The combination of lockdown and falling temperatures has meant we’ve had to fork out more in gas and electricity bills this winter, as we’ve used more energy with the additional time spent at home.
But with the weather starting to get a little warmer and brighter, we may not need to have the heating on quite as much.
The start of the new season is a good time to ‘spring-clean’ your energy habits, and take steps to be more energy efficient.
Here we look at some of the simple things you can do right now to save money on your bills, while also doing your bit to save the planet.
Turn your thermostat down
With the warmer weather beginning to kick in, now is the perfect time to notch your thermostat down a little.
Turning it down by just one degree could save you around £60 a year on your bills, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
Better still, on warmer days, why not turn the heating off altogether? If you feel chilly, reach for a jumper or extra layer instead. On colder nights, put an extra blanket on your bed.
Change your washing machine to a lower setting
While you’re at it, set your washing machine to a lower temperature, too.
Clothes will clean just as well at 30°C as they will at higher temperatures – and especially if they are not heavily soiled. Plus, modern washing powders work just as well at lower temperatures.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, this will save around 40% of the energy used each year.
Also try, if possible, to avoid ‘half loads’ when putting a wash on. If you really need to wash a smaller amount of laundry, make use of the ‘half-load programme’ if you have one.
Reduce your reliance on your tumble dryer
Once you’ve washed your clothes, don’t automatically throw them into the dryer.
You may not realise this, but tumble dryers are one of the most energy intensive household appliances, so if you can use yours a bit less as temperatures edge up, that could help bring your bills down.
If you’ve got the option, hang clothes out to dry on a washing line instead.
Bring in sunlight
As we move into spring, be sure to open your curtains so the sun can come in through your windows.
That will mean you can switch off artificial lights during daylight hours. As an added benefit, the sun may bring some warmth into your home, too.
Hang up your hairdryer
While some of us may feel surgically-attached to our hairdryers, with the weather warming up, now is the time to try towel-drying your hair, and leaving it to dry naturally.
Make a spring pledge to start switching off standby
Many of us are guilty of leaving devices switched on when they’re not in use. When it comes to wasting electricity in standby mode, kitchen appliances, TVs and game consoles can be among the worst culprits.
Seize the start of spring as an opportunity to get into good habits – which means switching gadgets off at the socket. And don’t leave your phone charging all night, either. It should be fine after just a couple of hours.
Switching appliances off standby could save you £35 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
Check out the Green Homes Grant
If you’re considering a ‘bigger’ energy-efficient change for your home, look into applying for Government support.
Green Home Grants are available for things such as upgrading to double glazing, improving draught proofing, and getting additional insulation installed. You can get vouchers worth up to two thirds of the cost of upgrading the energy efficiency of your home. For most people, the maximum contribution will be £5,000.
The deadline for the vouchers has been extended from March this year until March 2022. (This extension was announced in November last year). Find out more about the Green Homes Grant here.
See if you can get solar panels installed
Now that we’re starting to see more sunshine, this could also be a good time to look into whether it’s possible to get solar panels installed on your rooftop. This is a bigger step to take, but by generating your own renewable energy, this could help you make significant savings on your bills.
The Energy Saving Trust has a helpful guide here.
Switch your energy supplier
At the start of February, Ofgem, the regulator, announced that it will be increasing the energy price cap from April 1, from £1,042 to £1,138.
Here at MoneySuperMarket, we are encouraging consumers – whether on a standard or default tariff, or approaching the end of their current fixed deal – not to rely on the cap, but to switch to a new fixed tariff for even greater savings.
If you haven’t switched for a while, you could save at least £306* on your energy bills by shopping around.
And when looking at deals to switch to, don’t automatically dismiss green tariffs on the grounds that ‘doing your bit’ is going to cost you money. There are now a host of competitively-priced green energy deals on offer, and some are among the very cheapest tariffs in the market.
Read more here.
*30% of consumers that applied to switch via MoneySuperMarket could save at least £306.38, March-December 2020. Excludes NI, CI & IOM.