Two great ways to bring your bills down are to reduce your energy usage and switch energy provider. But which gives the best overall benefit? We wanted to find out the potential savings and how to achieve them.
We've challenged five money-saving enthusiasts, to see just how much they can save by changing their energy use around the home.
We've supplied the participants with three energy monitoring devices — two plug-in units to monitor the energy used by individual appliances and one main device to monitor energy usage throughout their home. These were kindly given to us by www.Efergy.com.
After one month, we'll invite the participants to compare how much money they've saved by:
- being more aware of the cost of boiling their kettle, watching TV and using a laptop, versus
- the money they could save by switching energy supplier.
To do this, the participants will use MoneySuperMarket's energy comparison tool.
We'll share the progress of the challenge right here on this page, and you can follow the participants' progress on Twitter using #EnergySavingChallenge... why not give it a go yourself?
The participants have been all kitted out with their energy monitors for nearly a month now – and, true to form, have been blogging about how they got on.
Gareth, who writes for the independent technology news and reviews blog, ‘Tracy and Matt’, has kindly provided a vlog (that’s a ‘video blog’ to the uninitiated) about setting up the equipment.
The aim of our Energy Saving Challenge was to find out what made the biggest saving: reducing your energy usage by monitoring it with special devices, OR switching suppliers.
As the challenge draws to an end, we’ve been gathering the results from our participants. They all agree that the appliances they use sporadically – such as irons, kettles and vacuum cleaners – use more electricity than they initially thought, compared with appliances that are always running like fridges and freezers.
Some of the general observations from our participants in terms of energy costs were as follows:
- Boiling water for 2 cups of tea = 1p
- Hairdryer (one use) = 5p
- Vacuum (for 15-20minutes) = 0.07p
- Toaster (3 pieces) = 0.01p
So what was the final result?
We are super-pleased to report that switching your energy supplier proved the best way to save money! Our participants found they could save an average £75 a year on their bills using MoneySuperMarket energy comparison tool – a saving which outweighed being more frugal about energy use in the home.
However, our bloggers all took away learnings and have pledged to be less heavy handed on the ‘on switches’. They will now:
- Turn off devices when not in use
- Run the battery down on devices in full before re-charging them
- Only boil the amount of water they need in the kettle
- Put appliances such as microwaves and irons on lower settings
- Only use the washing machine on full load
Find out how much money YOU can save by switching providers by checking out our energy comparison tool
And to look back at the challenge on Twitter, search for #EnergySavingChallenge