Every time you turn on the TV or look at the news app on your phone, you’re confronted with something about the rising cost of energy bills. It’s something that is putting some people in a very difficult situation but if you’re struggling to keep up with powering your home, there are some things you can do to potentially reduce the cost of this.
Depending on what you want to achieve, you could make some quick fixes. However, there are some other things that, while they do require an initial investment, will save you a lot of money over time.
Quick Fixes That You Can Do Now
Change Your Lightbulbs
One of the simplest and most affordable things you can do to save on your energy bills is to update your lightbulbs. Old fashioned halogen and incandescent bulbs eat up far more electricity than newer low energy models. In fact, according to The Independent, they could be zapping up to five times more energy!
It’s true that these low energy bulbs are slightly more expensive than traditional ones but they also last a lot longer so you won’t need to replace them as frequently.
Create A Smart Home
Smart home devices are ten a penny these days so it doesn’t cost a lot to install them, whereas even just a few years ago they were considered a luxury item.
Things like smart bulbs and smart plugs are ideal for saving energy, even when you’re not at home. Let’s assume you’ve gone to stay with family and after a drive that lasted several hours, you realise that you forgot to turn off the lamps. Simply hop onto your smartphone app and turn them off from wherever you are.
Heat Your House Smartly Too
It isn’t only smart electrical sockets and light bulbs that can be used to save energy. There are also smart thermostats that are far more versatile than a traditional thermostat.
If you live in a large house, heating it can be very costly and in some cases, you might not even need to heat the whole house. Guest room? Occasional sitting room? These areas aren’t always in use so heating them seems a waste of money but with a smart thermostat, you have much greater control and can select which rooms to heat.
Turn Down The Thermostat
On the subject of thermostats, do you really need it as high as it’s currently set? For most people, the answer to that question would be no. There has been research to show that by turning it down just one degree, you could save more than £100 a year! That’s about £8.30 a month; enough for fish and chips for two!
The insulation in your loft could be what is causing you to spend so much on heating your home. When was the last time you had this replaced or even inspected? For a lot of homeowners, it’s been a significant amount of time and unfortunately, isn’t at the top of most people’s priority lists.
However, by having the correct insulation, your home will better be able to hold heat and this will make a marked difference to your energy bills. According to one supplier of insulation, as much as 80% of the heating and cooling of your home could be saved purely through using the recommended insulation.
Avoid Leaving Things On Standby
We know what it’s like; it’s so much easier to put the TV on standby rather than going over and fully powering it off at the plug socket. This is the same for a lot of other electrical appliances and even though they’re using minimal power while in standby, they’re still using some power. If you’ve got several appliances in standby mode at once, it goes without saying that this will consume a decent amount of power.
The solution is simple; get into the habit of turning things off completely. It might feel like a minor inconvenience to start with but it’ll soon become second nature and you’ll notice a few extra pounds in your pocket.
Do you actually need to wash your clothes at 60º? Probably not. In fact, for most garments, this could do more harm than good. You’ll find that washing your clothes at a cooler temperature keeps them in better condition. The only time you’ll need to wash at a higher temperature is if an item is very stained.
But it isn’t only your clothes that will benefit from this. Washing at a lower temperature will also dramatically bring down your energy costs and it’s better for the planet as well. What’s not to love?
Additionally, you should be thinking about how full your washing machine is before you switch it on. It’s tempting to throw in a couple of items just to get them out of the way but you’ll only find yourself running the appliance far more frequently than you need to. Doing this is obviously going to use up more energy and boost your bill and since your washing machine is within the top appliances that use the most power, you’ll want to save where you can.
But it isn’t only washing your clothes that you’ll need to think about. Drying them can use up just as much electricity. You should ask yourself whether you really need to use that tumble dryer or whether you could get away with drying your clothes outdoors. During the summer months, your clothes will dry quickly in warm weather and nothing can beat the fresh scent of washing dried outdoors on a sunny day.
Keep The Heat In
Nobody likes a draughty home. There’s nothing worse than sitting in a cosy living room with the fire on and feeling a blast of cold air coming through a crack in the door or window. But not only is this uncomfortable and downright miserable, it can also be equivalent to throwing money down the toilet.
