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Cost Of Living

There are many small actions that individuals and households can make that will both save them money and help in tackling climate change


  • Search your boiler make on Google or YouTube and learn how to use all the settings to make the most efficient use of it, including timers and thermostats.  Set it to come on 30 minutes before you wake up to get up in a warm house, set it to go off 30 minutes before bed.
  • Even though the above is the cheapest method to heat a property is creates the perfect environment for mould.  Ideally two temperatures are selected - one for when occupants are present and one whilst away - the intension is to heat the structure not the walls. 
  • Turn the thermostat down by 1 degree every couple of days until you find the temperature that suits your family.  Even 1 degree less can save you about £80 a year. The elderly will suffer health effects once the temperature is below 18C.
  • A thicker duvet or extra blanket is cheaper than having the heating on all night
  • Upgrade - heating controls to a digital thermostat or smart thermostat such as HIVE, Nest or TRV and use a smart meter to monitor usage
  • Boiler advice is available from the Energy Savings Trust on replacing an old system boiler to a modern condensing combination boiler 


  • Are your radiators free of furniture, clothes and towels?  Remove the blocks so that they can work most efficiently to heat your rooms.  Radiator reflectors placed behind your radiators will also help reflect heat into your room and mean you are heat the room and not the walls
  • Cold patches on your radiators?  Bleed your radiators to get rid of any air and make sure they heat up all of the surface area
  • Zone your home - turn down the radiator valves in rooms you don't use very often - spare room and dining rooms are often underused and therefore don't need heating to the same temperature as the room you are working / spending time in


  • Open the curtains wide on sunny days to let the sunshine warm up you house for free.
  • Once it goes dark, shutting the curtains will act as insulation, trapping warm air inside your house.  Thick curtains or adding a lining to existing curtains will reduce heat loss through your windows
  • Draught excluders at the bottom of doors and self-adhesive rubber seals around door frames will stop some draughts and stop heat escaping. 
  • Other sources of draughts could be - windows, doors (keyhole, letterbox, gaps around edges and bottom), chimneys, floor and skirting boards, loft hatches, where pipe work enters your home, cracks, old extractor fans
  • Keep internal doors closed to rooms you don't use, or to make one room really cozy

Do not block up air vents, extractor fans, trickle vents in your windows or chimneys where there are stoves or open fires. 


  • If you have a loft space, then 270mm of insulation is the recommended depth to stop heat being lost through the roof space.
  • Insulating your hot water tank will also help keep your water hot for longer and reduce heating costs, as will insulating hot water pipes
  • Insulating the floor of the ground floor and any floors over unheated rooms / spaces (like the room above the garage) 

This can be expensive and may need a contractor but there are some quick easy wins

  • Seal the gaps around your skirting boards and floorboards to reduce draughts. 
  • Rugs and carpets make your feet feel warmer


  • One of the best ways to stop condensation is to open all your windows for 5 to 10 minutes every day to swap the air over.  The air leaving your property will take some of the excess moisture that it contains with it.  This should be done at peak levels - mornings and evening  

Lighting - 5% of a typical energy bill

  • LED light bulbs save money
  • Dust light bulbs and shades - dust will dim the light emitted and often means you turn on more lights (the same is true of dirty windows!!)

Kitchen - Cooking 4% of a typical energy bill

  • Use the smallest pan possible on the smallest ring and use the pan lid - you'll need less heat
  • Heat water in the kettle and then transfer it to the pan on the hob - its quicker and more energy efficient
  • Slow cookers are much more energy efficient than the oven (they use about the same amount of energy as a light bulb)
  • Batch cooking in the oven, rather than turning it on for one item at a time
  • Clean the glass in the oven door, so that you can see how your things are cooking rather than opening the door and letting the heat out.  Turning it off 10 minutes before then end of the allocated cooking time, will allow you to make use of the residual heat.
  • Boiling the kettle full for 10 minutes a day costs £27 per year - only boil as much water as you need.

Wet appliances - 14% of a typical energy bill (washing machine, dishwasher and tumble drier)

  • Lower temperature on your washing machine and the Eco setting on your washing machine and dishwasher will reduce the cost of heating the water up, it uses less water and energy. 
  • Wash only full loads - washing machine and dishwasher
  • Dry washing outside whenever possible.

Cold appliances -13% of a typical energy bill (fridges and freezers)

  • Defrost your fridge / freezer regularly to make it work most efficiently
  • Clean behind your fridge - remove the dust that can trap heat and keep cool bits cool

Reduce energy use

Laptops, games consoles etc.  6% of a typical energy bill

  • Turn down the brightness setting on the TV - factory settings are higher than we need in day to day use.  Using the TV to listen to radio? Turn on the screen blanking feature to save energy
  • When replacing electrical products consider buying AAA energy efficient rating (or as close to this as you can afford)
  • Hairdryers used on the cool setting, saves £10 a year and is healthier for your hair

Electrical items left on standby still use energy which adds up on your bill across the course of a year.  (Figures from Utilita a gas and energy supplier 2022)

  • TV - £12 a year
  • Xboxes and Play stations - £16.24 a year
  • Printers - £6.50 per year
  • Baby Monitors - £4.87 per year.   Only suggesting you switch it off while the baby is with you!!
  • Kettles - £4.87 per year. 
  • Microwaves - £1.62 per year
  • Laptops - £4.87 per year
  • Phone chargers - 32p per year if left on the whole time
  • Smart speakers - £3.45 per speaker

Saving water

  • United Utilities water meters - 2 year free trial before signing up or call 0345 072 6065
  • Free water saving devices aerators, showerheads etc. from United Utilities
  • Leaky Loos - Could be costing you up to £400 a year if left undetected.  More information and free Leaky Loo strips are available from United Utilities
  • Get a plumber in to fix the dripping taps (or do it yourself)
  • Turn the tap off when cleaning your teeth
  • Use water butts to collect rainwater - water plants, top up ponds, wash off muddy boots and dogs.
  • Grey water - use bath water and clean (non-greasy) washing up water for outside jobs like washing the car
  • Showers use less water than baths

Other sources of information - 

Government energy advice and saving energy for consumers 

Martin Lewis - Money Saving Expert help if you are struggling with energy bills

Energy Savings Trust advice on home appliances

Newly launched is the Take Charge Today website from Electricity Northwest and Citizens Advice Bureau to help you take charge of your bills and energy costs and to offer advice on energy saving measures

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