With nights starting to draw in and autumn and winter just around the corner, we’re all faced with the perennial problem of trying to save money on those troublesome energy bills. The good news is there’s plenty you can do right now to cut down energy usage and reduce the amount you pay, particularly over these colder months.
Switching Your Energy Supplier
Changing utility supplier has never been easier and there are plenty of energy tariff comparison sites like USwitch that help you pick the right tariffs which generally deliver decent annual savings. You should be doing this as soon as your current contract has run its course. Reducing energy bills by £200 to £300 is not unusual and usually only requires you to input your details online – the utility company the does the rest.
Doing the Smart Little Things
It’s not just big options such as changing your supplier which make a difference. Small tweaks to your energy efficiency at home can greatly reduce the amount you use. All it takes is a little thought and commitment:
- Get into the habit of closing doors to reduce heat loss from rooms.
- Invest in a draught excluder or two to stop unwanted cold spots in places like the living room and bedroom.
- Put a timer on the shower – you can get simple egg timer type devices that limit your time in the shower to 4 minutes, more than enough to get yourself ready for the day ahead. It’ll save you a little power and cut down your water usage. This option is great if your household is anything like mine where the teenagers hog the shower in the morning!
- Don’t leave hot taps running.
- Switch off appliances at night rather leave them on standby.
- Switch off lights when you’re not in a room.
- Turn the thermostat down by just 1° and review the times that you turn the heating on and off.
- Install radiator valves that help you control the temperature better in each room.
- You can monitor your energy uses better if you have a Smart Meter installed. Smart Meters are currently being installed in homes across the UK for free, you just need to contact your energy supplier to arrange this. Once installed you won’t need to take meter readings as the devices communicate these directly with the energy provider and you will also receive an internal device that allows you to monitor just how much energy you are using at any given time. When you know what you use and how you can better judge ways of reducing your usage.
Review Your Loft Insulation
We often lay it down and then forget about it. Loft insulation can get damaged and flattened over time so it’s worth heading up to the attic and giving this a quick check. You lose a lot of heat through the roof so make sure you have the right thickness of insulation and that the covering is adequate.
Changing Your Lightbulbs
New LED bulbs not only reduce your electricity bill compared to traditional fluorescents and CFL bulbs but last almost five times as long. The bulbs themselves are a little more expensive though the long term benefits means you get some great savings, particularly over the winter months. The good news is that you can change the bulbs gradually rather than doing it all in one go which helps spread the cost.
Use Energy Hi-Tech
There are now some great tech developments such as Hive that help monitor and lower the amount of energy we use. Devices like Hive allow you to remote control your heating from an app on your phone. So instead of relying on timers, you can turn your heating on when you are 20 minutes from home. That way if you are stuck in traffic for an hour, you are not heating an empty house.