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Insulation 'has key role in keeping energy bills down'

Fitting more and better home insulation is a key way to keep winter fuel bills down, an expert has told householders.

In an article written for the Daily Mail, operations management lecturer at the University of Sheffield Robert Marchand listed a number of steps that householders can take to keep their homes warm over the coldest months of the year without paying through the nose for it.

He said up to 25 per cent of household heat can be lost through the roof, but fitting 25cm-thick insulation throughout a loft can help prevent this.

Cavity wall insulation can be even more effective, Mr Marchand noted, as unprotected walls can lead to around a third of the heat being lost.

He explained: "Although it's not as cheap to install as loft insulation, cavity wall insulation could save up to £160 a year in heating bills.

"It's also worth checking with your energy supplier to see if they have any insulation schemes running - which can sometimes mean cheap or free installation."

The expert also advised making sure heaters are well insulated, as well as checking they are functioning efficiently.

Speaking as Britain got its first winter snow and a polar vortex threatened to bring some seriously cold weather to the UK, Mr Marchand also offered a series of further tips.

He advised turning down the thermostat slightly to achieve a temperatures of 18 degrees celsius, rather than the 21 degrees that official advice had previously prescribed. Opening the curtains by day to let the sun in and keeping them closed after dark was another tip, so that heat could be gained and then retained. Blocking off draughts and keeping sofas away from radiators to enable heat to spread more effectively were among his other suggestions.

Similar advice was offered to readers of the Cambridge news by Peter Thom, the founder of energy efficiency firm Green Heat.

He said a combination of insulation and draught proofing can help householders save up to £30 a year on average from their energy bills.