1. Switch energy tariff
First of all, check you are on the cheapest possible energy tariff. This is easy to do with our comparison service and you could save up to £240 a year. To benefit from the biggest savings, check out the cost of a dual fuel tariff (where both your electricity and gas comes from the same supplier) and compare against the price of buying each fuel separately from different providers. You can usually get a discount if you pay by monthly direct debit and manage your account online.
To find out more about switching energy supplier, read Mark Hooson's step-by-step guide.
2. Get insulated
Insulating your home helps to keep the warmth in and the cold out, so you won't need to use your central heating as much, and your energy bills will come down. The Energy Saving Trust reckons loft insulation could reduce your energy bills by as much as £180 a year, while cavity wall insulation could save you up to £140 a year.
Of course, having your home insulated will cost you – expect to pay around £300 for loft insulation and £500 for cavity wall insulation. But due to the savings you'll make on your energy bills, the work should pay for itself within two years and four years respectively.
It's well worth checking to see whether you are eligible for free loft and cavity wall insulation through your energy supplier – this could easily be the case if you or someone in your home gets certain income-related benefits. Check your energy supplier’s eligibility criteria to see if you qualify.
Even if you don't qualify, you could consider the government's Green Deal scheme instead. Through this initiative, you take out a loan to fund the cost of energy-saving improvements. The repayments are then added to your energy bills over 10 to 25 years, with the idea that the savings you make on your energy bills will cover the monthly repayments. You can find out more here.
3. Upgrade your boiler
Upgrading your boiler to a high-efficiency condensing boiler will mean you could save as much as £310 a year on your energy bills – and you'll cut your home's carbon dioxide emissions at the same time, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
If you're concerned about the cost of having a new boiler installed, British Gas is currently offering a £400 scrappage discount when you replace your old boiler with an energy-efficient one through the company.
However, if you're receiving certain income-related benefits you could be offered a free boiler through your energy supplier. Again, it’s important to check.
4. Consider getting a smart meter
A smart meter will ensure you're always billed accurately as information about your energy usage will be sent to your supplier automatically. However, the smart meter will also help you to monitor your energy usage, making you more aware of what you're using where and the areas in which you can reduce energy wastage.
Nearly every UK home will have a smart meter by 2020, but some energy firms are starting to install them now. So if you're interested in getting one installed sooner rather than later, it's worth contacting some of the suppliers to see what their plans are. You can read more about smart meters here.
5. Fit double glazing
Replacing single glazed windows with B-rated double glazing could save you around £170 a year on your energy bills, says the Energy Saving Trust. Not only will it help to reduce the amount of heat lost through your windows, you reduce your noise from outside.
6. Consider solar panels
Contrary to popular belief, the sun doesn't have to shine for hours on end for solar panel technology to work efficiently. Therefore, even in the UK, installing solar panels is an option worth considering.
Installing solar panels can cost between £4,000 and £10,000 so it's important to shop around. But the Energy Saving Trust reckons a 3.5kWp (Kilowatts peak) system can generate around 3,000kWh of electricity a year, which is around three quarters of a typical household's electricity needs. This would save over a tonne of carbon dioxide each year and cut your energy bill in half.
The government supports solar panel technology through the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) where you can be paid by your energy supplier for the energy you generate. You can find out more on the Energy Saving Trust website.
7. Buy energy efficient appliances
When shopping for electrical items, always look for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo. Kitchen appliances should come with an energy rating from A to G, with A being the most energy efficient. Since July last year, all new fridges and freezers must have a rating of at least A+.
The more energy efficient your appliances are, the lower your bills will be.
8. Use energy saving light bulbs
Many people have already started using energy saving light bulbs in their homes. But if you haven't, doing so could save you around £35 a year, or £870 over the lifetime of all the bulbs.
9. Get rid of draughts
Draught-proofing your home is a cheap and efficient way of saving energy and could save you around £55 per year. Most DIY stores sell draught-proofing kits so think about installing draught-excluding brushes in letter boxes, putting draught excluders at the foot of doors and using insulating strips around badly fitted doors, windows and your loft hatch. Seal your skirting boards with silicone sealant too.
10. Turn your central heating thermostat down
Another simple way to save money on your energy bills is to turn your room thermostat down by just one degree – doing so could save you around £65 a year, says the Energy Saving Trust.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.
* Up to 10% can save at least £244.64, MoneySupermarket data based on sales. June 2013