Switch off to save on electricity -- then pump that money into insulation, says John Hearne
As the temperature drops, most of us are hoping that jumpers will get us through the rest of the month and we won't have to turn on the heating. According to a National Consumer Agency survey, the average price of 1,000 litres of home heating oil is €964.
For a percentage of that, it's possible to make changes that can permanently cut your heating bills.
Paul Kenny is CEO of Tipperary Energy Agency. "For your average three-bedroomed semi, you're talking about a net cost of €600 to get the attic insulated to a very high standard and the walls pumped with insulation."
Moreover, the grants from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland are unlikely to last beyond the end of 2013. Right now, you can get €200 towards the cost of insulating your attic and €250 towards pumping cavity walls with insulation. For a full list of grants, see seai.ie or call 1850 927 000.
Some of the most effective measures for improving energy efficiency cost nothing.
"If you drive around late in the evening," says Kenny, "you'll see lights on all over the place. People just leave appliances on all the time."
"Read your meter at night before you go to bed," says Kenny. "Then read it in the morning and look at how much energy you've used. The following night, switch everything off. You'll see the difference very quickly."
When you do order oil, ring around. The National Consumer Agency found substantial differences in prices between oil companies.