With the cost of living crisis spiraling out of control at the moment I show you how you can save money. For some people, the biggest worry is energy bills so I’m going to reveal some ways you can save on electricity and gas costs, help reduce your carbon footprint and make your home more energy-efficient.
With some of these handy tips, you could be saving well over £200 a year in energy costs.
First of all…
1. Take a look and understand your energy bill
All the cheap energy deals have vanished over the last few months, so now is the time not to switch energy providers.
If you haven’t changed your tariff or switched providers recently then you may be paying default rates which are out-of-contract rates. In the past, these haven’t been very good value for money but at the moment they are among the cheapest tariffs so it’s definitely worth staying for the time being.
On 1st April 2022, the price cap on default tariffs rose by a shocking 54% for a typical user. This means that the majority of households in the UK are now facing a huge increase in their energy bills than they’ve ever seen before.
None of the energy companies are offering any decent fixed tariffs at the moment that would be worth switching to. If you do end up fixing a deal at these high rates hoping they won’t go up any further then you may end up paying a premium for it.
Another way to help reduce the cost of energy bills is – Question any direct debit increase that seems too high. It’s not uncommon for energy companies to overestimate usage. Send regular meter readings if you don’t have a smart meter. Pay by direct debit and choose paperless bills as some energy companies charge more for paying quarterly and for having a paper bill. If you can get this right then your usage and payments over the year should then balance out.
2. Energy-efficient appliances
When you next replace any household appliance then it is worth making sure it is energy efficient. Swapping to a newer more energy-friendly appliance could save you over £300 a year on energy costs.
Depending on the appliance here is a list of savings over the year by switching.
- Fridge Freezer – £75
- Washing Machine – £55
- Dishwasher – £32
- Built-in Oven – £39
- Tumble Dryer – £105 a year
Check for a product’s EU energy-efficiency rating when making your next purchase.
3. Use less heated water
One thing to remember is that you may only use your central heating throughout the colder seasons of the year but you use energy all year round to heat the water. If you have a hot water tank then make sure you use the heating controls to turn the water heating on and off and heat only the right amount of water that you need. Insulate any hot water tanks and pipes so the water stays hotter for longer.
When washing up make sure you do this in a washing-up bowl and not using running hot water. For showers try installing an eco shower head which you can get for free from some water companies’ websites. Why not use a shower timer so you know how long you’re spending in there. Swapping one bath a week with a four-minute shower can save the household £35 per person.
4. Change those old light bulbs
It may be as simple as swapping out those old lightbulbs for energy-saving bulbs. Just by changing one old bulb to a newer LED style bulb (running at £1.71 per year), you could save over £180 from your energy bills over a lifetime. Also, it’s good to remember that energy-saving light bulbs also last a lot longer than old light bulbs. LED light bulbs use 90% less energy than traditional bulbs and can cost less than £3 and after a few months of saving money, they pay for themselves.
Lifetime annual running costs
- Halogen – 2,000 hours – £8.42
- CFL – 10,000 hours – £2.04
- LED – 25,000 hours £1.71
Even if you have energy-saving bulbs installed just remember you have the right bulb that fits the size of the room and turn them off when not in use.
5. Get a new boiler
If you have central heating then the boiler will be responsible for half of the energy bill for the year. So if your old boiler needs replacing and you can afford it, it is worth changing to a more modern energy efficient boiler and by doing so could save nearly £200 a year.
Purchasing a new one may not be an option for everyone if you’re trying to save money so it’s worth finding out how much new boilers costs. They can be really expensive and can cost £1000s including all installation costs. Then you can balance see the savings against any upgrade to see if it would be worth it.
According to Energy Saver by switching your boiler from G-Rated to a new A-rated boiler a typical semi-detached property could save £195 a year and over £300 for a detached property.
If you’re looking for a more future-proof method of heating the home then it may be worth researching air source heat pumps and renewable energy systems as the old gas boiler will not be around forever.
6. Install heating controls
Source | Report
Energy Saving Trust says that if you install room thermostats, programmers, and thermostatic radiator valves if you haven’t got them installed already you could save your household £75 a year as well as cut your home’s carbon emissions. The heating controls will let you set your heating and hot water to turn on and off when you want and keep parts of the home at comfortable temperatures without wasting heat and energy. Things to remember is that if you only have one thermostat control for the entire house just turning the temperature up by one degree can increase your energy bill by up to 10%.
Use smart apps
The latest way to help save money on heating bills is by using a smart app. These allow you to control your heating directly from your phone, tablet or computer.
Depending on the system you have you can fully control which rooms are heated at what times using thermostatic radiator valves. Some even learn from weather forecasts. This can all be done while away from the home so if you are not in then you can turn off the heating when not needed all from an app.
7. Install insulation
You could save nearly £300 with this one. If you’ve got a loft and any cavity walls then consider laying insulation. You could save a whopping £135 a year just by laying an insulation layer with a thickness of 270mm in a three-bedroom semi-detached property. Even better is insulating those cavity walls which can save you £155 per year and over £200 with solid wall insulation. Also, consider upgrading any single glazed windows to double or even triple glazing.
8. Draft Proof your property
An easy way to cut down on heating costs is by stopping any heat that is escaping through gaps around windows and doors. This could save you around £25 per year in a typical home. Consider using draught-proofing strips and brushed or hinged draught excluders for doors and draught-proof strips for window frames or brush strips for sash windows.
For floorboards, you can use a flexible silicone-based filler, brush draught excluders for letterboxes and draught-proofing strips can be used on loft doors. If you have a chimney but don’t have a fireplace then consider capping the chimney pot. This could save you £18 a year alone.
9. Find out if you could get energy efficiency grants or free cash
There are a number of grants and schemes that are available to help you with your energy bills
- Winter Fuel Payment – This is Between £100 – £300 for those born before 26th September 1955
- Warm Home Discount – This is rewarded to pensioners and for people on certain benefit and is worth £140 – See here for more details.
- Check with your energy supplier for any loft Insulation and boiler costs.
- The Bolier Upgrade Scheme available from April 2022 will allow up to £5000 to replace gas and oil heating with a low-carbon heating solution.
10. Finally, just some quick energy-saving tips
- Don’t leave your devices on standby although they may be using less power. Although newer devices will have stricter consumption limits when in standby mode it might not be true for older devices. You can save £55 a year according to Energy Savings Trust.
- Only boil the right amount of water in your kettle for what you need.
- Dry the washing outside instead of wasting money on using the tumble dryer.
- Try to use dishwashers and washing machines when they’re full and wash clothes at 30C where possible and try and reduce your use by one run per week and you can save £28 per year.
- Make sure you clean washing machines, tumble dryers and fridge freezers filters so they run at their best. Also, make sure fridges and freezers are defrosted regularly if they do not have an auto-defrost function to help keep their temperature down
- Using a smart meter shows you how much every you are using in real-time and the costs incurred. By monitoring this you can see where you may be able to cut back.