WINTER is on its way and when the temperature plummets, your energy bill can often spiral in the opposite direction.
There are several mistakes you could be making during the colder months that could add to your energy bill, according to one expert.
We spoke to Nicholas Auckland, a heating expert from Trade Radiators about how to avoid them and save cash when reaching for the heating dials.
He calculated how much each mistake could end up costing you on average over a year.
Of course, how much each mistake adds to your bill depends on your usage, but you could save as much as £800.
Don't leave your heating on low all day – £150
The idea that it's cheaper to leave the heating on low all day is a hotly debated topic.
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But Nicholas said that it's actually a complete myth, and it won't save you cash.
He said: "Keeping the heating on low, 24/7 will obviously cost more than only having it on when needed.
"Depending on how big your home is, and how many heating sources you have, you could be looking at adding around £150 to your energy bills every year.
"For larger homes, this could be even more."
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The most energy-efficient way to keep warm at home is to programme your heating system so it comes on when you need it most.
With many modern thermostats, you can set different temperatures at different times, and even run separate programmes for weekends.
You can also adjust the temperature controls on your radiators to ensure you are only warming up the rooms you need to.
Having inadequate insulation – £200
Households could be overpaying by £200 on heating bills due to poor insulation.
"This is because the heat created by a central heating system isn't staying inside the home as much as it should be, but instead escaping through the walls and floors," Nicholas said.
"This means that you turn up your heating more, which results in spending more on energy."
Insulation is a great way to stop wasting money on your energy bills and it can be done on a tight budget.
Setting up draught excluders around your home to block out any unwanted cool air is a cheap solution to slashing down your energy bills.
You can pick them up for as little as £4 at retailers like Dunelm.
You could also invest in some cheap draught-proofing methods such as draught-proofing tape, which can be bought online for £3.99
To stop a draught creeping in through the window, curtains can work as a great barrier too.
You can even invest in some thermal curtains for your sitting room or bedroom.
These are heavier versions which help keep the heat in your rooms for longer and you can pick them up for Argos for £30.
If your floor isn't insulated it can account for up to 10% of your home's heat loss, especially if it's wooden flooring.
Adding an extra layer, especially of something in a cosy material, like a rug or a carpet, can not only cover over gaps you might find in the flooring but also prevent some warm air from escaping.
Ikea and Dunelm both sell rugs for around £10, but sure that you check other retailers too in case we missed a better bargain.
Keeping outdated appliances – £100s
One of the biggest sources of wasted energy is old, outdated appliances that use far more energy than needed.
Without realising it, people using old electrical goods could be increasing their energy consumption, even if their usage is down.
Nicholas said using outdated appliances could be adding hundreds of pounds to your energy bill.
He added: "Using energy inefficient, outdated appliances can actually add around 40% to energy bills, especially energy inefficient boilers, fridges, and other major appliances.
"I always recommend checking the energy efficiency of any appliance you buy, as it can really make a big difference down the line."
Of course investing in new appliances doesn't come cheap, so you while you won't see a saving straight away, it could be worth it in the long run.
There are labels to look out for when buying appliances which could save you hundreds of pounds on your energy bills.
Appliances are now ranked from A to G, A being the most efficient.
The icons also tell you how long it takes per use, how much it can hold, what the noise output and how much water it uses.
This makes it easier to work out how much your household might need to use it and how much that could cost you.
The Sun has put together a guide on understanding these labels.
Leaving appliances on standby – £100
Leaving everyday items on standby could be costing you around £100 a year.
Some items use the same amount of energy as when they’re switched on.
TVs and games consoles are among the worst offenders, adding extra pennies to your bills with every hour they’re left in rest mode.
But plenty more appliances and gadgets may also be adding to your bills without you even realising.
Nicholas said: "Depending on how many appliances you have in your home, and what energy efficiency rating they have, you could add up to £100 a year on energy bills by leaving them on standby instead of turning them off.
"But this figure really does depend on the appliances you have in your home, and you could be spending a lot more."
Using excessive hot water – £140
Taking showers, having a bath, boiling a kettle, using the washing machine and dishwasher and cleaning the car all adds to your energy bill.
If you're the type of person that likes to spend a lot of time in the shower, or having a long bath, then you might want to think again, Nicholas said.
"Cutting your hot shower down by two or three minutes can save around £35 per person per year alone," he added.
"A quarter of a household's energy bill comes from heating water, so this could increase by up to 10% if excessive hot water is used."
Not closing doors to rooms – £90
It's better to close your doors to keep heat in the rooms you are in rather than allowing the heat to circulate around rooms which you aren't using.
Nicholas said: "You can spend around 5% more on energy bills if you keep all your internal doors open.
"This is because heating is wasted and you'll eventually need to turn the heating up higher in order to achieve the right temperature."
The average energy bill is £1,834 a year, under the current price cap so you could save around £90 on your energy bill just by closing doors in your home.
More ways to save on energy bills
There are a few ways to avoid putting the heating on and save some cash in the process.
For example, Lidl's sell-out energy-saving heated airer is back on sale and costs just 6p an hour to run.
Dunelm shoppers have been rushing to buy a £40 heated ladder airer for the bathroom which costs just 3p an hour to run too.
It's worth switching up your old halogen light bulbs to LED ones if you can – that could save you £40 a year.
Meanwhile, six hacks could help you save hundreds a year.
You can also get direct support via vouchers and cash grants.
Thousands of households have received help via the Household Support Fund, which is worth £842million.
The fund has been distributed among councils in England who are then allocating their own unique share.
That means what you are entitled to varies from area to area, although in most cases you can get help if you're on benefits such a as Universal Credit or a low income.
You should contact your local authority to see what help is on offer.
You can find what area you fall under by using the Government's council locator tool.
Meanwhile, you might be able to get a grant if you're struggling with energy bills – sometimes they're worth up to £1,500.
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If you're not with any of these, you can always try contacting your provider to see if any help is available.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected].
You can also join our new Sun Money Facebook group to share stories and tips and engage with the consumer team and other group members.
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