Guest blog by Confused.com

People are turning to ever more desperate measures to save on gas and electricity bills this winter but there are simpler ways to heat and light your home for less, as a Confused.com video shows.

Around 45 per cent of UK households are avoiding switching the lights on in their homes, according to our poll this month.

We were taken aback to find that 3% of people eat by candlelight to save on lighting – great for the romantics among us, but not ideal on a daily basis.

And 14% of people are sharing bath water with their family as householders turn to more extreme ways to keep the cost of their energy down.

Worryingly, as more Brits struggle to pay heating bills, 70% of over 55s admit to wearing more clothes to avoid putting the heating on.

Save not scrimp

While we applaud energy rationing, we don’t like the thought of anyone, especially the elderly, going without heat and light this winter.

Here at Confused.com, we wanted to show people that there are simple and comfortable ways to save on energy bills, without having to scrimp on the basics.  

So we took a trip around a typical home to see what energy-efficient measures could be carried out.

After all, with the price of gas and electricity going up, no-one wants the heat they are paying for escaping out of a poorly insulated home.

We asked an expert from the Energy Saving Trust to look around a home and offer quick-fix energy saving tips.

Watch our video above to see what you could be doing at home to cut back on your bills.

Switch and save

Here at Confused, we’re always telling consumers about the importance of shopping around to see if another energy supplier can offer you a better deal on your gas and electricity bills.

Prime Minister David Cameron has even got in on the act, telling people to switch as part of a new government campaign launched at last week’s energy summit.

The PM, energy secretary Chris Huhne, energy suppliers, regulator Ofgem and consumer organisations met to tackle rising household gas and electricity bills.

Now is a good time to switch as all of the “big six” energy firms who supply 99 per cent of UK households have recently announced price rises.

Gas bills will rise by up to 19 per cent and electricity bills up to 16 per cent adding £160 on average to annual household fuel bills.

Around 97% per cent of customers who switched gas and electricity with Confused.com between November 2010 and April 2011 made a saving – with 10% saving an impressive least £400.41.
Insulation: a giant duvet for your home 

But switching is only half the story. Making sure your home is well insulated is the other half of the battle.

Loft and cavity wall insulation could save you £310 on your energy bill according to the Energy Saving Trust, while small fixes such as draught-proofing windows and doors can save up to £30 a year.

You can even save money by using your everyday appliances more efficiently.

For example, if everyone boiled only the water they needed each time they use the kettle, it would save enough electricity to power the UK’s street lights for two months.

It’s Energy Saving Week and on Thursday, 27 October, Confused.com is hosting a live webchat where you can put your questions about how to lower your gas and electricity bills to experts from the Energy Saving Trust and Confused.com.

The live question and answer session takes place here between 12.30pm and 1.30pm. Visit the page and set a reminder so you don’t forget to take part!