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How to Reduce Energy Costs this Winter

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With cooler days and nights now upon us, many of us are looking for ways to pinch pennies, particularly on our energy bills. There are many practical things you can do around your home to help you save money this winter. Here are a few ideas on how to cut down costs.
What you'll need: 
A computer with Internet service
A little forethought
Some self-discipline
1: 
Opt to submit your own meter readings. Many energy companies give you the option to submit your readings online instead of sending a representative to your home. This can save you a significant amount of money.
2: 
Make use of alternative sources of heat. Once you’ve baked your pan of lasagne, leave the oven door open and take advantage of some “free” heat. Other appliances, such as a bread machine, toaster, or computer also emit heat.
3: 
Turn your heat down and pile on the extra jumper. Even a few degrees difference can reduce your energy bill over time. At night, keep the heat low and stay warm by adding another duvet.
4: 
Cosy up to your hot water bottle. Insulated in a thick cover, a hot water bottle will retain its heat for quite a while. Microwavable rice bags or hot packs can also provide that extra little bit of warmth.
5: 
Turn off radiators when you leave the room. Keep doors closed to trap heat in the rooms that are most in use. If you aren’t in the room, chances are you don’t need to be heating it.
6: 
Ensure that window vents are closed. Leaky windows can drastically raise your energy costs so make sure they are tightly sealed. If your home does not yet have double glazing, consider investing in more energy-efficient windows. It will make a huge difference in the long run.
7: 
Turn off your hot water every other day. Choose instead to boil water for washing up. Alternatively, if you have economy 7 energy, turn on the hot water when the rate is cheapest.
8: 
Run the dishwasher sparingly. Either do your washing by hand or run the dishwasher when the rates are lowest, usually in the evening.
Conclusion: 
Once you start thinking frugally, you’ll discover other ways to keep your heating costs low this winter. The money you save can then be put aside for unexpected expenses.
Tips: 
If you’re locked in to an agreement with your current energy provider, consider whether it may still be to your advantage to break your contract and switch to a company with better rates. You may have to pay a penalty for this, but it could leave you better off in the long run.
Warnings: 
Although self-discipline is important, don't become obsessive. Remember, Scrooge was not a happy guy.

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