As we head into the colder months, energy use will be at its peak – and gas and electricity bills will go up.
This winter, our energy bills are likely to be far higher than before, as the Government has told us to work from home for even longer amid concerns about a second wave of Covid-19.
More time at home due to tighter rules and local lockdowns, means even higher than normal energy usage, as we’ll have the heating turned on more, boilers working overtime, and the lights switched on for longer.
This, in turn, means more expensive bills landing on our doormats – or dropping into our inboxes.
But while you may be worried about eye-watering energy expenses, there are plenty of simple steps you can take to keep a lid on costs.
Here we take a closer look.
Notch your thermostat down by one degree
Turning your thermostat by just 1°C can save you as much as £75 per year. Think about putting on jumpers and other extra layers so you won’t be tempted to turn the heating back up.
Use a key to bleed radiators regularly. This will keep them working effectively.
Don’t heat empty rooms
If bedrooms aren’t in use during the day, don’t heat them. Make use of radiator controls.
Move furniture away from radiators
Check that armchairs and sofas aren’t obstructing radiators. By leaving radiators clear, you can help more warmth get into a room. Note that radiator reflector panels are a cheap way of conserving energy.
Close curtains at dusk
This will help you to help keep heat in. Also ensure curtains are tucked behind radiators to avoid wasting heat.
Put rugs on floors
Carpets will mean your floors are better insulated – and that your house will stay warmer. Thick rugs will also do the job.
Make use of draught excluders
Place draught excluders at the bottom of doors. You can buy these relatively cheaply – though old towels will also work. Get brushes to cover your letterbox.
Insulate your pipes
Invest in some DIY insulating foam to lag your pipes. Foam can be bought and cut to size for just a few pounds per metre.
Wrap up your water tank
Purchase a ‘jacket’ to help reduce heat loss from your water tank.
Reduce water usage in the bathroom
Look into replacing your current showerhead with a ‘low-flow’ one, as these significantly reduce the amount of water you use when you shower. Try taking a shorter shower. Also think about changing your toilet cistern to a ‘low-flush’ version or if you have an older loo, see if you can fit a ‘dual flush.’
Be water and energy conscious
Only use your dishwasher or washing machine when you have a full load, and, when boiling the kettle, only put in as much water as you need.
Switch to energy-saving lightbulbs
Replace old, inefficient lightbulbs with modern LED bulbs, as these will help you save on your energy bills. Also remember to turn all lights off when they are not in use.
Don’t leave devices on standby
Save money by switching electronics off, rather than leave them on standby.
Make sure you’re on the best energy deal
If you haven’t switched for a while, now is the time to make sure you’re on the best possible deal for your energy.
You may think that the new energy price cap (which came into force on October 1), means you can sit back and do nothing – but this is not the case.
The reduced price cap, announced by the regulator in August, saw the level fall from £1,126 to £1,042 a year.
However, research reveals there are currently 67 tariffs cheaper than Ofgem’s price cap*.
The advice is simple: don’t rely on the price cap to lower bills, as this could result in you missing out on hundreds of pounds of savings.
Switch to save
If you’re approaching the end of your energy contract, seize the opportunity to switch supplier to get greater savings.
Compare deals across the market. Note that if you want to ‘go green’ you may also be able to find a reasonably priced renewable tariff which comes in cheaper than the price cap.
Right now, one of the cheapest tariffs is E.ON’s ‘Fix Online Exclusive V50’. At £870 per year, this is £172 cheaper than the cap, and comes with 100% renewable electricity as standard.
Switching supplier is easy – and only takes a few minutes online.
It’s also worth signing up to our Energy Monitor alerts when you run a quote. Simply select the amount you’d like to save, and we will automatically let you know when there is a deal available with the requested savings.
Give some thought to longer-term measures that could make your home more sustainable
While some of the steps below will involve a hefty cost at the outset, over time, you will reap the rewards in terms of savings on your energy bills:
- Invest in a new boiler. If your boiler is more than 12 years old, it’s time to think about an energy-efficient replacement.
- Invest in loft insulation – and cavity wall insulation.
- Replace windows with double-glazing. Better still, go for high-performance triple glazing where possible. This will help insulate your home, conserve heat, and also make your living space quieter.
- Consider installing solar PV panels on your roof. These use the sun’s energy to power your home.
- Note that from September 30, the Government began offering homeowners in England vouchers worth up to £5,000 to make their homes more energy efficient. Read more about the Green Homes Grant.
*According to MoneySuperMarket internal data, as of September 2020.