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How to find the cheapest energy suppliers in 2019

cheapest energy suppliers 2019

If winter has you feeling down, January has felt like it’s lasted around 97 days, and the weather has you feeling cold, then it’s time to make a change for the months to come.

Energy bills around this time of the year can be extortionate, especially because we’re using more fuel by cooking warmer meals, turning the thermostat up, as well as not wanting to leave the shower in the mornings.

So, what can be done to reduce your energy costs? For one, you can hunt around for a better deal, but instead of trawling each company’s website or calling unhelpful customer service lines, check out some of our top tips for finding the cheapest energy supplier for your home or business this year.

 

1. Don’t stay loyal to one company

Just because you’ve been with your energy supplier for a solid ten years, does not mean that your loyalty will be rewarded. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, with suppliers upping your bills each year, without query or question from yourselves. Although the thought of switching energy suppliers regularly sounds like an inconvenience, it’s actually much easier to do this nowadays, as well as being much more cost-effective.

 

2. Use monthly direct debits to pay

With other costs, such as car insurance, it can be beneficial to pay the amount in one go, saving you interest over the months, as opposed to paying by direct debit each month. However, this is different for your energy bills, and companies actually prefer it if you pay monthly, by direct debit, rather than quarterly, or by cheque. This is because it’s much easier for the energy companies to process and saves admin hassle. If you think about it, it’s better for you too, meaning you don’t forget to pay your bill and know exactly when it will come out of your account each month.

 

3. Check your postcode

If you’re really keen on saving money on your energy bills, you could move house. Although this sounds like a ridiculous way to reduce your costs, it’s been confirmed that energy companies change their tariffs based on postcodes, so it may be beneficial in the long-run to choose an area to live that doesn’t charge inflated amounts. Expensive areas include Cornwall, Devon, and parts of the Midlands.

 

4. Utilise energy comparison sites

With the internet at our fingertips, it’s relatively easy to find a new energy deal at a much lower cost. The best price comparison websites include:

Simply Switch
uSwitch
MoneySuperMarket
Compare the Market

Remember, these aren’t the only energy price comparison websites out there and it’s important to check out a fair few before you make a decision on which one to go for.

Switching energy suppliers is still the best way to make a substantial saving on your energy bills, regardless of whether your current tariff has been capped or not. Websites, such as Money Saving Expert even monitor your tariff for you and send you alerts when they think you should switch again, so you really don’t have to do anything at all!

For more hints and tips on how to save energy in your home, check out our blog article and contact your local branch of Cloudy2Clear today to see if we can replace any failed double glazing, or repair your faulty locks, handles, and hinges.

Energy saving tips for the winter

energy saving tips for winter

 

1. Keep doors and windows closed

As your grandma would say, “Were you born in a barn?” When you enter a room, make sure you shut the door behind you, keeping draughts out and heat in. Ventilation is important in both bathrooms and kitchens, but try to install an extractor fan, rather than keeping windows ajar.

 

2. Use only the rooms you need

If you’re finding that you have a room or two that are rarely used, such as a spare bedroom or office space, then make sure you keep radiators turned off in these areas. Heating rooms that don’t require it is a massive waste of energy.

 

3. Store bottles in the garage or in outside storage

Especially during the Christmas and New Year, we tend to have more food and drink in our homes. Storing bottles in your garage or outdoor storage units will keep them cool, but also means you aren’t overfilling your fridge, or having to run an additional one. Chin chin!

 

4. Wear extra layers

We don’t want to end up sounding like your parents, but before you turn the thermostat up another notch, why not grab a jumper or blanket and layer up? Before you spend money on heating costs, take a look in your wardrobe for cheaper insulation.

 

5. Boiler servicing

Having your boiler serviced can ensure it runs as smoothly as possible throughout the winter months, increasing efficiency and saving you energy.

 

6. Use LED Christmas lights

Light-Emitting Diodes, or LEDs, are much more energy efficient than older style Christmas lights, so make sure you buy new this festive period.

 

7. Invest in thicker curtains or blinds

Time to update your home? You can do this easily with new curtains or blinds that really set a room off. When investing in new furnishings, make sure you take into consideration thickness, as a good quality pair of curtains can block out any annoying draughts, as well as keeping the heat in. You could also invest in a winter duvet to keep you warming throughout the night.

 

8. Repair any faulty locks, handles, or hinges

Noticed that you can’t quite get that window pulled shut? This is probably because you have faulty locks, handles, or hinges, which won’t go away without being repaired. If you’ve put this job off because you think you need the whole window replacing, think again. At Cloudy2Clear, we can complete these smaller tasks without having to take the entire unit out.

 

9. Use a timer for your central heating

Want to wake up or come back to a warm home? Instead of worrying about energy bills by leaving your central heating on 24/7, use a timer switch to ensure that your heating only turns on when required. With advances in technology, it’s easier than ever to control your central heating, even from your mobile phone!

