You’ve probably noticed that your energy bills have increased in recent times. Worse still, according to media reports, energy bills will likely increase again in October due to the cost of energy production and importation, which has been exacerbated by recent geopolitical tensions. As people are struggling to adjust to the April price cap lifting, a new one is expected to occur in October, adding to the financial woes of many people.
We can only hope that the recent energy price hikes are a temporary phenomenon, and that price stability returns as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can save money, reduce your carbon footprint, and conserve energy by following some simple tips.
It doesn’t matter if you own your own house, rent privately, or live with your parents; there are numerous things you may do to reduce your energy use and save money
Understanding your energy bill
To start with, it’s a good place to start by having a good understanding of your energy bill and what information it contains. For example, you will find important information like what tariff you are currently on for your gas or electricity (which tells you the price you pay per unit as well as any standing charge) and the tariff comparison rate. You will also learn from your bill how much energy you have used in the past year.
Energy Saving Tips
Let’s now look at the ways in which we can save energy at home by following some simple tips
- Turn off standby mode
The Energy Saving Trust has estimated that you could save nearly £60 a year by just switching off appliances from standby mode. Why waste money and energy on something that is not being used?
At the plug socket, most electrical equipment may be switched off without causing any harm to its settings. For as little as £10-15, perhaps a standby saver or smart plug can switch off all your standby equipment at once, which would be worth considering. It’s a good idea to check the instructions on appliances you are not sure about since some may require them to be left plugged in, such as a digital TV recorder.
- Make sure doors and windows are draught-proof
While new build houses typically have good draught proofing, older ones tend to lose heat through draughts around the windows and doors, as well as gaps around the floor and chimney
You can pay for professional draught-proofing or save money and do some DIY proofing. You could save nearly £50 a year with better draught proofing, according to the EST.
Draught-proofing is a simple step you can take, but for more extensive measures to help reduce home heat loss, such as cavity wall insulation.
- Switching off lights
This might sound like an obvious step, but it is one that we often forget to do. If the room is not being used or if we leave it, switching off the light can save as much as £20. Switching all your bulbs over to energy-saving LEDs can help even more.
- Better use of our washing machine
The EST estimates that being mindful of how we use our washing machines can save us around £30 per year. For example, keeping the washing cycles at 30 degrees or lower and cutting back on using the machine by just once a week can go a long way.
- Try not to use the dryer
Tumble dryers use heat to dry clothes and consume quite a bit of electricity. By avoiding using the dryer as much as possible by hanging the damp clothes outside in the summer months and on clothes racks indoors in the colder months, you could save as much as £60 a year.
- Take shorter showers
By taking shorter showers (4 minutes or less), you could save over £70 a year per household. As you can probably tell, the savings listed so far are starting to add up!
Furthermore, taking showers is preferable to taking baths, which will use much more hot water and thus more energy to heat them.
- Be smart in the kitchen
We can save money by making better use of kitchen appliances. For example, it’s common to see people boil the kettle with much more water than they intend to use, and so by reducing the water level you can save energy.
If you have a dishwasher, consider using it less often and doing the washing by hand. There’s something very satisfying and therapeutic about hand washing dishes! And when you do use it, try and wait until it is full, which helps reduce the amount of water used. The ETS has estimated that by reducing the number of times you use your dishwasher by only once a week, you could save nearly £15. Check to make sure your boiler is energy efficient also, and if not, consider upgrading.
Another useful tip is to use the right size pan when heating food or boiling water. Your food will cook more efficiently if you use a pan that is the proper size for the amount of food you are cooking. In addition to wasting energy by using a larger hob than necessary, a pan that’s too large will take longer to heat up. Another way to avoid water wastage is by simply boiling the water necessary to cover the volume of food being cooked. In addition to this, you will save even more energy by just placing a lid on your pan.
- Improve your insulation
A British Standard Jacket 80mm thick will save you an additional £35 a year in energy costs. For other useful tips and costs on insulating hot water tanks, pipes, and radiators, you can find them here.
- Install a smart meter
Smart meters may be an option for you if your utility company provides them for consumers such as yourself. Smart meters help consumers identify where they’re wasting the most energy and allow you to take action to reduce your use and save money.
- Energy efficient electrical appliances
There are certain appliances, such as dishwashers, that operate on electricity rather than gas, so it’s important to look for the most energy-efficient ones possible. As a general rule, look for models certified A+++ by the EU.
In summary, there are plenty of small steps that we can take to help reduce our energy use and thus our bills. More extensive ones include things like installing heat pumps and cavity wall insulation, which are also worth exploring, depending on your budget. As prices of nearly everything is rising sharply in recent times, including the cost of energy of every kind, every little saving that we can make will add up.