You see, the better your home can retain heat, the less energy it will need to maintain a consistent temperature. This is why it’s super important to draught-proof your home and stop heat escaping. You’ll notice a significant decrease in your energy bills by doing this.
Install A Smart Meter
A smart meter is a great addition to the modern home and if you haven’t already got one, we would suggest that it’s time to consider it. They’re brilliant at helping you to monitor your energy use so you’ll be able to see where you need to improve most.
You can follow every tip in this guide but without a clear idea of what you specifically need to work in your home, you might be clutching at straws. What’s more, the days of having the gas or electric man round to do a reading will be a thing of the past as your smart meter sends all the data directly to your supplier. Check out our full guide on smart meters here.
Think About How You Use Your Kitchen Appliances
The kitchen is filled with appliances that consume a LOT of power and when they’re all working hard, your energy bill goes up swiftly. However, the way that you use your kitchen appliances can impact how much you’ll have to fork out for energy so it’s worth having a rethink.
For starters, are you guilty of over-filling your kettle when making a cuppa just for yourself? We’ve all done it with the intent of saving the water for the next time only to refill it again. But when you over-fill, your kettle is having to work longer and harder to boil all that water. The simple act of only using as much water as you need can save you pennies in the long run.
When you are cooking, you don’t always need to fire up the oven, especially if you are reheating food. Your microwave uses far less energy largely because it doesn’t use power to heat up before you can use it. If possible, use your microwave instead of your oven and you’ll see some serious savings.
You might also consider using a slow cooker in place of your oven as these use markedly less energy. What’s great as well is that slow cooking meats makes them much more tender and in the winter, this is a great option for making stews and casseroles for those cosy nights in with the family. It’s a win-win all around!
Another thing to consider when cooking is how long your food spends in the cooker. It goes without saying that the longer your appliances are running, the more money you’ll be spending. By thoroughly defrosting your food before cooking it, you will drastically reduce the cooking time.
Moreover, there are some foods, such as chicken that should always be fully defrosted before cooking to avoid food poisoning. This happens more commonly with larger pieces of chicken such as a whole bird or chicken breasts. When you put them into the oven from frozen, the outer parts may appear cooked while the core temperature isn’t, therefore any bacteria is not killed.
Insulation, Insulation, Insulation
You might think that you only need to insulate the roof, loft and walls of your home and don’t let us stop you; that’s an excellent energy-saving idea. But what a lot of people forget to do is to insulate their hot water pipes and cylinders (if there is one in your home.)
If these are not insulated, heat will escape and yet again, your heating system is going to have to work harder which means…yes, you guessed it; higher energy bills. Insulating pipes isn’t an expensive job and you can pick up the materials for next to nothing. Consider that an insulation jacket for a hot water cylinder costs just £15 and compare this to how much you could potentially save.
Ways To Save With Water
Reducing the pressure of your shower is one of the best ways to save energy and water. We know; a high-pressure shower feels good but it might not feel as good when you see your energy bill. By switching to a low-pressure head or simply turning down the pressure, you could save an astonishing amount of energy, not to mention how much water you could save.
According to experts, running a low-pressure shower for 175 minutes will only use 262 gallons of water which could save you as much as 60% every month!
As well as rethinking your shower habits, you should also think about how you use your taps. Lots of us are guilty of leaving them running when they don’t need to be and it’s surprising how this can add up and affect your energy bills. For every moment your hot tap is running, your boiler is churning through energy at an astonishing rate.
Moreover, if you have a dripping hot tap, it’s essential to get this checked and fixed as quickly as possible.
Get The Best Value For Money
If you have done everything possible to try to save energy and are still getting an eye-watering bill, it might be time to think about switching suppliers. Some money experts recommend regularly changing to get the best deals and while this is a bit of a pain, it could be worth it.
Spend some time researching the market and figuring out which deals would best meet your energy use. You can then switch and save and the great thing is that, once you’ve contacted the suppliers, they’ll take care of everything else for you.
