Energy bills can burn a big hole in your pocket, especially during the cold winter months, but there are ways to keep costs down.
Two of the easiest and most practical ways to save money are to make sure you’re on the best possible gas and electricity tariff and to use less energy at home. By making a few small changes to the way you use water, electricity and heat in your household, you could cut costs instantly.
Here we’ve pulled together nine tips to help you reduce your energy bills.
1. Compare gas and electricity prices
2. Install a more efficient shower head
According to Waterwise, your household could save roughly £120 per year just by switching to a more water-efficient shower head. You may think that having a shower instead of a bath saves you water (and money), but this isn’t necessarily the case. The wrong shower head, such as a power shower, which uses 12+ litres of water per minute, could mean you end up using more water in a few minutes than you do when running an entire bath. Energy efficient showerheads control the rate of flow, keeping it to between six and eight litres per minute, so that you can enjoy your shower without damaging your bank balance.
Regardless of the type of shower head you have, you can still try to keep your shower time to a minimum. If you have no idea how long you’re spending in the shower, why not try setting an alarm for three or four minutes? Not only will you save money, but you’ll also help the environment by reducing the amount of energy (and therefore carbon emissions) required to pump and heat water in your home.
3. Turn your heating down
How warm is your house? If you find yourself sweating or walking around in shorts and a t-shirt, then the chances are your house is a little (or a lot) warmer than it needs to be.
The World Health Organisation recommends that the ideal room temperature (for the average household) sits between 18 and 21 degrees.
Turning your heating down by just 1 degree could save you around £80 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. So check your thermostat and make sure it’s not turned up any higher than 21 degrees. And if you’re feeling a bit chilly, try putting on some extra layers before you reach for the dial, to save on heating costs.
4. Hang clothes up to dry whenever possible
Hanging up your wet clothes to dry rather than using a tumble dryer could save you up to £70 per year, according to Ovo Energy.
During the winter, you can dry clothes on a clothing rack in a warm, well-ventilated room – just be sure to keep the humidity in one room by shutting the door. In the summer, it’s best to hang clothes outside on a washing line, as they’ll usually dry quicker in the sunshine.
By allowing clothes to dry naturally, you’ll also prevent shrinkage and wear caused by the heat from the tumble dryer. This will help your clothes look better for longer, so you’ll also spend less money replacing worn out items.
5. Use a washing up bowl
Rather than letting hot water trickle down the plug hole when you’re washing up, why not fill up a washing up bowl instead? They’re cheap to buy and will also stop small pieces of food waste from clogging up your sink.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that we could each save £25 per year on our gas bill and £30 on our water bill (if you have a water meter) just by using a washing up bowl rather than letting water drain away – not a bad saving for something so easy to do.
6. Switch to energy efficient bulbs
Replacing all the bulbs in your house with energy efficient ones (LEDs) will usually set you back around £100, but could save you around £35 per year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. More practical for most of us, is simply replacing old inefficient bulbs with energy efficient ones when they need to be changed. They have the same brightness as a standard bulb, but they use far less energy – in some cases up to 90%. You’ll find yourself with more money in your pocket and you’ll get the added satisfaction of knowing you’re reducing your carbon footprint.
Even if you do switch to LEDs, you should still be conscious of how many lights you turn on and always remember to turn the lights off when you leave a room. This may sound simple, but it’s easy to forget and costs can mount up over the course of a year.
7. Switch appliances off
Think about how many gadgets you currently have in your household – how many of them do you regularly shut down completely?
Most of us are guilty of leaving some of our favourite appliances on standby from time to time, especially ones we use often. Making a little bit of extra effort to switch them off properly at the set, or at the wall could save you an estimated £30 a year (Energy Saving Trust) so think about that the next time you hit standby on the TV remote.
8. Choose your washing machine settings carefully
When it comes to washing your clothes, the settings you choose could make a big difference to your annual energy bills. Washing clothes at a cooler temperatures of 30-40 degrees, for example, could reduce your electricity bill by £15 a year.
Cooler temperatures are also kinder on your clothes and will result in less wear and shrinkage. So not only will you save money on your electricity bills, but you’ll also be able to cut down on your clothes shopping!
9. Only fill up the kettle with as much water as you need
Lots of us boil far more water than we need to make our morning brew, meaning the kettle has to boil for far longer and use more electricity than it actually needs to.
Because kettles are used so often (everyone loves a cuppa after all), they can easily become one of the biggest offenders on your energy bill. So the next time you reach for the kettle, try to remember to fill it up only with what you need.
Alternatively, if you do happen to boil a little more water than you need, why not transfer it to a thermos flask to keep it warm for later?
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