Gas and electricity Updated:
It may be unseasonably warm for much of the country, but October is traditionally the month when households try to avoid tumbling temperatures and take the sting out of darker nights by turning on the heating. So, are you ready for the big winter switch on?
Hopefully, a lot of you are – and some may even be ahead of the game. According to research from AA, 39% of households put their heating on in October, but 27% put theirs on in September. Not everyone heads for the thermostat as soon as temperatures drop, however, as a particularly brave 2% hold out until December.
We're hoping that this spell of warm weather will continue for as long as possible, but we know it isn't going to last forever – and waiting until December to switch the heating on could well seem impossible! But, that doesn't mean you don't want to start preparing, as Helen Brooker, head of AA Home Membership, comments:
"This year's unusually warm September means that many people won't have thought about their heating. A sudden cold October snap may be a bit of a shock to the system so now would be a good time to check everything's working as it should.
"It may seem counter-intuitive, but it's always a good idea to put the heating on for a few minutes in the summer from time to time. This can help make sure there are no problems and keeps the system ticking over. If you haven't turned your heating on yet, it might be a good idea to do so just to check everything works properly. If you spot any problems now, you should be able to fix them before it gets really cold."
Sage advice, and it seems that a lot of people are heeding it. The figures revealed that 81% of households turn their heating on to make sure it's working in the run-up to autumn, while 77% sensibly get their boiler and gas appliances serviced, ensuring they won't be stuck in a freezing cold house when temperatures plummet.
Switching the heating on and checking appliances aren't the only things that can help you prepare for the colder weather – what about switching supplier?
A lot of fixed rate tariffs are due to expire by the end of the month, and that could see your energy bills soar. That's before we even think about how much extra energy you'll use over the winter – if you don't shop around now, it won't be such a happy new year when you get your bills through!
It's important to stay on the ball as inaction could cost you hundreds of pounds if you're not careful. Now's the time to get searching – use our handy comparison tool to hunt out the best deals – and remember to not always go for household names. The big six will invariably offer higher rates than a lot of smaller, independent suppliers, and they don't win the race in terms of customer satisfaction, either.
Prices may be rising but you can still find several fixed rate tariffs for less than £1,000 per year, so it could be a great time to switch. So, make sure you start searching before you head for the heating controls, and you'll be prepared for the big winter switch on with ease!
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