Energy bills, indeed all bills, often seem a never-ending flow of demands. One that can, at times, be overwhelming. On the other hand, you can make them more manageable by focusing on how you consume energy. There are several practical ways you can slash your bills without having to move into a wind turbine or go back to cave dwelling. The secret is in changing everyday habits that you don't even realise aren't the most cost-effective. Unexpectedly high energy bills can lead to needing a quick loan before payday. However, if you apply some of the tips we'll mention in this guide, you should be able to stay within your monthly budget.
One of the best ways to start saving on energy is to first know how much you're actually using. An energy monitor will do the trick as it shows you how much your energy usage is costing you. The Energy Savings Trust reckons using one could help you drop your energy usage between 5% and 15% in the first year of using it.
Making sure your home is well insulated will save you a sufficient amount of energy. Some simple ways of achieving this include checking doors and windows for gaps that air may be coming through. Insulating your doors is as simple as fitting draught excluders or sealant strips along your door edges. Sealant strips can be purchased inexpensively at your local DIY shop.
For your windows, to prevent warm air escaping, ensure all of the windows in your house are shut. In the instance that you still feel air coming through, you may have gaps that you need to patch up with sealer. Thick curtains will also do the trick and help keep the cold air out, so it's worth buying those for the windows. If it does happen that you would like some fresh air, make sure the heating is switched off. Leaving windows open means your heating and money is going to waste. If you can, invest in double glazing as it will save you hundreds of pounds on your heating bill annually.
At times, saving energy means not using any at all. Bundling up at home to keep warm is a great way to keep the heating off when it's chilly. Some ways of bundling up include getting a thick pair of socks or a house robe made of wool, flannel or fleece. Covering the floors with a rug if you don't have a carpet will also help keep your feet snuggly. An extra duvet is also all of the heating you'll need throughout the night. These extras should help you maintain a comfortable temperature at home for free. Below are some examples of green houses:
It is great when saving the planet and the pounds in your pocket are one and the same thing. Check out this list of some top eco household items that can also save on heating bills.
There are so many options now in terms of the type of bulbs you can use that will help you save energy at home. For instance, LED spotlights are a great replacement for halogens. You can also try regular energy saving bulbs and they come in a wide range of shapes, fittings, and sizings. An example of regular energy saving bulbs is fluorescent lamps which you can find at most major supermarkets. Don't forget to turn off the lights when they aren't in use. Occupancy sensors can help you with that automatically if you need some help. Changing your bulbs could mean saving about £35 a year depending on how many light bulbs you use and how often you use them of course. Another energy saving hack would be to paint the walls and ceilings with lighter colours as it will help reflect more light. You will have brighter rooms and you won't need bright bulbs as a result.
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Using the microwave to heat up your food instead of the oven is actually an effective way of saving energy. Apparently, microwaves use only 20% of the energy required to run a full-sized oven. On that note, if you can, cook meals in there as well.
Your refrigerator can be a large consumer of electricity, so it's important you keep an eye on it. There are three key things you can do to make sure it's using and not wasting energy. Firstly, vacuuming the coils at the back of your fridge once a year will ensure it runs at maximum efficiency. Secondly, avoid browsing the fridge a thousand times a day when you're peckish to help save energy. Every time you open the fridge it has to work harder because it has to fire up in order to get cool again. Lastly, check your refrigerator door seals regularly. Warm air creeping through means that the fridge has to do overtime to maintain its set temperature.
There are a few tips for saving energy while using your stove, which is probably used a lot if you cook often. For one, make sure your pots match your stovetops as you'll waste up to 40% heat if they don't fit. Secondly, when cooking, don't forget to put the lids on pots or pans. Not only will it make your food cook faster, but it will also reduce the amount of energy you use.
Saving energy when it comes to your freezer means stocking it up with food, literally. The fuller your freezer, the better as it uses less energy when it's full. If the freezer is empty, then all the space tends to fill up with warm air when the door is opened. As a result, the freezer would end up needing to work hard to cool down once the door is shut again. Another tip is to regularly defrost as well. The more ice builds up, the more ineffective your freezer becomes.
Simply reducing the number of times you wash clothes a week could save you from a big bill. Waiting until you have enough clothes to fill the machine before washing will result in fewer cycles and more energy saved. Also, use it in the lowest temperature settings, use cold water, and use bio washing powder to save energy. If you happen to have a dryer, try not to use it frequently as they run on heat. The obvious alternative is to let clothes air dry. You can do this using a drying rack, or placing a clothesline outside. Try and avoid drying your clothes on the radiator as it'll lower the room temperature, resulting in the boiler working harder.
