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How to keep household energy costs down this winter

The clocks went back three weeks ago... so the long, dark nights are truly upon us.

And – if the hype is to be believed – we're set for another big freeze this winter.

As temperatures plummet and the cost of living continues to rise, homeowners are being advised to plan ahead and to consider how energy costs could be reduced during the winter months.

The Belfast Telegraph asked leading energy provider Power NI – which offers a range of energy and money saving options – to devise an energy checklist for our readers so that you can budget with ease this year.

Power NI's Kerstie Forsyth said it only takes small changes to your home and how you use and manage your energy to save money and slash bills.

"Many homeowners don't realise that they can lose up to a quarter of the heat through the roof and a third through the walls due to poor insulation according to the Energy Saving Trust," she said.

"Good loft insulation could save you up to £175 each year and cavity wall insulation could reduce your annual heating bill by £135.

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"Get advice on insulation from one of our experts and you'll see that running a warmer, energy-efficient home is much easier than you think. A good starting point is our free online Home Energy Check (HEC), which will give you a tailored report on how to save energy immediately.

"Even small changes will help you to create a warmer, more cost effective home."

Here's a handy Energy Checklist for you to keep costs down:

1 Heating accounts for 60% of your annual energy bill so a regular boiler service will help improve its efficiency.

2 Invest in energy saving light bulbs – by replacing traditional ones with energy saving ones could save you around £60 a year.

3 Don't leave electrical devices on standby.

4 Reducing thermostats by just 1ºC could save you up to £65 each year.

5 Keep the chill out by draught proofing your windows and doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards – you could save up to £55 each year.

For information visit www.powerni.co.uk/heating or call the following number: 0800 0321 894, free of charge.

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