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Top tips for cutting home heating and cooling costs.

With utility bills in the UK increasing every year, it's in everyone's interests to do their best to cut how much they spend on heating and cooling their property. According to the Energy Saving Trust, more than half of the money spent on fuel bills in UK households is for heating and hot water, so if you manage to reduce this you could see significant savings.

Below are some tips to help you reduce the amount you spend each year on heating and cooling your home.

If you're not sure what state the insulation in your property is in, or whether you even have any, check! You'll be amazed by how much of a difference insulation makes to the temperature of your home.

For example, fitting loft insulation of between 0 and 270 mm in thickness could see you cut your heating bill by up to £175 per year, figures from the Energy Saving Trust reveal. The organisation estimates it will take around two years to pay for itself, and then you can look forward to savings for a long time to come!

Wall and floor insulation are also worth considering if you don't have any installed already, while covering your hot water tank with an insulating jacket could result in around £40 of savings a year.

If you've got an old boiler in your home, it may well be time to upgrade to a newer model. Not only will this be safer, but as modern boilers are much more energy-efficient than their older counterparts, they're likely to save you money as well.

To give you an indication of the difference you can expect to see on your bills when you replace an old G-rated boiler with an A-rated one, you're likely to reduce your heating costs by around £300 annually, the Energy Saving Trust has calculated.

Photo credit: LivingDesignHome
Heat your house efficiently
Of course, it's not just about upgrading or improving the heating system you've got, but also about altering your habits to ensure it's as efficient as possible. For example, if you have a room or two that are rarely used, make sure the radiators are turned off so you're not heating them unnecessarily.

Similarly, set your heating system on a timer so that it's not pumping out warmth during the day when everyone's at work or school. You should also consider whether you can turn your thermostat down by a degree or two, because even this small change could lead to a ten per cent reduction in your bills.

What about cooling?
While we're still in the depths of winter it can be hard to imagine being too warm, but the UK can experience hot weather during the summer. Although you might be happy to just open your windows and put up with sweltering during a heat wave, there is another cost-effective option: hiring a portable air conditioning unit. 

Running air conditioners consistently is expensive - and not something you'll ever need in Britain - and they can be costly to install. However, if you rent a portable unit, you can fit it easily, use it for as long as you need and then return it when the weather cools down.

As well as meaning that you'll only be paying for air-con when you actually need it, this approach also does away with the headache of having to work out where to store the equipment when it's not in use for the majority of the year.

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