One of the biggest expenses for families, especially at this time of year, is the energy bill.
There are a few things that you can do, quickly, to ensure that your bill this winter is as low as it can be. We’ve also had a head start so far, as it’s been oddly mild!
But really, the key message is:
Use less energy
Apart from ensuring you’re with a competitive supplier, you need to cut your energy consumption. Every little counts, so turn down the thermostat and wear jumpers, turn lights off when you leave a room, use energy saving lightbulbs, defrost the fridge and check it’s not on too high and don’t leave electrical goods on standby.
- Move Supplier
And don’t always assume dual fuel is always cheapest. It may not be. When comparing suppliers, compare the cost of the cheapest dual fuel with separate cheap gas and cheap electricity suppliers.
- Read your own meter
Don’t rely on your suppliers estimates, as they can be way out. You don’t want to be under or overpaying and either owing them money or allowing them to cream all the interest off your over payments.
- Pay by Direct Debit
This often works out much cheaper, and if the supplier has a special internet tariff, make sure you’re on that too as you could save up to 10%.
- Don’t go on standby
A lot of devices draw power when plugged in and not in use, known as “vampire power.” Using standby power can be easily avoided by switching devices off at the wall. When it comes to mobile phone charges, branded ones (such as Apple) will turn themselves off when not connected to the device, but most unbranded ones will keep drawing energy (if the charger is warm, it’s using energy), so best to just unplug them all when not in use.
- Switch to energy saving lightbulbs and turn the lights off!
It pains me to say it, but energy saving lightbulbs do save you money. They use less electricity and have to be replaced less often, so it’s a win-win. However, they are useless. And they are ugly. So I must admit to having a stash of “pretty” old fashioned bulbs for the fancy lights! And then, it goes without saying, turn the lights off. It may only save you pennies, but everyone counts.
- Move to Economy 7
Consider moving to an Economy 7 tariff. This means, you’ll pay less during the night, but a higher rate than average during the day. This is ideal if you have a washing machine or dishwasher with a timer as these high energy burners will cost you less to run during the dark of the night.
- Use an airer, not a dryer
Tumble dryers use extreme amounts of energy; it’s therefore recommended that either run them at night when it’s cheaper (if you’re on Economy 7) or even better air your washing.
There was recently a lot in the news about homes suffering with damp due to the airing of clothes inside. To reduce the chance of this occurring, open the window and close the door of the room where the clothes are drying so moisture can escape. Most importantly, do not dry towels or clothes over the radiator directly, or eventually you will develop a nasty mold problem.
- Heat your home efficiently
- 1. Use a timer for your heating
Set the heating to come on for when you only really need it and for a realistic temperature, why not just put on a jumper if there is a “chill in the air?”
- 2. Use central heating over an electric heater
Electric heaters are one of the most expensive forms of heating, best to invest in a decent thermostat to regulate your room temperature.
- 3. Heat only the area you’re using
If you’re only using a small part of the house, ie, the kids have fled and their rooms are standing empty, close the doors and only heat the remainder of the house.
- Grab £1,000s of grants to insulate your home
Properly insulating your home can save around £200/year. Check out the Free Insulation guide on moneysavingexpert to see what you can get.
- Avoid prepayment meters if you can
If possible you should try to switch to a billed meter as prepay tariffs can be extortionate. You may have to pay to get one, but the savings are usually worth it. However, some people are unable to do so due to income difficulties or a low credit score. in which case, check out moneysavingexpert’s Cheap Prepaid Gas & Elec guide.
For more advice, check out: www.energysavingtrust.org.uk