The average home in the UK pays around £1,200 each year to energy providers to supply gas and electric to their homes. Averaging at £100 a month, it’s a large chunk of your monthly budget, any many energy users don’t realise that there are ways that they can save up to hundreds of pounds each year just by following these 8 steps:
1. Loft Insulation
Science tells us that heat rises, and in the home this could mean that lots of wasted energy is rising up through our roof, which can equate to up to £175 of central heating lost each year. Insulating your roof acts as a duvet for your home, and it can help to keep the heat in and reduce the amount of heat that is wasted each time you put the heating on.
Draft-proofing your home is one of the cheapest quick wins that you can do to help reduce the heat loss from your home, and this is also one which renters can take advantage of.
Foam and sealant are all you need to get started, if you don’t have these already in your toolbox then they can be found in most cheap stores on the high street, so this one won’t break the bank.
Check window seals for air leaks and seal them back up, the same with external doors. Any holes in flooring, around sockets on walls or around pipework (particularly those which vent to the outside) can be filled in, and this will help dramatically reduce the amount of cold air penetrating in to your home.
3. Improving Window Glazing
This can be an expensive one, but it is still one to consider if you feel that a faulty glazing unit is causing you to waste energy. If you have single pane windows then you will most certainly reduce heat loss by investing in a more energy efficient glazing. Many companies offer 0% interest free credit, so you often don’t need to outlay much money in one go. Improving the glazing could reduce your heat loss through your windows by more than 20%.
4. Change your habits:
We are the biggest culprits in the home when it comes to wasting energy, and if we were to change a few of our bad habits, then you could find yourself saving money:
• Use a washing line instead of a tumble drier to dry clothes
• Wash clothes on a cooler temperature setting
• Don’t use appliances half full; fill up washing machines and dishwashers before putting them on
• Turn lights off when you’re not in the room
• Take shorter showers
• Only fill the kettle with the water you need before you put it on
• Turn the central heating down by a couple of degrees
• Upgrade your bulbs to LEDs – this one costs you initially, it can set you back up to £100, but you would save approx. £35 a year on your electricity bill
5. Haggle with your Supplier
Believe it or not, you can save hundreds each year by haggling with your energy supplier to secure a better deal. Shop around or use a price comparison service using your most recent energy usage figures, and use the quotes you get to barter with your existing supplier. Loyalty gets you nowhere these days, be brave and threaten to leave if they won’t work with you to secure a better deal; remember than someone else always will.
If your supplier tries to increase your direct debit over the winter, then stand your ground. If you know that your usage will leave you in credit by the time the summer has been and gone, then refuse to increase the direct debit and you’ll find yourself up to £30 a month better off. It’s better in your pocket than accruing credit with the supplier!
If you no longer use your fire but still have a physical fireplace and open chimney, then you can actually buy an insulation balloon which you insert up your chimney to cut down on the draft which comes down.
You could also consider having an old fireplace bricked up, but bear in mind that you will still need to have a vent in place to keep the airflow and prevent it from growing damp.
A couple of points on radiators. Firstly, never use radiators to dry clothes! They get the job done very quickly, but it stops the heat from circulating around the room. If you have picture rails then clothes can be hung above a radiator, or in front of it on a maiden, but try and avoid using the radiator itself, particularly with wet towels.
Also, turn off radiators in rooms which aren’t used that often, for example a study or a spare bedroom. You can turn it on as and when you need it, as opposed to blasting out heat in an unused room every time the heating is on.
Due to their generally all-glass construction, conservatories are incredibly guilty of wasting energy. If you have a conservatory then you might want to consider getting the roof converted to a tiled or slated roof with roof insulation; this can save you hundreds in wasted energy each year. Having a slated or tiled roof can have multiple advantages as well; the conservatory is warm in the winter as the heat does not escape, but it’s also cool in the summer as the heat is not transferred directly through the roof.