 

10. Utilise heat from the sun where you can

Keep your blinds and curtains open during daytime hours, especially if it’s sunny. Gaining extra heat from the sun is a free way of keeping your home toasty. Keep them closed at night however, to eliminate any excess draughts.

 

11. Draught proof

This can be both a small or a large job. Insulating your loft or attic is a great way to keep precious heat in, saving on energy costs, but can be an expensive method. Use draught excluders along the bottom of your doors is a great and cheap way of keeping draughts at bay.

 

12. Turn down the thermostat

We’re not saying to put a complete ban on using the central heating, but if you’re feeling comfortable in your home, then why not knock the thermostat down by a few degrees? You’ll find that you won’t even notice the difference – except perhaps on your energy bills!

 

13. Be cooking efficient

Simple tasks such as cooking can actually have a big effect on the amount of energy you’re using. By keeping lids on pots and pans, food will boil quicker, and less water vapour will occur. You should also ensure that you’re using the correct size ring on your hob for large and small pans, as this can waste energy.

 

14. Repair failed double glazing

If you’re looking for a more effective way to save energy in your home, why not consider getting your failed double glazing repaired? If you’ve noticed that your windows are misted up or cloudy, then they could also be affecting heat loss in your home. Contact your local branch of Cloudy2Clear today to speak to our helpful team.

How to clean uPVC window and door frames

uPVC is known as one of the best materials to use for window and door frames because of its low maintenance and ability to keep our homes warm and draught free. However, we want this great product to continue looking its best throughout the years, so here at Cloudy2Clear, we’ve outlined some easy maintenance and cleaning tips for your uPVC frames.

 

how to clean upvc windpw and door frames cloudy2clear

 

Best ways to clean uPVC window and door frames

– Open windows and doors fully, as we can often be guilty of missing the inside of our frames, which tend to have the largest build-up of grime and dirt. This can cause windows to be stiff and potentially cause more detrimental issues in the long-run

– You could even use the brush function on your vacuum cleaner to remove the initial layer of dirt, as long as the bristles are soft and are less likely to cause damage to your frames

– As with all cleaning, keep on top of it! Simply wiping your frames down with warm, soapy water on a regular basis, with a deep clean every month or so, will keep those frames gleaming white and the envy of all your neighbours

– Using soft cloths or non-abrasive kitchen roll to wipe down your frames. Always make sure you remove all moisture, as leaving any excess can cause mould

 

Best products to use when cleaning uPVC window frames

– Specialist uPVC cleaners, which tend to come in the form of a paste or cream. This is recommended if your windows haven’t been cleaned in a while and have built-up a particularly large amount of dirt and grime

– Others swear by using washing up liquid; however, this may not be a strong enough cleaner for frames which have been neglected for a while, particularly if you’re moving into a new home

– If you’re into natural methods and would rather avoid manufactured chemicals altogether, try a mixture of vinegar and hot water. Using this as a spray, you can simply leave on your frames for around 10 – 15 minutes, then wipe off with a clean, soft cloth. Minimal elbow-grease is required, and your homemade mixture won’t leave a chemical smell behind

– If you have grey or coloured frames, try not to use any chemicals that could cause the colour to change or lighten. Stick to those products with a more natural feel or simply make your own formula

– During the winter, snow can leave residue on your frames and outdoor sills, so it might require further cleaning during this period, as well as a little more elbow grease!

 

Things to avoid when cleaning uPVC window frames

– Bleach, white spirits, methylated spirits, nail varnish remover – at all costs. No matter what the forums say or what advice your mum gives you, these products can and will damage your uPVC frames, as well as your paintwork on window sills, or wallpaper surrounding them

– Products with dyes in them – this includes washing up liquid, so make sure you check the label

– Abrasive scourers or sponges that could potentially scratch your frames. As we mentioned before, even kitchen roll can sometimes be too rough for uPVC, so make sure you’re confident in the type you’re using

– Even non-abrasive material can cause subtle damage if scrubbing too harshly, so treat your frames gently

 

When cleaning your frames, if you notice that your windows are cloudy or misted up, as if there is condensation between the panes, make sure you contact your local branch of Cloudy2Clear today. We can replace just the pane, which means you keep those gleaming white frames.

Autumn window maintenance tips

There’s no doubt about it; Britain has some of the most unpredictable weather, as well as some of the most miserable.

It’s so important that we ensure our homes are well looked after and maintained effectively, both from a longevity and security point of view. Below, we’ve outlined some of our top tips for maintaining your windows during autumn, and into winter too.

autumn window maintenance tips

 

Improve insulation

Invest in some heavy curtains for these colder months as it will be a small change with a big difference. With a proper lining and thick material, curtains can actually provide more than just privacy and darkness, but also warmth and insulation. Think about blinds too; multiple layers of insulation will not only keep draughts out, they’ll contribute to locking in warmth and keeping your heating bills down as the weather gets colder.

