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For the safety of you and your family, it is advisable to fit a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm in your home. Just like a smoke alarm which alerts you to the presence of smoke, a carbon monoxide detector will alert you to the presence of CO.
The difference with CO is that it is invisible and has no smell or taste, so you might not realise it is there.
Smoke alarms do not detect carbon monoxide.
Gas Safe Register recommends the use of audible carbon monoxide alarms. It should be marked to EN 50291 and also have the British Standards' Kitemark or another European approval organisation's mark on it. CO alarms usually have a battery life of up to 5 years.
Fit an alarm in each room with a gas appliance. Always follow the alarm manufacturer’s instructions on siting, testing and replacing the alarm.
Do not use the ‘black spot’ detectors that change colour when carbon monoxide is present, they don’t make a sound. It is important to choose an alarm that will wake you up if you’re asleep, or you may not be aware of early CO symptoms until it is too late.
If you haven't switched your energy supplier in the last three years, there’s a good chance you could save money.
Already switched supplier? Make sure you're on the cheapest tariff. The biggest savings are for paying by monthly direct debit, online tariffs managed on the internet, or duel fuel deals, so make sure you take advantage of these options if you can. Find out more about getting the best deal from your supplier.
The Energy Saving Trust has a free home energy check that will help you find out where to make energy-efficiency improvements and how much you might save.
It estimates some households could save £250 by following its personalised advice.
An energy monitor is a simple handheld gadget that estimates in real time how much energy you're using, so you can see where to cut back.
Monitors cost from around £40, but some gas and electricity suppliers give them away free.
Reducing room temperatures about just 1ºC can cut heating bills by around £65 a year according to the Energy Saving Trust, so put on a jumper rather than turning up the heating.
Save even more by turning down the radiators in rarely-used or empty rooms and by programming your heating to turn off when you're not there.
Energy saving-light bulbs can help you cut your energy bills easily. If you replace all the light bulbs in your house with energy saving ones, you could save about £60 a year.
Remember, energy-saving light bulbs do last longer than traditional ones - most CFLs claim lifetimes upwards of 6,000 hours and LEDs around 25,000 hours, where as traditional light bulbs last around 1,000 hours.
Remember to switch off lights when not in use, and use the best bulb for the size of room or the job it will do.
Stopping heat from escaping through unwanted gaps could help you save around £75 a year. Take a look at the following areas:
Windows - use draught-proofing strips around the frame, brush strips work better for sash windows.
Doors - use draught-proofing strips for gaps around the edges and brush or hinged flap draught excluders on the bottom of doors.
Chimney and fireplace - if you don't use your fireplace, use an inflatable cushion to block the chimney or fit a cap over the chimney pot.
Floorboards and skirting - as floorboards need to move, use a flexible silicon-based filler to fill the gaps.
Loft hatches - the use of draught-proofing strips will help stop hot air escaping.
Consider smaller holes of air such as keyholes and letterboxes.
If you're replacing an appliance, you can cut your electricity bills by choosing the most energy-efficient model you can - for example, running costs for washing machines vary between £12 and £47 per year.
Choosing the most energy-efficient models over least efficient ones can result in annual savings of around £35 for washing machines, £93 for a tumble dryers and £88 for fridge-freezers.
Replacing an old gas boiler with a new condensing model could trim an average of £310 a year from your gas bill.
A new boiler is expensive, with installation costing around £2,500, so if saving money is your priority it’s probably not worth replacing yours until it’s beyond economic repair.
Make sure you're using it efficiently. Ensure radiators are working properly and you are using the boiler programmer so the heating only comes on when you need it.
Insulating both your loft and cavity walls can save you up to £320, and there are currently a number or free insulation deals to help you pay for it.
Laying loft insulation to a thickness of 270mm in a typical non-insulated three-bedroomed semi could trim £180 a year from energy bills, as less heat will be lost through the roof.
Insulating cavity walls can save around £140 a year and solid wall insulation, although more expensive to fit, solid wall insulation could save you £460 to £490 a year.
Even if you already have some insulation you could save £25 a year by topping it up from 100mm to the recommended 270mm.
Half-price cavity wall insulation, money towards installing solar panels and grants for buying a new boiler are just some of the schemes currently on offer to help you save money on energy, for less.
There is also money available to those struggling with energy bill payments. For more information contact your local benefits office or citizens advice.