From making your home more energy efficient to reducing your consumption of water, our expert advice and the following tips will help you to save money on your energy bills while remaining comfortable within your home.
Check for Deals
Whether you have had the same energy contract and the same supplier for your energy for several years or you have recently changed, it is always worthwhile either giving your provider a call or looking on their website to see if you are still receiving the best deal. A standard tariff, which is what new customers are usually given when they sign up, is unlikely to be the best deal the provider can offer. Take a thorough look at your previous bills to get an average of your energy expenditure before contacting them, so that you are prepared with the facts if the provider offers you an alternative during your discussion. Likewise, if you have any concerns about your bill or you think it may be inaccurate, raise your concerns with your provider.
Many suppliers will charge extra when they receive payment by cash or cheque; this is usually because it is a greater cost for the company to process, both in money and time. Usually, switching to paying your energy bills by direct debit will be the most cost-effective way although this can occasionally mean your bills become paperless. When you are negotiating any changes to your tariff, check how you will receive your bills and if you prefer to have them through the post, let them know.
Energy suppliers are constantly competing for business, so it is likely your current supplier will price match a deal you have found, or a competitor will give you a better deal and take your valuable business. Use an accredited price comparison website, or alternatively, give them a call and let them help you find the best energy deal.
Winter Fuel Payment
Currently, the government provide between £100-£300 to individuals who were born before or on the 5th August 1953 as a contribution to their heating bill. This is known as the Winter Fuel Payment, it is one of the benefits for pensioners over 70 and it is advised that eligibility is checked if you are not already receiving this.
Changes You Can Make to Reduce Your Energy Bills
The following steps are easily accomplished. They are small, simple alterations in your habits and home that will contribute to big differences on your energy bills.
The kitchen is one of the highest energy-consuming rooms in your home, with washing machines, kettles, fridges and freezers, the use of these electrical appliances all costs money and add to your energy bill.
Being more conscientious about how you use your appliances within the kitchen can save you a considerable amount of money. Simply by not filling the kettle to the top each time you boil it and only filling it up with as much water as you require will result in a much lower energy consumption.
Washing Machines and Dishwashers
Clothes washing machines drain a large proportion of a household’s water and electricity bill and are another appliance in the kitchen that if used efficiently, can help to reduce your outgoings. There are two steps you can take to reduce your consumption. Firstly, ensure that the washing machine is only used if there is a full load of items. Although the ‘half-load’ setting can seem appealing for a fast turnaround of your laundry or for an item that you are eager to get clean, it is a false economy and the setting is likely to result in greater expenditure in the long term. Secondly, clothes washing machines are much more energy efficient when they are set to clean the contents at a lower temperature. It is estimated that washing clothes at 30 degrees uses approximately 40% less electricity over a year than the higher temperatures. There is a wide variety of washing powders and liquids which have been designed to effectively and thoroughly clean clothes at a lower temperature.
Similarly, dishwashers should only be used when the machine is full, they should also be run at a lower temperature and on the shortest cycle possible, to save you money on your energy bills.
The bathroom is the second biggest energy-consuming room within the house and it is another area where you can considerably reduce your energy bills by making a handful of small changes.
Showers and Baths
It is a well-known fact that showers use less water than a bath. To put this into perspective, an eight-minute shower uses approximately 62 litres of water (based on an average water-pressure), whereas a bath (average size) requires up to 80 litres. If your home doesn’t have a shower, this doesn’t mean it is impossible to reduce your water consumption in the bathroom without installing new sanitary equipment. Filling your bath to the half way point rather than to the top can save a huge amount of water each year, resulting in a reduction in your energy bill. If you do have the means to make alterations within your bathroom, replacing your shower head to an alternative that is more energy efficient can reduce the water and energy used during a shower. Some of the more advanced shower technology can reduce the water consumption without effecting the feel of the water pressure.
Throughout the Home
There are also several changes you can make throughout your home to ensure it is more energy efficient which will in turn, reduce your energy bills.
Lighting can often be one of the biggest ‘hidden’ drains on your home electricity bill. Ensure that you are switching off any lights when you leave a room or the house, although, do leave lights on if they are useful for guiding you to a room or avoiding trip hazards. Another simple change to your lighting is to switch to LED bulbs as these use up to one sixth less energy in comparison to the incandescent alternative, they also have a considerably higher average lifespan and are now much cheaper to purchase.
It is a regular occurrence that electrical items are left on standby mode, for example the television. The lights on these appliances are there to let you know whether the appliance has been put into this mode, for older electrical items, the energy used for this light is sometimes only a fraction less than when the item is fully operational. For newer items, they have a limit as to how much energy can be consumed in this mode. To be sure that you are not wasting energy even when you’re not using the appliance, switch the items off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby.
If you have rooms within your home that you don’t frequently use, then there is little need to either light or heat that part of your home. Reduce your energy bills by switching off radiators, drawing curtains and shutting the doors to these rooms. This is so that the cool air doesn’t circulate around the rest of the home and that the warm air is less likely to escape into that particular room.
Installing an energy monitor within your home allows you to closely observe how much energy you are using and which appliances are the biggest drain. You can buy these from electrical stores or alternatively, contact your energy supplier as they may provide you with one for free.
Insulating your home may seem like a large investment, but it can reduce energy bills by a considerable amount year on year. Loft and wall insulation will prevent the heat from escaping the building and draft excluders will reduce the energy waste from unwanted gaps such as windows, skirting and loft hatches.
Have you made your home energy efficient with the aim of reducing your bills? Let us know how you managed the changes in use via our social media channels.