Here at Cloudy2Clear, we also provide insulating glass when repairing any failed double glazing or even if you’re just looking for an upgrade.

 

Repair faulty locks, handles, and hinges

Windows that don’t quite shut properly, or those that can’t open for ventilation to reduce condensation, can be a hinderance throughout October – March. Ensuring that you check each and every window for stiffness, sticking, or broken / faulty locks is an important window maintenance task. This will prevent unnecessary draughts, improve security, and make sure you have that all important ventilation, especially when you start putting the central heating back on.

reparing locks, handles, and hinges

 

Clean away mould

Mould is an annoyance, as well as potentially affecting yours and your family’s health. Making sure you remove this safely and effectively is important for not only the aesthetics of your windows and home, but also for the ongoing health and well-being of your family. You can prevent mould from growing by removing moisture from your windows regularly; keeping furniture away from windows; and using ventilation techniques, such as extractor fans and keeping a window open when cooking or showering.

mould on windows

 

Protecting frames and seals

When preventing or removing mould during the autumn, make sure you use the correct cleaning products and techniques to avoid unnecessary damage. Scouring pads may seem like a good idea, but they can break up your seals, potentially causing your double glazing to fail, as well as damaging the look of your uPVC frames.

how to maintain your windows during autumn

 

Streak-free shine

That watery, autumnal sunshine can magnify the smears and streaks on your windows. For clear glass that will be the envy of all your neighbours, check out our top tips for cleaning your double glazed windows. Cleaning them on regular basis will stop a build-up of residue throughout the autumnal / winter months when the weather becomes more erratic.

 

Repairing failed double glazing

Although we can repair cloudy or misted up windows any time of year, autumn is particularly popular for our customers as it allows them to get all of those home improvement jobs out of the way before Christmas comes around (only 9 weeks to go!).

steamed up double glazing

If you’ve noticed that your windows are becoming increasingly condensed, or have stiff locks, handles, or hinges, contact your local branch of Cloudy2Clear today for more information. With autumn in full swing and winter just around the corner, it’s the perfect time of year to treat your windows to a bit of TLC.

Top three window and door faults to look out for

Even with modern window products and materials, faults can be common. Although many issues are usually harmless and won’t affect the effectiveness of your double or triple glazing, some can become bigger problems in the future, so it’s important to look out for them and be aware when they need addressing.

condensation

 

Windows and doors not opening / closing properly or sticking

Although you may view this as an inconvenience more so that a serious problem, if you have difficulty opening your windows or shutting them, this may make them more susceptible to thieves. Even a slight gap in a window can catch a burglar’s eye; it’s simply not worth putting the job off.

uPVC windows and doors are notorious for expanding and contracting during very hot, as well as very cold, weather. In the UK, our weather conditions can change at the blink of an eye, so if your windows and doors are sticking uncharacteristically, it’s worth making a note of the climate before you make any assumptions about ongoing problems with your windows and doors.

 

bad weather affecting windows

However, most windows stick or don’t close properly because of the locks, handles, or hinges (and if you’re really unlucky, all three!). Not being able to open your windows properly can lead to poor ventilation throughout your home, which could lead to black mould and other unpleasant problems.

 

mould on windows

At Cloudy2Clear, we offer a comprehensive repair service for these particular assets; just contact your local branch today to arrange a free, no obligation quotation. We would recommend you call the experts before you try and fix any issues yourself, as sometimes this can worsen the problem and be more expensive in the long run.

Condensation between the panes

Not only can condensation between the panes of your double glazed windows affect your view, it can also affect the energy efficiency of your windows. It can be tempting to leave this kind of issue; after all, you might think it’s only the view from your window that you’re missing out on, but there are potentially more serious issues at stake.

 

condensation

Blown double glazing could lead would-be thieves to believe you’re lax with your security as you don’t look after your property as well as those who have faultless windows. Fully-working double glazing can actually be seen as a deterrent to criminals. You’re more likely to have a working alarm system and will have locked all your windows with keys.

Misty or cloudy double glazing, in the form of condensation between the panes, also could mean that you’re at risk of losing heat from your home, reducing energy efficiency, and potentially increasing your electricity or gas bills over the winter.

 

gas bills increase over winter

Dirty windows and window maintenance

We know – cleaning your windows inside, and especially outside, can be a laborious and time-consuming process and not something you’re going to look forward to doing. However, window maintenance is extremely important for ensuring the longevity of your double or triple glazing, as well as deterring burglars.

Clean windows are an indication that you look after your home, you’re up on your security, and you’re proud of your assets i.e. you’ve ensured that your home is protected.

You can read our window maintenance guide here for more information on how to prolong the life of your double or triple glazing.

To address the issues above, see our range of window services below:

Double glazing repairs
Insulating glass
Caravan window repairs
Locks, handles, and hinges