How to save money on energy bills this winter
Save money on energy bills with help from Simple Fast Loans!
We learned recently that energy bills may soon be set to rise. The energy regulator Ofgem is considering raising the price cap on household gas and electricity bills from next April by £21 per year. The price cap is currently £1,042 per household, and the possible increase is to help energy companies deal with the rise in unpaid bills due to the pandemic.
So if you are already struggling to pay your energy bills, the bad news is that they could increase over the next few months. But the good news is that there are several actions that you can take to reduce your energy bills.
Top Ten Tips to save money on energy bills:
1. Switch your energy supplier
It is easy to change energy suppliers and, according to Ofgem, could save you around £300 per year.
The first thing you need to do is to get hold of either a recent energy bill or online information from your current supplier. You need to know how much energy you are currently using and the details of your tariff.
Energy bills can be confusing, so if you need help with this, there is a helpful Youtube video from the Energy Saving Trust on how to understand your energy bill.
You then need to look at a price comparison website – Ofgem provides a list here – to find out what other deals are available. Once you have chosen a new supplier, they will arrange the switch, which usually takes around 3 weeks. You will receive a final bill from your old supplier and should then be able to start saving money with your new one.
Another option is to sign up for Look After My Bills (as featured on Dragon’s Den). You only need to do this once, and they will then find you the best deal and switch you. When that deal comes to an end they will switch you to a better one, and will keep on doing this unless you tell them to stop.
2. Pay by direct debit
If you are not already paying your energy bills by direct debit then you should start now. Paying by direct debit enables you to spread payments evenly throughout the year rather than facing a huge increase in winter. You will also never forget a payment as they are made automatically for you by your bank.
Some energy suppliers also offer better deals if you pay by direct debit, so you could make extra savings.
All you need to do is to contact your energy company who will then provide you with either a paper or online form to complete with your bank details.
3. Economise on heating
An obvious way to save money on energy bills is to use less of it. So whenever you are using your heating, bear this in mind. It is more economical to put on an extra layer of clothing and have the thermostat a little lower than to keep cranking the heating up. Even turning your thermostat down by just 1°C could reduce your annual heating bill by up to 10%.
Also try and use your thermostat timer settings effectively, so that the heating is only on when you really need it. Another option is to invest in remote control central heating that enables you to turn it on or off, up or down, from anywhere via a phone app.
4. Shower instead of bath
Showers are usually more economical than baths, though if you have a power shower it will be more economical if you turn the pressure down a little.
You can also reduce energy bills by spending a little less time in the shower. If every person in your household spent just one minute less in the shower each day this could reduce your energy bills by £8 a year per person.
5. Batch cook
If you need to use your oven to cook something then try to cook several things at once so that you get more value from the energy being used. This will also help you to fill your freezer (see below).
Modern ovens do not usually need preheating. Also make sure that you don’t overheat the oven and waste energy: many meals taste much better if they have been cooked for longer at a lower temperature, and this uses less energy.
And when you have finished cooking, why not leave the oven door open to let the remaining heat warm up your kitchen so that you can turn down your thermostat for a while.
6. Fill your fridge and freezer
Did you know that if you keep your fridge and freezer full they don’t use as much energy? This is because if you have empty space in your fridge or freezer it means that every time you open the fridge door, cold air escapes, warm air comes in, and your fridge or freezer has to work hard to cool things down again. But if you have a full fridge or freezer there is less air space to be filled with the warm air from your kitchen.
So keep your fridge and freezer full. If you do not have enough items to fill them you can just fill up any space with water. Try jugs of water in your fridge or plastic bags of water in your freezer, and you will quickly begin to save energy.
7. Use cleaning appliances less often
You can save money on running your washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher if you ensure that they are full when you use them. One full load uses less energy than two half loads.
Also when using your washing machine, use lower temperatures where possible. 90% of the energy used by a washing machine is spent on heating the water, so the lower the temperature, the less energy this will need.
Only use your tumble dryer when really necessary. Most clothes can be hung – either outside or round the home – to dry. When you do use the tumble dryer, try to end the dry while clothes are still very slightly damp. Not only is this cheaper, but it also means that clothes will come out less creased.
8. Green up your home
Another cheap and effective way to save energy in your home is by draught-proofing. Draughts let in cold air and mean that a lot of heat is wasted. So check your home for any unnecessary gaps that could let cold air in and warm air out, and block them up.
There are also other eco-friendly measures that can conserve energy in your home. Depending on the type of home you have – and what has already been done – options include double-glazing, low carbon heat system, cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, or solar panels.
The new Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme – which started in September 2020 – entitles many homeowners and landlords in England to apply for vouchers towards the cost of upgrading the energy efficiency of their home. To find out whether your home is eligible for a grant, check out the Simple Energy Advice site.
9. Use energy saving light bulbs
A very simple energy saving measure that is often overlooked is energy saving light bulbs. These last up to ten times longer than ordinary bulbs and don’t cost very much more, but can save around £35 a year on bills.
So from now on, every time you need to replace a light bulb in your home, make sure you go for an energy saving bulb.
The most popular energy saving light bulbs available are:
- CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps)
- LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes).
The consumer group Which? has produced information and a chart about the best types and strengths of energy saving light bulbs for different uses. You can read more here.
10. Switch off when not in use
The last of our tips is very simple. Make it a golden rule to switch off anything that is not being used. This will save you energy and money.
Every time you leave an empty room, switch off the lights unless you are planning to come straight back in again. Switching off a light for just a few seconds can save you around £15 on your annual energy bills.
Also make sure that where possible you turn appliances off completely rather than leaving them on standby. Appliances on standby still use a small amount of energy. Turning them off at the socket can reduce your energy bills by around £30 a year. You can do this to most modern electronic appliances without upsetting their programming. So it is a good habit to get into.
We hope that the above advice is helpful, and enables you to save money on your energy bills this winter and beyond.
Remember to check back here soon for more money saving and lifestyle tips from Simple Fast Loans.