With average yearly energy bills capped to just over £2,000, this winter it makes sense to use strategies which reduce energy consumption whilst keeping warm.

This has the added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fighting climate change.

There are many sources of information to help you do this (you can find links on our website, climateactionstokesleyandvillages.org/energy/united-for-warm-homes) but these are some of the simplest and most effective ideas.

Draught proofing windows, doors, and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards can save you about 15 per cent a year on your energy bills. You can save more money by making your own door and window draught excluders – come to a free draught excluder workshop at our Repair Cafes during the winter months.

Darlington and Stockton Times: A handmade draught excluder made at a repair cafe

Controlled ventilation helps reduce condensation and damp, by letting fresh air in when needed, so do not block extractor fans, wall vents and airbricks. However, draughts are uncontrolled, they let in too much cold air and waste too much heat.

Keeping your curtains open during the day allows the sun to warm your home for free but when evening comes and the outside temperatures drops closing all the curtains in your home is a simple way to stop heat loss and can save up to 25 per cent if you use thermal curtains. You can make your own thermal curtains by safety pinning lightweight fleece or blankets (consider charity shops) to existing curtains.

Turning your heating down a single degree eg from 20C to 19C can cut your heating bill by 13 per cent (NB the government recommends a minimum of 18C). You may not even feel the difference, but if you do, just add more clothing layers – it’s more cost effective to warm your body than your house. Check out charity shops for woolly jumpers and blankets or invest in some cotton under layers.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Climate Action Stokesley and Villages

If you have a combi boiler, the default flow temperature is normally set at 70C. Reducing to 60C will to save up to eight per cent and your boiler will work more efficiently. If you have a heating system with a separate hot water cylinder, you can turn down the temperature to 60C (although this should not be reduced below 60C, as bacteria which can cause Legionnaires’ disease can survive and grow in warm water stored below 60°C). Make sure your cylinder is insulated to save energy too.

Get the most out of your radiators by making sure you move items of furniture at least 5cm away so the room is heated, not the furniture and this will improve air circulation. Silver foil wrapped around cardboard cut to size and placed behind the radiator will reflect heat back into a room rather than heat your walls and save at least five per cent of energy costs. Turn down radiators in rooms you’re not using too.

Climate Action Stokesley and Villages group are taking part in the national United for Warm Homes day of action on Saturday, November 18. Find out more at unitedforwarmhomes.uk.

Keep warm, keep bills down and keep your carbon footprint down – it’s all good.