Warmer winter checklist

Worried about fuel bills and keeping warm? These tips and resources could help.

You can download a PDF version of the checklist here (and Ukrainian and Urdu translations at the bottom of this page).

If you would like hard copies of this Winter Warmer Checklist to distribute to your kids club, food larder, or any other community group, please get in touch and we will send you copies.

Don’t pay more than you need to for your energy

Check how you pay your bill, it can make a big difference

Help with energy bills

Get help with your energy bills—grants, benefits, and affordable payment plans are available. If you’re on a pre-payment meter and can’t top up, ask your supplier for emergency credit. Reach out to your energy supplier, Better Housing Better Health, and Citizens Advice for more details.

Check your tariff

Comparison websites can then help you check if you are on the best tariff. The website moneysavingexpert.com has advice on whether to stick, switch or fix your energy tariff.

Send regular meter readings to your energy company

If you don’t have a smart meter, submit regular meter readings to your supplier. This will help them bill you based on your actual use.

If you have a smart meter, these should submit your readings automatically. Smart meters are often provided with an energy monitor that can help you learn how much it costs to run different appliances. Alternatively, you can calculate it yourself using the guide below.

Get the support you are entitled to

Sign up to the Priority Services Register

If you are over 60, have young children, or use electrically powered medical equipment, register with your energy company and get extra help and support if there is a power cut. Where to register depends on where you live as you register with your network operator. To find out who your network operator is, put your postcode into this map.

For most Oxfordshire residents, register with SSEN. Find out more.

If you are a Western Power Distribution (WPD) customer, find out more here.

If you are a UK Power Network (UKPN) customer, find out more here.

When completing the form it would be really helpful for monitoring purposes if in the ‘How you heard about us’ section you select ‘Other’ and write Low Carbon Hub. Thank you.

Visit the Help for Households website

The Help for Households website explains all the different support that’s available for energy – and also sets out other national schemes that can help with the cost of living.

Contact Better Housing Better Health

A free service helping all Oxfordshire residents to keep warm, stay healthy, and live well. Call them for free on 0800 107 0044. Find out more.

See what support your local council may offer

Different councils offer a variety grants and support; check out your local council’s website for more information.

Get the most out of your heating

Learn how your heating controls work

Sit down with a cup of tea and read your boiler manual. Alternatively, there are lots of how-to videos and guides on the internet for every heating system type, from combination boilers to storage heaters, which can help you get to grips with the basics.

Set your controls so your heating is only on when you need it

Set your heating so it is only on when you will benefit from it. Remembering to put on a cosy jumper ahead of the heating can help you save money. It’s basic, but should allow you to maintain the same comfort level. You can try:

  • Setting the thermostat to the lowest comfortable temperature, usually in the 18-21 degree C range. Turning down by just 1 degree could save £75 from your energy bill.
  • Setting the programme so the heating comes on just before you get up in the morning and get home for the day.
  • Switch off the heating before you go out for the day, or go to bed, as your home will stay warm for some time.

Turn down heating in rooms you aren’t using

Get your heating system running at its most efficient

  • Move furniture away from radiators so hot air can circulate.
  • Bleed your radiators to remove trapped air.
  • If your radiators are hot at the top but cold at the bottom, the system might have sludge in it, and benefit from being professionally cleaned.
  • Check to see if your heating system is suitable for running at a lower flow temperature. You may be able to save 5-10% on your heating costs.
  • Air source heat pumps: This guide helps you to make the most of your air source heat pumps

Create energy-wise routines

Every day

  • Open your curtains in the morning, to make the most of winter sunshine.
  • At dusk close your curtains. If they cover a radiator, tuck them behind so the heat stays in the room.
  • Close internal doors to trap the heat in the room.
  • Try a different energy saving hack from our ‘no-cost /low-cost’ energy saving ideas each day and see which work for you.

Every month

Every year

Keep your heat!

Once you have your heating working efficiently, consider which of the following DIY projects you could try to cut down draughts and retain your heat. If you rent, talk to your landlord first. There’s lots more information and links to further resources below.

Draught proofing


  • Use floor board draught excluder that expands to fill gaps.
  • Fill gaps between your skirting board and the floor.
  • Rugs can help prevent heat loss through cold spots in floors.




Hot water


  • Add radiator panels behind radiators that are on external walls. There are lots of different types you can buy, or make your own with card and foil. Cost: around £8-12 per radiator.

Ventilation and condensation

Long-term improvements

From cavity wall insulation to installing solar panels, there are bigger changes we can make to our homes to make them more energy efficient, save money, and reduce our carbon emissions.

Explore what improvements are possible in your home with Plan Builder

Try this free Plan Builder tool. Just put in your Oxfordshire postcode, and discover the current energy efficiency and performance of your home, based on existing data, then draw up your new plans. Find out more.

Check to see what grants are currently available

You may be eligible for energy efficiency upgrades to be fitted to your home, free of charge. These upgrades are known as ‘retrofitting’ and could help to reduce your energy bills and make your home easier to keep warm. Find out more.

See if the Cosy Homes Oxfordshire service is right for you

If you have the funds to pay for work, and are considering multiple home improvements, this service provides a full, one-stop-shop service to help reduce your energy bills, cut carbon emissions and make your home healthier and more comfortable. Visit cosyhomesoxfordshire.org.

Where to go for further support

Low Carbon Hub

For more energy saving advice and how to sign up to the Priority Services Register. Find out more.

Oxford City Council

For retrofit advice, plus an excellent summary of key grants for householders, see here. You can also download their helpful flowchart covering possible funding here.

Oxfordshire County Council

The latest energy efficiency grant news for Oxfordshire residents. Find out more. You can also see if you’re eligible for funding by registering your interest in their energy efficient scheme here.

Help for Households

Government website with key financial support available to help with the cost-of-living crisis.  helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk

Better Housing Better Health

Call 0800 107 0044 for free and impartial energy advice for all Oxfordshire residents from understanding your bills to accessing grants and support. Find out more.

Cosy Homes Oxfordshire

Start your energy efficiency journey with the free Plan Builder online tool. They also offer a one-stop retrofit service ideal for householders wanting to invest in transforming their house into a cosy home. Find out more.

For practical advice

Housewarming Guides

Low Carbon Oxford North’s free home improvement guides can be downloaded from here.

Energy Saving Homes short videos

Bite-Size Films on energy saving from Communities for Zero Carbon Oxford. See them all here.

Join the call for change

Tackling the energy crisis, and preventing runaway climate change will take more than individual action. We need the government to also take action to fix our broken energy system. You can help by signing a petition calling for investment in energy efficiency and support for renewable energy.

Check out the Warm this Winter campaign.

Struggling with it all?

  • Your local Citizens Advice can help with financial support and emergency fuel vouchers. Find out more.
  • Can’t afford your energy bill? Contact your energy supplier. They may be able to spread out payments, or even reduce your bills.
  • If it’s all getting too much, the Samaritans are waiting for your call. Whatever you’re going through, a Samaritan will face it with you, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call free on 116 123 or visit their website here.

This checklist is also available to download as a PDF by clicking the link below.