Fires cost. At best it’s smoke damage and a new appliance, at worst it’s your house or even your life. Here are our best tips to save money while staying safe at the same time.
The cost of living is rising and people are looking for all sorts of ways to save money while staying warm. Some of the advice out there is really useful and some of it needs a little more information to make sure you’re doing it in a safe way.
Fact or fiction?
True. But, it’s important to make sure your electric blanket is in working order. That means no scorch marks or fraying, that the cord isn’t damaged and that it’s not buzzing. Don’t buy second hand and make sure yours is less than 10 years old. Unplug blankets before you get into bed, unless it has a thermostat control for safe all-night use. Keep water away from it – that includes a hot water bottle. When you’re storing it loosely fold or roll it and let it cool first.
True. This could be cheaper than heating your whole house. But be cautious – keep it well away from anything that could set fire - including your clothes - and plug it straight into the mains rather than an extension lead. Don't buy second hand and make sure the heater is in good condition.
True. It makes sense and it means you won't have to have it on as high. But just be sure you’re not blocking any exits or escape routes. It’s easy to forget that you might need to get out in the pitch-black.
True. These are a good way of warming you rather than paying to heat your whole home. Just make sure you don't put it in your microwave for longer than the instructions say. And make sure your microwave is working properly. If the turntable isn't moving then the wheatbag won't heat up evenly which could mean parts are too hot and could catch alight.
Not true. It won't make much difference to the temperature of your home but it could easily start a fire. When candles are placed together they can cause flaring and the fire can spread easily. We don't recommend placing things like plant pots over then to channel the heat either - the temperature results will be minimal and not worth the risk.
Unlikely to be true. Most electricity tariffs are no longer cheaper at night. But if yours happens to be it's still really important you only run these appliances while you're awake. What’s for sure is if you're asleep you are much less likely to spot a small problem (smoke coming from a socket) before it becomes a fire. If a fire starts at night you're much more likely to be injured or die.
Driving safely while saving money
Making sure your car is winter ready and driving with the cold weather in mind can save you money as well as keep you safe by lowing the chance of a road traffic collision.
- Cars are at their least efficient when cold. If you drive quickly straight from start-up, you are redoubling the wasted fuel, and also wearing out the engine more quickly in the process
- Empty the boot and remove the roof rack when it’s not in use. Excess weight and drag in the vehicle increases fuel consumption
- Checking your tyre pressure can also save you money. An under-inflation of just 15psi (which you most likely wouldn’t be able to see) can lead to 6% more fuel being used
- Use a petrol price app or website to compare the cost of fuel locally; it pays to shop around.
- Download the what3words app to help you find, share and save your precise location if you do need help from the emergency services while out and about
Some more save safely ideas…
- Our most important tip is to make sure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home. That way, no matter what happens, you'll be alerted to the first sign of a fire
- Stop standby. Did you know that a phone charger uses power even when it’s not actually charging a phone? There may be a bit of debate over exactly how much you could save by unplugging devices that you aren't using, but every little helps and it's safer to unplug anyway
- Set the timer. When you need to use your central heating more regularly, check if your system has a timer function. The timer can be used to switch your heating on and off so that you use it less. For example, turning your heating on just for the coldest parts of the day, such as a few hours in the evening and in the morning when you’re waking up means you won’t forget to turn it off and it will help to save you money
- Heat individual rooms. If you’re able to switch individual radiators off in your home, save money by turning off those in spaces that aren’t often used, only keeping radiators switched on in the rooms you use most
- Close doors. It's amazing how much heat can disappear out the door, and by keeping doors shut, you also reduce the chance of fires spreading from room to room. Check your windows too - closing your blinds and curtains and help with drafts
- Pay to save. Getting your heating system serviced may cost a bit up front but it can also highlight problems which may be reducing its efficiency, costing you money and raising the risk of fire. It’s the same with a chimney – paying to get it swept will mean you’re less likely to have a fire
Further links and support
- Help for Households - Gov.uk
- Money, debt and benefits - Essex County Council
- Helping you with the cost of living - Essex County Council
- Citizens Advice Bureau
- Energy Saving Trust