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How do I: Keep my house warm without paying out?

  • @Jamie_Merrill

Freezing temperatures and sheets of snow don't have to mean a cold front at home.

There are some really simple things you can do this weekend to keep the heat in, without throwing your cash out.

"The first thing you should do is walk around your home, to every single window and door and look for draughts," says Donnachadh McCarthy, who runs home-energy consultancy 3 Acorns, (3acorns.co.uk). "It is amazing how much heat you let escape through your doors, windows and letterbox."

A roll of rubber draft excluder for your windows and doors will set you back £6 from your local hardware store (Stormguard Weather Strip, diy.com), while a letterbox cover costs £18.99 from uswitch.com and will save you up to £70 a year. A radiator insulation foil (£14.99, uswitch.com) will stop precious warmth from your radiators bleeding into the walls.

"If you are on a low income and struggling with bills, don't turn off your heating entirely to save money. Just try and heat one or two rooms properly," says McCarthy. "Keep all of your doors closed and turn off all the radiators except in your bedroom and main living area."

"This will make a huge difference to your bills as you are only heating around one sixth of your home. And remember that unless you are ill or disabled, the recommended winter temperature for your home is 19C. Every degree over that costs you 10 per cent more per year."

If you are considering making more of an investment to keep your house warm, McCarthy recommends loft insulation before anything else. "It's made from recycled plastic and for less than £200 most people can insulate their roofs and cut their energy usage by 25 per cent. What's more it will pay itself back in 18 months and is even free for many British Gas and EDF customers."