Renfrewshire Council

Energy and heating

Money hack: what to do now to stay warm this winter for less

Energy bills can wreak havoc with your Christmas plans - so make sure you have enough money to beat the freeze.

As the temperatures plummet, surviving the winter cold can feel like a battle between your bank account and keeping warm.

There are ways to save money now that can help you out ahead of winter coming.

Ways to save energy at no cost:

  • Turn your room thermostat down by 1° and you can save 10% on your heating costs without noticing any significant difference in comfort level.  
  • Water needs to be hot but never scalding. Set the cylinder thermostat at 60°C or 140°F and this will be fine for bathing and washing.
  • In just one day a dripping tap can waste enough water and energy to fill a bath, so make sure they are turned off.
  • Put lids on pots when cooking. The food cooks quicker, which saves energy and releases less moisture into the kitchen.
  • Close your curtains when it gets dark, remembering not to cover your radiator.
  • Do not put furniture in front of a radiator as it absorbs the heat instead of it spreading into the room.
  • Have a shower instead of a bath as you can have five showers for the cost of one bath.
  • Do not keep electrical appliances on standby or leave appliances charging unnecessarily as this uses electricity. Turn off when not in use.
  • Hang washing outside where possible rather than using your tumble dryer.
  • Remember to use the 'half load' or 'economy' setting on your washing machine if you do not have a full load. Also, you can reduce energy consumption by lowering the temperature of your washing machine from 40 to 30°C.
  • If you have storage heaters, remember to close the damper or output dial (sometimes called the boost) before you go to bed or if you go out during the day.
  • Only fill your kettle up with as much water as you need i.e. for a cup of tea (remember to cover the element though).
  • If you haven't ever switched your energy supplier, it's worth considering. You can save money and can switch even if you pay for your energy using a prepayment meter. See U Switch website under 'related links'.


Ways to save energy by spending a little money:

  • Insulate your hot water tank to ensure water stays hot for longer. The recommended thickness of insulation is 8cm. You can also insulate the pipes in your loft to reduce heat loss.
  • Put up heavy curtains or line curtains with thermal linings especially in the winter months.
  • You can eliminate or reduce external drafts by applying an easy to fit brush or PVC seal on your exterior doors. But remember ventilation is important especially if you have open fires, gas fires or a boiler with a flue. If you have a chimney, get it swept regularly and check your airbricks for blockages.
  • Letterboxes and key holes also allow heat loss which can be solved by applying a nylon brush seal or a spring flap.
  • You can reduce heat loss in your home by using draft excluders at the base of your doors.
  • Put up shelves about 5cm above your radiators to push warm air towards the centre of the room.
  • Use low energy light bulbs (CFLs). They last about 12 times longer than ordinary ones and use only a fifth of the electricity. These bulbs will save £80 over its lifetime and pay for itself in 6 months.

If you've got money worries, contact Advice Renfrewshire and Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau - see 'related links' or call 0808 164 2922 or 0141 889 2121.

Tenants, those who private rent and home owners can get expert energy advice from the Council's energy advocates service by calling 0141 618 7515 or emailing

Published: Saturday 10 November 2018