If the disappearance of the sun isn't deflating enough, the thought of higher energy bills is sure to make anyone dread the winter months. Average variable tariffs among the Big Six have increased by £70 this year, so it is no surprise that 10 million people are concerned about their bills according to a survey in September, with some families admitting they will try to use less gas and electricity in order to keep their bills down.
But according to Emma Bush from uSwitch, "there are plenty of steps we can take that won't break the bank to keep our homes as toasty as possible."
Shop around, switch and save. You could save up to £482 by shopping around on a price comparison site. You can also earn rewards, go green and even earn interest if your account is in credit.
Watch your thermostat! Turning your thermostat down by just one degree can save you £60 a year. You could also consider installing certain heating controls. Some heating controls even allow you to lower your heating remotely so that you can reduce unnecessary wastage such as when you're out of the home for longer than expected and you want to turn the heating down.
Meter readings. According to uSwitch, almost 1.4 million households could be receiving inaccurate bills by having never submitted a meter reading. 2 in 5 homes could reclaim an average of £121 from energy suppliers once they provide a reading.
Wash at 30 degrees. Approximately 90% of washing machines energy is used on heating the water, so lower your washing temperature to save more.
Bleed your radiators. Trapped air in radiators causes them to have cold spots which reduces their efficiency, so bleed them regularly to release any gas.
If you're not using it, switch it off. Leaving TVs and games consoles on standby all the time costs between £45 and £80 a year per household. Chargers when not in use, lights and beauty electricals can all be switched off to save you money.
Energy saving lighting. Lighting accounts for more than 20% of your electricity bill and old inefficient bulbs are far from helpful when trying to cut down needless energy expenditure. It only costs around £15 to install 5 low energy lightbulbs, but can save you around £32 a year. LED bulbs are the most energy efficient, using 90% less energy and last up to 50,000 hours
Insulation. Lots of the energy you pay for can escape out of your windows, roof, walls, doors and floors. Insulation can minimise the amount of warm air escaping and therefore reduce your energy wastage. In some cases, you can recoup the cost of insulating your home in around three years, depending on the work you have done. Some energy suppliers even offer grants if you match certain criteria. You can also buy draught excluding strips to put around doorways and windows.
Draught Proofing. Make sure your loft is insulated and if you have a chimney in your property, you may want to consider a chimney balloon which stops warm air escaping and cooler air entering your home. Smaller energy zappers such as the letterbox draught proofed by installing a secondary flap or 'brushes'. You can even get a metal disk put onto your keyhole to stop air escaping through that too!