Friday, July 19, 2024

Say Goodbye To High Energy Bills: Easy Ways To Save This Autumn

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Rachel Knox
Rachel Knox
Rachel Knox graduated from Columbia University in 2005. Rachel grew up in Canada but moved to the US after completing her school. Rachel has written for several major publications including Buzz Feed and the Huffington Post. Rachel is a community reporter, she also covers economy, business and entrepreneurial news and issues.

Once the autumn rolls around and the days get chillier, your radiators start to come out of hibernation. Energy bills have historically been a bit of a mystery – usually a letter through the door full of kilowatts and units and estimates… but now it’s easier than ever to stay in control.

There’s a world of info, technology, apps and devices at your fingertips.

This is how you can understand your bill better, while taking control of your spending.

The Impact of High Energy Bills on Households

We’re all too aware of the cost of living crisis – gas and electricity prices have risen sharply in recent years. The effect has been clear, according to the Office of National Statistics.

  • Renters and mortgage holders are spending around 16%-21% more on their rent and mortgage, so are at higher odds of experiencing financial difficulties.
  • Vulnerable groups are also more likely to be in financial hardship.
  • 35% of adults reported it was difficult to afford their rent or mortgage payments.
  • 5% of adults reported they’d run out of food in the last 2 weeks.

With energy, there’s 3 things you can do to get more control:

  1. Understand how and where your energy is being consumed.
  • Think about what energy you’re using by dividing them into categories: heating, cooling, lighting, appliances, electronics, water heating, and anything else that’s specific to you. This will help you pinpoint specific areas of high consumption.
  • Estimate how many hours you use your devices and appliances. You can use timers, smart meters or energy monitoring devices.
  1. Identify where you’re wasting energy.
  • Check for any gaps or leaks – draughty windows, poorly insulated doors, or gaps around pipes and vents. If heat is escaping unnecessarily, your heating system will work harder to keep your home at the temperature you want.
  • Replace or upgrade old, inefficient appliances and lighting with energy-efficient models.
  1. Monitor your energy usage and review your monthly bills.
  • Upgrade to smart meters like the one offered by Utility Warehouse.
  • Check your past energy bills to understand when you’re using the most and the least energy.

Energy-Saving Tips for the Autumn

  1. Make the most of your programmable thermostat

If you’re not sure how to do this, look in the manual. If it’s long-lost, search for your boiler model online to see if it’s on the manufacturer’s website.

You can set what time your heating comes on. Depending on your boiler, you might be able to set heating and hot water separately.

But either way, make sure it’s only coming on when you know you’ll be at home and using it.

Also, include the time it takes for heating to warm up your home, and for it to cool down again. For example, if you’re going to bed at 11pm, you can probably turn the heating off at 10.30pm.

For hot water, if you’ve got a water cylinder, test how long it takes for it to go cold again – you might not need to put it on every day.

Smart thermostats are also an option – these let you control your heating from your phone using an app.

Understand your thermostat in more detail with these tips from the Energy Saving Trust.

  1. Take advantage of daylight

Natural lighting: It might sound obvious but keep your curtains and blinds open during the day to avoid turning on lights. If you’re worried about people seeing in, you can get frosting which still lets the light in – very affordable and easy to apply.

Room arrangement: Another simple fix is to make sure furniture isn’t blocking natural light.

Skylights and windows: If possible, think about installing skylights or larger windows in rooms where daylight is limited.

Reflective surfaces: Lighter coloured walls reflect light around the room.

  1. Upgrade your light bulbs to LED

They cost more than the old halogen ones but they last up to 10 years and run at a fraction of the cost.

Look after your boiler, and your boiler will look after you

Annual service

Get your boiler serviced every year – your gas engineer will keep it ticking over, preventing major issues from appearing that are costly to fix.

Bleed your radiators

Do this every year before it gets cold – it’ll remove air from your radiators so they get as warm as possible, while running efficiently.

Run your heating regularly

It might sound bonkers to put your heating on in the summer but it’s important to keep it ticking over, not sitting idle for too long. Once every week or two will do. You also won’t have any surprises when you’re feeling the chill and turn on the boiler, only to find a problem.

These tips from Utility Warehouse (UW) show how to keep your boiler energy-efficient – these are super valuable lessons that everyone should know.

Energy efficient appliances

Turn off anything you’re not using, and avoid keeping gadgets in standby mode.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, you can save up to £35 a year by turning off devices fully.

Washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers account for around 14% of average energy use. If it’s sunny, avoid the tumble dryer. When running your washing machine and dishwasher, look for eco modes and always make sure you’re not putting on half loads.

A typical oven uses lots of energy – check out air fryers, slow cookers and the trusty old microwave for some less intensive options.

Check out other energy providers

Last but not least – always keep an eye out on offers from other energy providers. For example, you save money with Utility Warehouse (UW) when you bundle all your utility services together.

Final words

It can be daunting when you don’t feel like you’re in control of your energy bills. There’s a lot of information here so take each section at a time. If it feels overwhelming, take a break and come back another day so you know exactly what options and avenues are available to you.

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