You will when the next heating bill arrives, so heed these top tips – writes Sinead Ryan
WE'VE had a nice gentle ease into Autumn but the weather is expected to change, leading to chilly winter nights before long.
So our thoughts turn to switching on the heating and using more electricity as a result.
While the table shows the costs of utilities it's definitely a good idea to shop around for providers, especially now that Bord Gais has been fully deregulated (it's going to be called Eriva).
There are also small practical things you can do right at home to ensure you're paying the lowest possible price for energy.
Whether you use solid fuel or natural gas, prices have risen sharply in the last year.
Coal is up 11.1pc, gas 6pc (to a whop-ping 25pc depending on the plan), electricity 4.3pc - 7pc and even peat briquettes, by 7pc.
Only oil escaped the hike and we're so dependent on events beyond our control in Russia, from where we import the vast bulk of it, that it's impossible to say what will happen with prices in the future.
So, here are my top tips on how to keep your costs down - none of them will leave you shivering in the dark, but they are really simple and really do work.
• Lowering the thermostat by just 1 degree shaves lO pc off your heating bill. The ideal temperature is 18 – 20 degrees.
• Most heat is lost through the windows. Use curtains, but not covering the radiator.
• Put timers on your immersion and boiler - have heat coming on in spurts rather than for hours at a time.
• Insulating the attic can save up to 40pc on your heating costs. There are grants available to everyone fort his (see below).
• 90pc of washing machine energy goes on heating the water. Spend money on good detergent and cut the temperature to under 30 degrees.
• Make sure you have a full load before using the dishwasher/washing machine. Dryers cost a fortune - if the heating is on anyway, use an air dryer for clothes.
• Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use 75pc less electricity than standard light bulbs.
• Keep bulbs dust free - they'll stay brighter.
• Fit motion detectors on exterior house lights.
• Buy A-rated appliances when changing. You can save €45 a year on an A-rated Fridge Freezer over a less efficient one.
• Switch off appliances on standby-20pc of their energy costs are racked up when they're off but still plugged in, costing €80 on average per household every year.
SEAI (www.seai.ie) offers non means-tested grants under the Better Energy Homes Scheme, if your house was built pre-2006 and you apply for a minimum of €400 (max. €3,600) for works on insulation or boiler upgrades.
They're quite generous and worth looking at, and use local contractors.
Call 1850 927 000 for details.
If you're in receipt of social welfare and under certain conditions, you could have all the work paid for under the Warmer Homes Scheme. Call 1800 250 204 or email warmer homes® seai.ie.
The figures used in the table that supported this article were sourced from bonkers.ie.