Life & Culture

Top tips on how to keep warm without facing big energy bills this winter

Are you worried about big fuel bills? Our personal finance expert has some advice to help you


House model wrapped in scarf on radiator home winter heating and insulation background fuel and energy crisis concept

An estimated 13 million households did not turn on their heating last winter because of the high cost of energy, according to a new survey from Which?

Most affected were lower and middle-income households with nearly half of households with annual incomes of £20,000 to £80,000 saying they did not turn the heating on when it was cold.

The problem is compounded by high levels of energy debt, with new figures from Citizens Advice showing almost eight million people had to borrow to pay their energy bill in the first half of this year and the average amount of energy debt owed by the people it helps standing at £1,711, a third higher than it was in 2019.

While the price of energy has fallen, it is still higher than before the start of the energy crisis, increasing the need to keep usage as low as possible.

As the cold weather begins, it is worth making sure your home and usage is as efficient as possible. For example:

  • Get your boiler serviced to reduce the risk of costly breakdowns in the cold weather. Turn the thermostat down one degree and reduce the boiler flow temperature to reduce bills. Consider individual thermostats in each room so you only heat where and when you need. 

  • Draught-proofing gaps can save up to £105 a year, says the Energy Saving Trust ( Lagging your hot-water cylinder will save a further £50. 

  • Make sure your roof and cavity walls have the maximum insulation to keep heat in and other appliances are as efficient as possible. Grants are available to help meet the cost via the government’s Help to Heat scheme ( and when it launches the Great British Insulation Scheme. 

  • Save more than £100 a year by reducing your water usage. Swap baths for showers and limit the duration to four minutes. Don’t overfill the kettle and only switch the dishwasher on when it is full. 

  • Electricity usage can be reduced by turning off lights in unused rooms and turning appliances off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby. Washing clothes at 30 degrees will save £30 a year and avoiding the tumble dryer £60, says the Energy Saving Trust. 

  • Consider how you cook. If you are cooking for one or two, an air fryer will work out the cheaper option. Batch cooking in your oven then using the microwave to reheat portions as and when needed, rather than cooking each meal from scratch will also save money.

  • Are you eligible for any help with your bills? Many energy suppliers offer grants to people who have fallen behind with their bills so talk to your supplier if you are struggling. 

  • The government also offers help via the Fuel Direct scheme whereby payment for arrears and current energy usage are taken from your benefits and paid directly to your energy supplier. There are also available grants such as the Warm Home Discount or Winter Fuel credit for those receiving certain benefits.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive