From paying by direct debit to switching appliances off at the wall, there are many ways you can cut energy costs with very little effort
Knowing how to cut energy costs is vital for millions of households struggling with rising energy prices. April saw the energy price cap increase by 54% and analysts are now predicting another significant increase when the cap changes again in October. There is also talk of reviewing the price cap every three months to help reduce these steep increases.
While the Government has announced a £15 billion support package to help millions through the cost of living crisis, including a £400 energy grant for all households, it is still worth taking measures to keep your energy usage as low as possible and make sure you are not spending more than you need to for your gas and electricity.
1. CAN YOU CUT ENERGY COSTS BY SWITCHING TO A FIXED-RATE TARIFF?
Switching to a fixed-rate energy tariff is usually the best way to lock in a good price for your gas and electricity, but with high wholesale prices so high, any fixed rate deal is currently going to be expensive.
The best advice for now is to stay put until energy prices calm down and deals start to return.
2. PAY BY DIRECT DEBIT
Setting up a direct debit to pay for your energy is a sensible idea as it will immediately cut your bill. Not only will you never forget to pay, but it works out around 7%, or £85 a year, cheaper on average than if you were to pay any other way.
Remember to give your supplier regular meter readings so that you are paying the correct amount each month. You can usually do this online, via an app or automatically if you have a smart meter. Accurate meter readings can save on your energy bill by making sure you do not overpay with estimated costs.
3. TURN YOUR THERMOSTAT DOWN BY A SINGLE DEGREE
Heating and hot water costs make up around half of your energy bill, so this is where the biggest savings can be made in the home. Start by turning your heating down by just one degree – it could save you up to £80 a year on your energy bills.
Visit the Energy Saving Trust for tips on how to reduce your energy usage.
Turning your thermostat down by a single degree can help cut energy costs
4. CUT YOUR SHOWER TIME TO SAVE ON ENERGY
You don’t have to make a big sacrifice here to your shower time, cutting just one minute off your daily ritual could save £75 a year in energy bills and another £105 a year in water bills if you have a meter.
5. FIT A WATER-SAVING SHOWER HEAD
Switching to a water-saving shower head will not only reduce your water consumption (without affecting the quality of your shower), but it can also mean there is less water that needs to be heated which, in turn, will reduce your energy usage too.
6. REPLACE YOUR OLD, INEFFICIENT BOILER
Installing a new boiler isn’t cheap but if you can afford the initial outlay then replacing your battered old boiler with an super energy-efficient one could save you up to £300 a year, according to experts. Look for a top-rated A-rated boiler.
See if you can get the Clean Heat Grant – you could receive £7,000 to replace your boiler if you go for an eco alternative. The Clean Heat grant is available from the government next year.
7. DON’T LEAVE APPLIANCES ON STANDBY
Brits have an average of 10 electrical items plugged in and switched on around our homes at any one time which we aren’t using, according to energy supplier Utilita. Turning your television set off at the mains can save you up to £16 of electricity a year. Doing the same with an X-box or Playstation can double that figure. It all adds up.
8. BUY ENERGY EFFICIENT WHITE GOODS TO SAVE ENERGY
We’re not suggesting you throw away well-functioning appliances but when your fridge or washing machine come to the end of their lives, make sure their replacements are as energy efficient as possible. Upgrading a C-rated fridge freezer to a top rate A+++ one could save you £113 a year, according to Energy Local.
9. WASH CLOTHES AT A LOWER TEMPERATURE
If you are doing laundry four times a week at 20 degrees rather than 40 degrees you can save you £24, according to Which? Cutting out one cycle per week, perhaps by wearing your clothes more before you wash them, could save you £5 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
10. USE A WASHING LINE OR AIRER TO DRY YOUR CLOTHES
You could save £40 a year if you never use your tumble dryer, according to the Energy Saving Trust. So leave your clothes to dry on an airer or clothes horse if possible.
Using a washing line instead of a tumble dryer can cut energy costs
11. GET A SMART THERMOSTAT
Rather than running around the house turning radiators on and off, a smart thermostat could do the job for you. It has the ability to only warm the rooms you are using and knows how long it takes to heat your home. Using an app, you can time it just right so that you never need to return home to a cold house. Uswitch estimates that a smart heating system can save you around £75 a year.
Using a smart phone to control a smart thermostat to reduce energy costs
12. TURN THE LIGHTS OFF
It’s an old, but golden, rule that will trim your energy costs. Turning off the lights in rooms you are not in can save you £14 a year, according to the Energy Trust.
If it helps, stick a post it by the switch saying ‘Switch me off’ as a constant reminder.
13. SWITCH TO ENERGY-SAVING LIGHTBULBS
Replacing bulbs with energy efficient LEDs can save you £35 a year though the expense of doing this (around £100 for the average household) may seem initially painful. Maybe start small and replace just the bulbs in the room that you’re predominantly using. They use less energy so your bills are cheaper, they last longer so you will need to buy fewer bulbs and they are just as bright.
14. ASSESS YOUR HOME’S INSULATION
This needs initial investment, but getting wall and loft insulation and installing double or triple glazing on your windows will save you paying for energy that is being lost from your home.
Don’t forget your water pipes too. It takes longer to heat running water in uninsulated pipes. You may be able to get some cheap or free insulation through your energy firm, especially if you’re on low income.
15. CLAIM TAX RELIEF IF YOU WORK FROM HOME
If you work from home, don’t forget the working from home tax relief which will give you something towards energy bills. A basic-rate taxpayer gets £62.40 while a higher rate taxpayer gets £125. It only takes a few minutes to claim via the government website – all you need is your government gateway ID and password which you can create when you apply.
16. ADDITIONAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR YOUR ENERGY BILLS
Those who are elderly and/or on low incomes may be eligible for financial support. Pensioners can receive one-off winter fuel payments from the government of up to £300, while the warm home discount, worth up to £140 a year and the cold weather payments of up to £25 a week, are designed to support people who live at risk of fuel poverty.
17. ASK FOR HELP IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING TO PAY YOUR BILLS
Talk to your provider if you’re struggling with energy bills. If you are in debt to your energy supplier there are grants from charitable trusts to help pay it off. British Gas Energy Trust offers help to anyone – you don’t have to be a customer. Firms such as Scottish Power Hardship Fund(opens in new tab) , Ovo Debt and energy assistance, E.on Energy Fund and EDF Energy Customer Support Fund(opens in new tab) offer grants to their customers.
So what are you waiting for? Contact Boiler Medic today to discuss your boiler requirements.