How to cut your energy bills
Energy bills went up at the start of October, with households in England, Wales and Scotland using a typical amount of gas and electricity now paying significantly more.
Energy-saving measures won’t make up for the sharp rise in prices. But taken together, lots of small changes could save hundreds of pounds a year.
Insulate and draught-proof your home
Proper insulation is crucial, with the Energy Saving Trust (EST) warning that homes without it in their lofts typically lose a quarter of their heat through the roof while those who invest stand to save as much as £580 a year by introducing it!
Houses can also reportedly lose a third of their heat through the walls if they are not well insulated. If there is a gap between your walls (common in most houses built after 1920), professionals can install cavity wall insulation for you. Addressing the problem might be costly upfront but could ultimately prove to be worth as much as £480 and £650 a year respectively, depending on your wall type, according to EST estimates.
Loose fittings are another major culprit when it comes to domestic energy waste because they let in cold air and allow heat to escape. Window and door frames, like skirting boards, should also be checked and sealed to save yourself £45 a year, the EST says, while draught-proofing an open chimney could save you another £65 annually. Inexpensive draught excluders are also recommended to stop warmth from escaping from beneath exterior doors and letterboxes.
Use an air fryer or microwave instead of an oven
Ovens can be an inefficient way of cooking as they involve heating a relatively large space. Using a microwave, pressure cooker or air fryer instead could save money. Microwaves usually save energy as they cook faster and at lower temperatures. For example, a baked potato could take 70 minutes in an oven, 60 minutes in an air fryer and 8 minutes in a microwave.
Switch to LED lightbulbs
Lighting makes up 11% of the average UK household’s energy consumption, according to The Energy Saving Trust. Switching to LED bulbs can make a big difference. A household using a dozen 40W incandescent or halogen bulbs for four hours a day could spend about £238 per year whereas LED equivalents would cost £41.70 – a saving of £196.30 a year. LED bulbs can cost more, but have a longer lifespan and will save money over time.
Take control of your central heating
Set your thermostat at the lowest comfortable temperature (often 18 to 21C). Turning your thermostat down just one degree could cut bills by about £145 a year based on the average consumption in a semi-detached house.
As well as turning your heating down, turn it off in rooms which are not being used so you are only heating the rooms that need to be warm.
It is recommended that you bleed your radiators to ensure there is no trapped air inside preventing them from running to their full potential and that you back them with foil paper so that the heat they generate is reflected back into the room, rather than absorbed into the walls and lost as waste energy. You should also avoid placing large items of furniture like sofas in their way, which will absorb the heat rather than allow it to warm the air in the room, and avoid using your radiators to dry damp clothes for the same reason.