This may sound counterproductive, but use your dishwasher to save energy. When you do, you save more water than when you wash them by hand. To throw some more energy efficiency into the mix, put it on ECO mode if you have that option. It will help save energy while it's washing. Also, try airdrying plates instead of using the heat-dry setting.
£30 pounds may not seem like a lot of money, but you can save that by simply turning your appliances off standby mode. Typically things we tend to use on standby include computers, kitchen appliances, lamps, and charging gadgets. However, anything that's plugged in and not switched off is using some type of energy. Make it a habit to turn switches off and notice how much you'll save.
Heating your house during winter alone is enough to give you a shock let alone the rest of the year. In order to reduce this bill, you can try regulating your heating so it's only on when necessary. Seeing as all parts of your house probably aren't being occupied throughout the day, don't heat it all at once. You can regulate the heating in your house by using a thermostat, which turns the heating on and off depending on the temperature of the house. Choosing the temperature that will trigger the thermostat will also give you more control. If you have a wireless one, avoid putting it above a radiator or wood burner as it won't accurately tell the temperature. In a similar light, don't put it by the door or window. The cold breeze that comes through will falsely represent the room temperature causing it to turn up the heat unnecessarily. There is also the option of getting a programmable thermostat which will allow you to set specific times that the heating comes on and off.
Radiator reflectors are a great way of ensuring energy efficiency as they reflect heat back into the room making radiators more effective. Just try your best to keep furniture from blocking your radiators so that hot air will be felt all over the room quicker.
In case you didn't know, electricity is four times the price of gas. That means using electric heaters for hours at a time is likely to lead to a high energy bill. If you absolutely must use an electric heater for any reason, there are better alternatives. Infrared or a heat pump is cheaper and more efficient for electric heating.
Faults with your heating system could mean it isn't running at its maximum efficiency. To ensure it is, hire a gas safe engineer and get them to check out your heating system. The good news is, you only need to do this once a year ideally. Doing it right before winter is a great way to make sure it's working at maximum efficiency before the cold kicks in.
Who doesn't love warm toes when you step out the bath or when you first come into the kitchen on a winter morning? Not only can underfloor heating be a luxury it can be very efficient. The best way to do this is to fit stone tiles which act like a storage heater storing up the heat and slowly releasing that heat over a long period of time, even when the heating has been turned off.
We all know you can programme your heating, that tech has been around for a long time. What is gaining ground are programmable apps on your phone. This means that you can control your heating remotely. If you know you are going to be out for the evening why heat up an empty house?
What do we mean by this? Well it means using the energy from other activities to heat your home. Energy recovery is new tech that can harness energy from household chores such as the vacuum cleaner or even your home bike turbo trainer and convert that into useable energy to power your boiler.
Replacing your boiler may seem like a major cost, but it is one that will save you money in the long run. Condensing boilers are able to recycle the heat that's in the waste exhaust gases. Therefore, it may be a good investment as your boiler will run far more efficiently.
Often times we use more water than necessary when doing basic things. For instance, when washing dishes we waste a lot of water as well as when we overfill the kettle to boil water. In order to save energy, try washing up with a bowl and only filling the kettle with the amount you need. Another way to save water and energy is to use tap aerators. By injecting air into the water as it comes out of the tap, they help you use a fraction of your water. Additionally, try and turn the tap off when brushing your teeth no matter how soothing the sound of running water may be.
Spending less time in the shower means less water usage and less hot water. It could also mean about £7 off of your bill per person annually. Additionally, if your shower takes hot water directly from your boiler, you'll need a water efficient shower head to reduce your hot water usage. If you're one of those people who prefer baths, you might want to trade those in for showers. Baths use more water than showers do, meaning your money is going down the drain with your bathwater.
We are not living in the stone age, so that means energy bills will always be a part of our lives for now. It is however within your control to manage the energy you use by being more intentional about your energy consumption. By tweaking some of your daily habits, you should gradually begin to see your bill reduce. To see our commitment to customers with debt issues check out our responsible lending page.
Some of these suggestions may require you spend money. However, the long-term positive effects it will have on your finances should make it all worth it. How do you save energy in your home? We want to hear from you! If you want to expand on these suggestions and learn more why not check out these campaigns at Keep Britain Tidy.