Fed up of extortionate energy bills? There are lots of ways to lower your energy costs by reducing your energy usage and reconsidering where you get your energy from. Here are just 10 ways to cut your home’s energy costs.
Switching to a new energy provider can be one easy way to lower your costs. Most energy companies offer exclusive low rates for new customers, which can make it beneficial to switch every couple of years. Be wary that depending on your tariff, there could be extra fees for switching providers such as early exit fees — these are worth researching into before you switch. Comparison sites like USwitch can help you find the best deal (such sites do take commission if you buy through them, but can make the switching process easier).
Consider a smart meter
Smart meters can allow you to pay only for the energy you use rather than paying at a fixed monthly rate. These meters store data that is shared with your energy provider so that you both have an accurate idea of how much you’re using. This can work out cheaper for a lot of people. Don’t fall into the trap of pre-payment meters, which are very different to smart meters — these involve paying in advance for energy, but you often end up paying a lot more per kilowatt.
Use LED bulbs
Regular incandescent bulbs are cheaper to buy, but will cost you a lot more in the long run. Switching to LED bulbs could allow you to use 75% less energy. These bulbs shine just as bright as incandescent bulbs and can last 50 times longer. You can buy LED bulbs online at sites like Lighting Direct.
Invest in energy efficient appliances
It’s not just your choice of lightbulbs that can affect your energy usage — you may be able to save money in energy by choosing certain home appliances. Modern home appliances all come with energy ratings ranging from A to G (A being the most greenest and G being the least green), which can help to determine how much energy you’ll use in the future. Fridge-freezers extend beyond the standard A rating, reaching A+++. Choosing high-rated appliances could be a way to save money. On the whole, newer appliances tend to be a lot more economical than older ones — you may want to seriously consider upgrading if you’re still using a tumble dryer or refrigerator from 20 years ago, as it could be contributing to your high energy bills.
Unplug appliances when not in use
Leaving unused appliances plugged in or in standby mode can drain extra energy. This is common with TVs, computers, microwaves and speakers all of which can still consume electricity even when turned off, simply by being left plugged in. Either turn these appliances off at the socket or unplug them when not in use.
Fill up your washing machine
A single spin cycle of a washing machine can use up a lot of energy. Try to only wash full loads rather than washing half loads so that you’re not using your washing machine as often. The same applies to dishwashers and tumble dryers — make sure that they are full before using them. Such appliances can sometimes come with low-energy modes for half loads, which can be another option to help save money (although you’ll generally save money by sticking to full loads).
Invest in solar panels
Installing enough solar panels could allow you to generate your own electricity and not have to use an energy provider. Solar panels can cost several thousand pounds to buy and install, so it may take a few years to make a return. The likes of the Solar Grid Trade incentive are helping to bring in extra privileges for solar panel owners, such as the ability to trade back unused electricity to providers. Installing solar panels will also add value to your home, so if you plan to sell up in a couple years they could still be a worthy purchase. Home wind turbines can be another way to generate your own sustainable energy, although they generally aren’t as effective.
Wear more layers in winter
Using your heating more in winter will cause your bills to spike. Whilst you’re probably going to want to turn up the thermostat a few times in the colder months, there could be times when you can save money and stay warm simply by putting on a sweater. Similarly, if you get cold at night, consider layering up your bedding (bedding materials like flannel can be worthy investments for keeping warm in the winter). Using your central heating may be convenient, but doing it regularly is likely to be contributing to your high bills.
Improve your home’s insulation
Insulating your home can prevent heat escaping and stop drafts getting in, keeping your home warmer longer in the winter and reducing the need to turn on the heating. Modern homes tend to be a lot more well insulated than older homes — you can get an energy survey done on your home to get an idea of just how well insulated it is. A few of the most popular forms of insulation include loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and double glazed windows. On average, loft insulation cuts £150 of energy per year, whilst cavity wall insulation cuts a further £140. Double glazing meanwhile tends to cut £75 to £100 depending on the quality of the glass.
Upgrade your boiler
Upgrading an old boiler could be another way to save money on energy. After 10 to 15 years, most boilers start to become less energy efficient. Whilst buying and installing a new boiler isn’t cheap, you will eventually make back your money in energy savings. Spend time shopping around for boilers as certain models can be more energy efficient than others.