft hatch. Draught excluders placed at the bottom of the door of any room you are in can also keep the chill out. 

6. Consider curtains – Curtains are also great at preventing heat loss. Remember to close them at night when it’s colder, and open them when the sun comes out to let the warmth back in. 

7. Try a heated blanket – Heated blankets are a great way to avoid getting into a cold bed at night. The good news is that using one for 30 minutes before you get under the covers is more energy efficient than putting the heating on, and will add just 11p to your bills over a week. 

8. Use your radiators for drying clothes too. If your heating is on already, you could use them to dry your clothes at the same time, rather than using a more energy-intensive tumble dryer. Be aware that the increased condensation from drying clothes could lead to mould. Dehumidifiers that remove the extra moisture from the air typically use 185W, which will cost 10p for two hours — much cheaper than a tumble dryer.

9. Track your energy use. Households looking for an easy way to see how much energy they are using this winter can download Utrack, a free mobile app that lets consumers connect to their smart meter and easily track their energy use. By tracking their consumption,  people can see what changes they can make to save money, while also ensuring they are reducing their habits in a safe and manageable way. 

Track your energy usage with Utrack by Uswitch here.