Four things you MUST do before switching on your heating – and it can help save you money

SUMMER is over and the days are getting colder – here's how to stay warm without it costing the earth.

Up and down the country Brits are beginning to put their heating back on.

However, heating can be a major household expense – and bills are set to rise from October 1 when the Energy Price Cap goes up.

Here we break down four ways to save money on your heating bill before you turn it back on.

Check your radiator

Radiator specialist BestHeating has advised Brits to check their radiators if they're only just switching them back on after the warm weather.

In general, it's best to regularly switch your heating on every few months as inactivity can cause your boiler to fail.

Another tip is to switch your thermostatic valves up if they have been set to off over the summer.

Bleeding your radiator can also help to remove any air pockets that have become trapped.

There may also be sludge in the radiator if you've never maintained it.

To fix this you need to flush the radiator. Bleed it, take it off the wall then attach a hose pipe to the radiator valve inlet, turning on full blast to flush out all the dirt and grime.

Once water runs through clearly, the issue is solved and you can reattach the radiator to the wall.

It will take just 20 minutes of your time and you only need a bleed key, cloth and towel to place underneath while you do it.

A lesser known tip is to top up the corrosion inhibitor.

Water doesn’t mix well with metal, so radiators that are turned off will corrode without it.

Adding corrosion inhibitor helps break down sludge that has built up from rust and stops a blockage from forming, keeping the system working efficiently and prolonging the lifespan.

You can buy corrosion inhibitor at most hardware stores and it will save you a lot of maintenance costs on repairs.

Apply for an energy efficiency grant

Households across many areas of the UK are eligible for grants up to £10,000 to make their homes more energy efficient.

These improvements vary from council to council, but can include double glazed windows or air source heating pumps.

For the majority of areas, homeowners must have a total income of less than £30,000 to qualify for a grant.

If your household income is more than £30,000 a year, you can qualify for up to £5,000 of grant funding.

However, you have to pay a third of the costs yourself as a contribution.

And you won't be handed the money directly to pay for the improvements yourself. Instead they will be made on your behalf.

You can find out whether your area provides the grant by searching for the energy grant on your local council's website.

If your local council is paired with Eon, you can contact [email protected] to discuss your eligibility.

The scheme only runs until December of this year.

Switch providers

The UK is about to experience its biggest energy bill increase in 10 years when the industry price cap leaps £139 to £1,277 for an average home from October 1.

The best way to handle this increase is to change your provider before it happens.

The cheapest discount deal is just £1,123 with Avro Energy.

You can check the cheapest deals from all suppliers via websites such as moneysupermarket.com, comparethemarket.com and GoCompare.

If you'd rather not do it yourself, you can arrange for a firm such as Look After My Bills or Switchcraft to swap you to a cheap new deal annually.

Alternatively, you can phone your provider and ask them to move you on to a cheaper tariff.

But don’t hold your breath for supersize savings – it's usually better to shop around different providers.

Apply for a Government discount scheme

You can also can apply for extra help with your energy bills. The warm homes discount scheme offers households up to £140.

This scheme is usually paid directly to your energy supplier, which will then apply the discount to your bills. You may be sent a £140 voucher if you have a pre-payment meter.

If you live in a low income household, you can also get £25 a week to help with energy bills during the winter thanks to the cold weather payment scheme.

You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area falls to zero degrees celsius or below over the space of a week, but you'll need to be on some kind of means tested benefits to claim.

Another method of reducing your fuel costs by up to £300 a year is to use winter fuel payments.

The winter fuel payments are made automatically for most people, usually in November or December, and you'll be sent a letter telling you how much you'll get and when exactly you can expect it.

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