Understanding your energy usage
The UK energy crisis shows no sign of abating, with prices going up, driven by increased demand as economies emerge from the pandemic.
At the same time, a long cold winter has also meant that UK stocks were at very low levels.
In recent days, the spike in wholesale prices has led to some suppliers temporarily stopping trying to get new customers until prices settle a little. Others have ceased trading altogether – with warnings more could follow.
There is currently less competition in the market and fewer offers available on our pages. There is also not the high level of savings up for grabs that we saw this time last year.
To add to this, bills for customers on default tariffs are set to increase from October when the price cap, set by Ofgem, is due to go up from £1,138 to £1,277 for the average customer. This is a rise of £139, the highest since the cap launched in January 2019.
If you’re on a fixed deal, it’s likely to be much cheaper than the deals available right now – so you’re better staying put.
If you’re on a standard variable or default tariff and want to switch, there may still be fixed deals available. These tariffs might be right for you if you’re looking for the peace of mind that comes from knowing prices are fixed for 12 months or longer, but right now they are likely to be more expensive than staying put.
We can switch you to some of these, so check if any of them meet your needs for things like green energy or added boiler cover.
We can also show you deals that aren’t currently available on our site, just click “show all deals” on the results page. If you want to switch to one of these though, you’ll need to contact the supplier directly.
Aside from switching, there are lots of other simple ways to cut energy costs. Here we take a closer look.
A super easy way to save money is by notching your thermostat down by one degree. This could save you around £60 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. As a guide, you should aim for around 18°C. Anything higher will be more costly.
Consider upgrading to a ‘smart’ thermostat which can be controlled from your mobile to further reduce energy wastage. Smart meters can also help you save money by making you aware of how much energy you use.
Poorly-insulated roofs and walls can be a major cause of energy wastage.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, you could save up to £225 a year with cavity wall insulation. While loft insulation could be quite costly with an initial outlay of around £300, with savings of up to £150 a year on your bills up for grabs, you’ll soon recoup this cost. (Actual costs and savings will depend on your property).
Double glazing – or triple glazing – can be another major outlay, but you will make savings in the longer term.
Equally, if you’re looking for a cheaper way to help boost insulation, invest in soft furnishings, such as carpets, rugs and thick curtains.
While you’re at it, buy a jacket for your hot water tank to make it more energy efficient, and put foam tubes around pipes to prevent heat from being lost. Foam pipes can be purchased and cut to size for just a few pounds per metre. You can also pick up a jacket for your tank pretty cheaply.
Preventing heat from escaping through unwanted gaps is one of the cheapest – and most effective – ways to save energy and money. Get a brush to put inside your letterbox and draught excluders for the bottom of doors. Use stick-on draught-proofing strips around windows, and filler for the gaps in floorboards.
Upgrading a boiler won’t come cheap – with new models often costing around £3,000 – but if you invest in an A-rated boiler, over time, you’ll recoup the cost. This is also a great way to reduce your home’s carbon emissions.
Get into the habit of getting your boiler serviced annually – ideally before the winter season. A service can cost around £60 and will ensure your boiler is safe, energy-efficient, and working as it should be. Always get a Gas Safe engineer to carry out the service.
Remembering to turn your appliances off standby could save you around £35 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. You can even buy a ‘standby saver’ which allows you to turn all your appliances off standby at once.
Be aware that some chargers, including certain older models, can still use electricity, even when they’re not plugged into a device. Always unplug them. Don’t keep charging devices once they’ve reached 100% or leave them charging overnight.
Note, though, that if you have any ‘smart technologies, such as smart speakers and heating controls, these may need to be left switched on.
The Government banned the sale of halogen bulbs from September, in a move which will mean a big cut to carbon emissions.
While this may have taken some people by surprise, you will soon reap the benefits through cheaper energy costs with efficient LED bulbs – which also have a longer life.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, if the average household replaced all their bulbs with LEDs, this could mean savings of up to £40 a year. Get into the habit of always turning lights off when you leave a room.
Improving energy efficiency around your home doesn’t need to cost the earth:
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