Just as temperatures have started to drop and the nights are becoming longer, most households have seen their energy bills rise significantly. While the increase is less than had previously been feared thanks to the government’s interim energy price guarantee, Which? reveals that a typical household bill is still likely to be around £2,500 a year.
If this includes your household, there may be ways to help reduce your energy use and your bills. Read on to discover 10 steps you could take.
1. Switch off your television and other devices
Another effective way to reduce energy costs is to switch off internet-connected devices such as smart TVs, printers and games consoles, as they continue to use electricity when on standby.
Getting into the habit of turning these off when you’re not using them could help reduce your energy use and so, your bills.
2. Set your fridge and freezer to a higher temperature
When you set your fridge and freezer to a slightly higher temperature you are reducing the amount of work they have to do. This, together with regularly defrosting your freezer, could make it much more energy-efficient.
3. Give your boiler a health check
Having an inefficient boiler could be costing you dearly in energy use, and might result in it breaking down in the depths of winter when you need it most. That’s why it’s important to get your boiler serviced regularly, as it ensures it’s as energy-efficient as possible while also reducing the chance of something going wrong when the temperatures plummet.
It will also alert you to possible problems before they become too expensive to repair. Always ensure you use a Gas Safe Registered engineer or a fully qualified heating engineer if it’s not a gas boiler.
4. Boost your home’s insulation
According to Which?, having adequate levels of loft insulation could reduce your energy bills by up to £315 a year depending on the type of house you live in. The consumer watchdog adds that the recommended depth is 270mm, so if your insulation is below this, it’s probably worth boosting it to the suggested level.
Better still, Which? also points out that you might be able to get the additional insulation for free.
While losing heat through the roof is a well-known problem, you may not realise that it can also be lost through the ground floor. According to the article, up to 15% of heat can be lost through a ground floor, so you might want to consider insulating it too.
5. Replace lights with LED lights
Replacing incandescent or halogen light bulbs with more energy-efficient ones could reduce your electricity consumption. According to 1stElectrician.co.uk, LED lights save up to 75% more energy than traditional light bulbs.
When compared to an incandescent bulb, LED lights typically consume around 20% of energy. It adds that if you replace one 60-watt bulb with a 11-watt LED bulb, a typical home could save up to £232 a year.
6. Be smart when using washing appliances
One of the most effective ways to ensure your dishwasher and washing machine are as efficient as possible is to only use them when they are full. Furthermore, with washing machines, do not exceed the maximum permitted weight and use a detergent that works at low temperatures.
If you use a clothes dryer, it’s worth remembering that they typically use a lot of energy to run the heater. This makes them expensive to use, so using them sparingly could make a big difference to your energy bill.
7. Replace appliances with energy-efficient versions
If you need to replace your fridge, dishwasher or oven, consider carefully how efficient the one you’re thinking of buying is. In 2021 a new energy label was introduced, which replaced the confusing A+, A++ and A+++ ratings, and instead reset the scale back to A to G.
This means that if you see an A-rated dishwasher, for example, it should use significantly less energy than a D-rated one.
8. Draught-proof your home
Draughts are a major source of heat loss, so sealing gaps around windows and doors could help reduce the amount of energy you use to warm your home. Aside from draught-proofing beneath doors, use heavy curtains to cover doors as this can really make a difference.
9. Use the thermostat wisely
Think about turning your thermostat down, as having it turned up high will not mean your home will heat up more quickly, it just means you’ll spend more money warming it.
Also check your boiler to see how hot your water temperature is set, as if it’s more than 60°C, you’re probably wasting energy by overheating your water.
10. Consider hiring a thermal imaging camera
To pinpoint areas within your home where you’re wasting energy, you might want to consider hiring a thermal imaging camera. This reveals the places your home is losing heat, allowing you to take action to rectify the problem before the cold weather arrives.
This will not only ensure that your home is cosy when winter sets in, it’s also likely to save you money as you won’t be wasting energy trying to keep rooms warm when they’re losing heat.
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