Making home improvements to keep bills down

Making home improvements can lead to savings on your fuel bills. Home improvements can be expensive at first but ultimately they will save you money, and you may qualify for financial help to make improvements.

What home improvements can I make?

If you have a house, check your loft is insulated to the recommended depth 270 mm. Wall cavity insulation, hot water pipe and hot water cylinder insulation can also save you money.

A time switch will help you set heating and hot water to come on at times you need them. Room thermostats switch off the heating automatically at a certain temperature, and individual radiator thermostats will allow you to control each room's temperature separately. 

High-efficiency condensing boilers are the most energy efficient and might help save you around a third of the cost of your heating bills.

Read our energy saving tips for improvements you can make without altering your home.

Help with the costs of home improvements

If you live in council housing or rent from a housing association, contact your landlord to find out more about saving energy.

If you live in private accommodation or own your own property, there are schemes that help with the costs of improvements. Criteria will vary according to which part of the UK you live in.

The Green Deal scheme

Available in England, Scotland and Wales, the Green Deal scheme allows you to make energy efficient improvements with no upfront costs. The costs are recovered through instalment charges on your electricity bill.

Call the Energy Savings Advice Service (0300 808 2282) if you're in England or Wales or Home Energy Scotland (0808 808 2282) if you're in Scotland.

The Energy Company Obligation scheme (ECO)

Larger energy suppliers will provide certain homes with energy efficiency measures, such as glazing and insulation. This includes insulation in 'hard to treat' homes. Providers with ECO obligations include British Gas, EDF, E.ON, First Utility and Scottish Power.

Call the Energy Savings Advice Service or contact your energy supplier to find out what improvements they make under the scheme. Many suppliers have this information on their websites.

Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS)

HEEPS is a package of schemes that can provide, among other money-saving initiatives, funding to insulate your home.

Call the Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 to find out what support you're eligible for. Anyone who calls the hotline can get free expert energy advice.

The Affordable Warmth grant scheme in Northern Ireland

This scheme provides households with energy efficiency improvements. Available improvement measures include heating systems and insulation installation and window replacement.  

You might be entitled to the scheme if you are an owner occupier or a householder of a privately rented property and your gross annual household is income is less than £20,000. Certain benefits are included in the income assessment, but Disability Living Allowance (DLA) payments for dependent children should be ignored.

The scheme is only available in areas being targeted by the local council. Those areas considered to be in greatest need of energy efficiency will be contacted first. To find out more, visit the NI Direct webpage or call 0300 200 7874.  

The NEST Scheme Wales

Open to all in Wales, NEST can offer free advice, a full home energy assessment and home improvements for the most energy inefficient homes, including insulation and newer technologies.

You can apply by calling NEST on 0808 808 224 or completing a NEST call back request form.

Council schemes (UK-wide)

Councils have powers to help 'vulnerable' groups with repairs and improvements to the home. Conditions do apply. Check to see if you qualify. Contact your local authority housing department for further information.

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