Most households pay over £1000 a year on energy bills, and many pay a lot more. Winter not surprisingly is peak consumption time, the heating is blazing away, the lights are on earlier, and we might spend more time in front of the TV or computer screen. So, if you can cut the amount of energy you use during the cold dark months of the year you can make big inroads into the amount you spend on gas and electricity. So here are some practical steps you can take to prepare your home for winter.

Keep out the cold

Now, windows, it sounds obvious but just check you haven’t left any open around the house, and think about double glazing - if you haven’t already got it. Draughts are the enemy! So heavy floor length curtains on windows and doors will help keep them out, and don’t forget the letterbox. It’s also worth thinking about what you are wearing, if your feet are cold, you’re cold, so wear slippers or socks, as well as a jumper or cardigan.

Reduce your energy consumption

Lights use loads of energy, and when it comes to lights, it’s the same simple message that my dad always barked at me ‘Don’t leave a light on in an empty room’ and invest in energy efficient bulbs, they make a big difference to your consumption and your bill. Now, appliances. They are power hungry and our houses tend to be full of them. There are a few common sense guidelines to help cut consumption and save money:

- Don’t leave a TV playing in an empty room and if you have got more than one TV in the house that’s a really important rule to remember.

- Don’t leave the TV or home entertainment system on standby when you are not using it, that little red light has to be powered from somewhere and you are paying for it.

- Don’t leave devices such as laptops, tablets and mobiles on once they are juiced up, they just keep sucking power out of the wall

Be energy-clever

Let’s talk tactics, energy saving tactics.

Think about how you use your appliances; do you whack the dishwasher on the highest setting or run it half full? Could you dry your clothes without using the tumble dryer? These are the types of things that you could think about.

Try having a shower instead of the bath, it uses much less water, and here is the biggy! Make sure you are on the best energy tariff from the most competitive supplier, you can check on our website and it only takes 5 minutes.

Use less, pay less! Now there’s a bright idea.