6 steps to lowering your energy bills
As the final few months of the year start creeping up on us, we’ll all be dusting off our radiators and rummaging around our cupboards for the thermostat instructions. The problem is it’s hard to hear the boiler start rumbling without thinking about how much it’ll add to your energy bill. That’s why we’ve gathered together some of the easiest ways to save money on your energy bills this winter.
1. Plug the gaps
According to the Energy Saving Trust, draughts from accidental gaps in your home could account for up to £50 extra on your bills each year. Unless your home is newly built, it’s quite likely that draughts could be adding to your energy use. Windows, doorframes and loft hatches are common draught culprits: be sure to close your curtains and invest in some draught excluders to make saving energy a breeze.
2. Switch up your supplier
Switching your energy provider may sound like a drastic way of saving money. However, rules are now in place to ensure you can switch between providers in three days. This comes into effect as soon as the 14 day cooling-off period is over and makes getting a better price quicker and simpler. There’s a huge selection of suppliers out there, and it’s always worth doing a price comparison to find the best deal for you.Gocompare compares prices for all mainland UK gas and electricity suppliers, and more than half their customers save £291 or more on their utilities when they switch*.
*Based on Gocompare.com data. At least 51% of customers who provided their energy usage and received a price for switching energy supplier for both gas and electricity with Gocompare.com saved £291 or more. (1st April - 30th June 2015)
3. The silent standby cost
Leaving your television on standby won’t break the bank – on its own. According to the Energy Saving Trust, people in the UK could save up to £1.7 billion a year by taking appliances off standby. Just count up all the appliances in your home that are left in standby mode – TV’s, monitors, printers, washing machines – and you get an idea of the collective cost. But all is not lost! By unplugging non-vital appliances like phone chargers, computers and televisions, you can save yourself from those standby blues. Not only that, low energy appliances are growing more and more common, so a quick kettle-switch could save you money too.
4. Don’t wait, insulate
Insulating your home sounds like a sensible idea – but where do you buy the insulation? And how expensive is it? Fortunately a number of energy suppliers provide a FREE insulation service for loft and wall cavities, depending on your property type. Some will provide you with insulation even if you’re not a customer! Government grants for energy-saving improvements are also available, so make sure you search around before buying it all yourself.
5. Have a light bulb moment
Energy saving light-bulbs have earned a bad reputation in the past for being a little dim. However, the technology is evolving rapidly and the future of cost-effective bulbs is looking brighter all the time. We all know that CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) and LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs cost more than regular old light-bulbs, but with a life span more than ten times longer you’ll spend less money in the long run. According to the Energy Saving Trust, replacing a single light bulb in your home with a CFL bulb could save you £50 over the lifetime of that bulb – imagine how much you could save if you swapped all of them!
6. Try some apps
Don’t be fooled into thinking that all Smartphone apps are either colourful games or amusing time-fillers. A lot of the apps out there are very practical indeed, and there’s more than a few that can help you get your head around your energy bills. If you have an iPhone or an Android phone, there are dozens of apps that calculate your energy and utilities costs and show you how many pennies are pouring out of your taps and appliances. It’s also worth checking whether your energy supplier has an energy use app.