8 ways to save energy this winter – from an OVO Energy Expert

27 September 2023 | OVO Energy

In winter, there are simple and cost-effective things that can be done to improve a home’s energy efficiency – and reduce bills too.

Greig Millar is one of our Energy Experts, here at OVO. He’s put together 8 of his simplest ways to reduce bills, during the colder months. Lots of these are free, while some of them cost money. We give you an idea of any costs involved and the estimated savings you’ll get. 

1. Turning down the boiler flow temperature

Cost: FREE

Saving: around £651 per year for a typical household 

Not everyone knows that many condensing combi boilers are burning more gas than they need to – because their flow temperature is set between 70 and 80°C. Boilers set to just 60°C are more likely to run at their optimum 95% efficiency, which is usually cheaper. A typical household could save around £65 a year on energy bills by simply lowering the boiler flow temperature to 60°C. 

2. Bleeding radiators

Cost: FREE

Cost saving: Variable, depending on multiple factors

A telltale sign that a radiator needs bleeding is if it's warm at the bottom, but cold at the top. This is caused by trapped air. It means the heating system has to work harder for longer to heat up the home – which will increase energy bills. Greig’s recommendation is to bleed your radiators once a year. All you need is a radiator key and you can follow a step-by-step guide here

3. Installing a smart meter 

Cost: FREE 

Saving: this depends based on your energy use 

Smart meters give you a closer look at the energy your home is using. This can make it easier to spot ways to save. At OVO, smart meters can allow you to access other things we offer like Power Move – which gives you credit back for using energy at greener times of the day. You can also see exactly where your home is using energy with the OVO app, such as whether it’s going on lighting or entertainment. Smart meters are completely free. Book an appointment through your energy supplier and an engineer will do the rest.

4. Turning down radiator valves, in rooms that aren’t used much

Cost: FREE 

Saving: around £135 per year for a typical household2

Turning down the valves of radiators in rooms that aren’t used very much is a good way to save. Even lowering them by 3°C can have an impact on bills. 

5. Insulating with window film 

Cost: Usually around £7-10 

Saving: up to £433

Despite double-glazing being compulsory for new builds, those living in older homes may still have poorly insulated, single glazed windows. One of the cheapest and most effective ways for these households to save money is with window film. This will help to reduce the amount of warmth lost and could save up to £43 a year on energy bills. 

6. Draught-proofing windows and doors

Cost: Around £5 for two rolls of draught-excluder tape 

Saving: around £504

Draught-excluders stop heat from escaping by blocking gaps in doors. For windows, a roll of draught excluder tape will also do the job nicely. This is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy and money – because trapping warm air will mean you use less energy to heat your home. 

7. Switching to LED light bulbs 

Cost: Around £2.50 per bulb

Saving: £7 per bulb5

An energy-saving bulb uses less electricity to give the same amount of light as a traditional bulb. Energy Saving Trust worked out that, in a typical household, for every 60 watt bulb replaced in your home you could save up to £7 per bulb, per year. It can also reduce carbon emissions by up to 40kg a year.

8. Making sure your boiler is working efficiently  

Cost: From £89 per boiler service with OVO 

Saving: If it saves replacing the boiler, anywhere from £1,150 - £5,5006

If you’re able to get your boiler serviced, it can be a cost-effective way to limit the risk of a breakdown. It can also make sure your boiler is working efficiently – which might help with heating bills. At OVO, there are a range of options, including the Complete Plan that covers both boiler breakdown and replacement cover.

Our Energy Experts are here to help 

If you’re thinking about taking bigger steps to improve your home’s efficiency but you’re not sure where to start, then Greig and the rest of our Energy Experts are on hand to help our customers.

You’ll get an expert assessment, an EPC certificate, and personalised advice on the best ways for you to save energy and money. They can advise on things like insulation, heat pumps, and solar panels – as well as working out exactly where your home is losing heat. According to Citizens Advice, homes that upgrade their energy efficiency to EPC level C could save up to £951 per year. If you're an existing OVO customer, check your online account for exclusive discounts on Energy Experts.