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Snug as a bug.. TIPS TO SLASH YOUR BILLS.

Byline: MELISSA THOMPSON ; VICKY AMANING

WE'RE all feeling the pinch as the cost for everything from food to fuel continues to soar.

So any savings you can make on your household bills are more welcome than ever.

Annual fuel bills have almost doubled from pounds 740 to pounds 1,345 in the past five years alone - and the rises show no sign of letting up.

But there is plenty you can do to save cash.

Follow our cost-cutting guide to slash your bills and it could save you hundreds every year.

Insulation ROOFS and hollow walls that have not been insulated let out a lot of heat, wasting cash all year round. Most homes can be insulated for up to pounds 350, but British Gas is currently offering free loft and cavity wall insulation to Mirror readers. You don't have to be a British Gas customer to take advantage - call 0800 975 1456 for more info. There is also information on the firm's free service at www.britishgas.co.uk/freeinsulation.

It's well worth investigating - an insulated roof can save nearly pounds 200 per year on bills.

It may be worth insulating your curtains too - you can add extra padding to existing ones or if they need replacing, do so with thick, insulated curtains.

Buy greener WHEN a trusted appliance breaks down beyond repair it can be a huge headache.

It can be a big cost to replace it, but with some savvy shopping, your new buy could save you money in the long-run.

If your old boiler or cooker is years old, it's likely technology will have improved to make them more efficient.

Boilers can account for as much as 60% of your annual energy bills so one that uses less energy will save you a small fortune over its lifetime.

An old gas boiler replaced with an A-rated high-efficiency condensation boiler will not only cut harmful emissions - but could save you as much as pounds 300 per year.

Foil behind the radiators FOR all the heat a radiator emits from its front, a substantial amount is lost from the wall-facing side. One way to tackle this is to stick foil on to the wall behind the radiator so it reflects heat back into the room so it's not absorbed into the wall.

Ensure the foil is shiny-side up and as close to the radiator as possible.

Homeware and DIY stores sell specialist radiator foil which could cost as much as pounds 20 - but good quality foil from the kitchen drawer will work just as well.

Draughts DRAUGHTS from windows or doors, isn't just cold wind coming in, it's also warm air going out.

Typically, poor ventilation and draughts can cause up to 20% of heat-loss.

Insulating tape costs just a few pounds but sealing every draught makes a big difference.

Towels can be used to seal doors, but more stylish draught excluders cost as little as pounds 6.

Cling film SINGLE-glazing lets out more heat and lets in more draughts than double-glazing - costing as much as pounds 135 a year.

The Energy Saving Trust estimates if all windows were double-glazed, the UK would save pounds 700million in fuel bills.

Replacing old windows can cost thousands but you can stick cling film on single-glazed window frames, to form a second pane to keep heat in.

Thermostat TURNING down the thermostat by just one degree can lead to savings of more than pounds 40 every year - 10% of your annual bill.

Another way to cut costs is to close curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping. And move furniture away from radiators as they can absorb the heat.

Any spare rooms which are not used regularly should have their radiators turned off completely.

Grants MANY of the recommendations to reduce bills will save you money over years, but could cost too much up front.

But Government programmes to help households on certain benefits improve heating and energy efficiency could make improvements cheaper, or free.

In England the scheme is known as Warm Front, in Northern Ireland it's Warm Homes, in Scotland it is the Energy Assistance Package and in Wales it is NEST. Qualifying households can get improvements worth up to pounds 3,500, or pounds 6,000 if oil central heating and other alternative technologies are recommended.

Go to www.direct.gov.uk/ warmfront for details. www.energysavingtrust.org.uk is another good site for grants.

pounds 300 Annual saving from replacing an old boiler with a newer more energy efficient model
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 12, 2012
Words:753
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