It may also be worth looking at whether you are eligible for any schemes or grants. With solar power really coming to the forefront in recent years, there are many schemes out there that will reward you for using them. The same can be said for things like installing an energy-efficient boiler or insulation. It’s a good idea to sign up for email alerts and social media pages to get the most up to date information on what you might qualify for.
Invest Now To Save Later
The things we have discussed so far are all relatively affordable and can be implemented right away. However, there are some things you can do to save energy that requires something more of an investment in both time and money. While this might seem like a scary prospect, what you save over time will certainly make it more attractive.
Solar Panel Installation
According to reports, installing solar panels could save you as much as 25% on your energy bills. The problem is that these panels can cost a fortune to install with fees going into the thousands. So is it really worth it?
It’s thought that the average saving for a three-bedroom property could be around £400 per year. It would take you a few years to break even but after that, it’s plain sailing. Of course, you’ll also need to consider how many solar panels you need and how much energy they’ll be able to generate given the conditions in the UK.
Solar panels will work on overcast days but they just won’t generate quite as much power. If nothing else, it’s an eco-friendly way to get energy so worth considering.
Switch To An Electric Vehicle
By 2030, the UK government hopes to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel vehicles with electric and the changes are already starting to happen. Now, we will be upfront about this; your electricity bill will rise if you’re charging your car at home but what you’ll save in fuel will drastically outweigh this.
Electric or hybrid vehicles don’t come cheap but since this should be considered an investment, you have to think about what you’ll save in the long run. And much like solar panels, electric vehicles are far more environmentally friendly.
Replace All Appliances With Energy Efficient Ones
How do you know how energy efficient your appliances are? They usually come with a sticker detailing their efficiency on an alphabetical scale. Those that are the most energy-efficient are A+++. A++ and A+ while those at the lower end of the scale will gobble up far more energy.
The good news is that most manufacturers are trying to produce more efficient appliances so if you are able to do an overhaul and replace everything, you could save money over time. We won’t lie, doing this is going to be a serious investment especially if you have a lot of appliances.
That said, you could sell your old ones to partially fund your shopping spree. What you save could be massive since according to money experts, you could save three-quarters of your energy bill just by swapping your appliances.
Choose A Better Boiler
When was the last time you had a new boiler? For a lot of people, the answer is far too long ago. While your boiler might be performing well and not breaking down regularly, that doesn’t mean it is the best option for your home, especially where saving money on your energy bills is concerned.
You see, boilers that were made years ago were not designed with energy efficiency in mind but a lot of newer boilers are. So, while a new boiler might cost you initially, what you’ll save over time could be very significant.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, more than half of your annual energy bills go towards heating and hot water. It’s something of a no-brainer.
Invest In Double Glazing
The cost of installing a whole set of new windows on your property can be eye-watering but so can the amount of money you’ll spend on lost energy every year. By investing in double glazing now, you’ll set yourself up for a lifetime of lower energy bills, especially if you follow some of the other tips in this guide.
Double glazed windows are made up of two panels of glass and in between, there is a vacuum of air. This design prevents heat loss so you will notice that you don’t have to have your heating on for as long or set as high as usual. Then, once it is heated, it’ll take much longer to cool back down, saving you money.
Cavity Wall Insulation
Not all houses have cavity walls and you can find out whether you do by looking at the Energy Performance Certificate for your property. If you do have them then installing cavity wall insulation could save you a whopping 33% on your annual energy bills, according to one supplier.
How much cavity wall insulation costs will vary according to the size of your property. Generally speaking, however, it isn’t a cheap venture with most contractors charging around £200 per wall. Again, it’s important to look at what you’ll save in the long run and that 33% is certainly an attractive figure.
We are all focused on making the most of what we have and saving money but when it comes to how much energy we use, a lot of us are guilty of burying our heads in the sand. But the truth is that just a few simple changes to your lifestyle could be enough to drop your energy bills by quite a lot.
If you’re willing to invest a little more time and money, you could take more significant steps to reduce your energy bills. Things like solar panel installation, double glazing and scraping your high energy consuming appliances can all save you heaps of cash in the long run.