As energy watchdog OFGEM jokingly advised energy consumers to save cash by taking packed lunches to work instead of tackling fuel bosses about high prices, Energy Switcheroo offers some tips and tricks on how to reduce energy bills in the home whilst on a budget.
Although we expect OFGEM to come up with something more constructive, it is often the small changes that accumulatively create significant change, much like saving our coins in a jar each day, may eventually pay for that new item. A report by Which suggests bills should have been cut by 10.3% instead of the 5% implemented by the Big Six energy companies. It is estimated that these companies made £2.9billion during the past year by not passing on savings.
Here are some suggestions to reduce your energy bills:
- Stand in the corners of each room; are there cold spots, draughts, and if so how are they being caused? Is air getting in under doors, heat escaping through ill-fitting windows or have you damp or un-insulated external walls? Make a list and then consider remedies. Some solutions may be costly, but there are grants for cavity insulation and double glazing. However, even temporary fixes such as foil behind the radiators, cheap draught excluders and setting low heat controls for longer periods, rather than leaving rooms to get cold, will significantly improve the situation.
- Take a note of what you have on phantom power. Anything with even one glowing small light is draining electricity. If you do not intend using something until the evening, there is little point in having it on, in sleep mode for the other twenty hours in the day. You can use an automatic standby shutdown to control computers and televisions.
- Switch off lights in a room that you are not using, a simple motion switch system will save you a lot of money over the course of a year. This can also apply to security and garden lights. Even better if they are solar powered.
- Close doors behind you. If there is a free flow for air through your home, it can cause a general drop in temperature, which in turn results in you spending more to re-heat. This cycle is then repeated over and over again. An open fireplace sucks up any heat it can find; at least have a temporary seal when not in use. Likewise kitchen and bathroom fans that have outside access, let in small draughts. Portable heaters consume a lot of power if used to reheat rooms.
- Carpets and rugs retain heat in the room and prevent cold floors, especially if you are living in older style houses.
- Those who are struggling on low incomes or students in small apartments should forget about style over comfort. Temporary plastic double glazing, hanging thick curtains at the door and cardboard under the carpet or even your bed, makes sound economic sense.
- If you are in rented accommodation, you are quite within your rights to ask the landlord about his/her electricity supplier and if there is a cheaper tariff available. You could even do some research yourself; it would be doing them a favour as well.
- If you live alone, buy a small kettle and pans, no need to heat two pints of water every time you want a cuppa or boil an egg. If you like baking, do things in batches in the oven rather than one at a time. Be economical and have an enjoyable day creating things for the freezer if you have one. Don’t forget to dust the coils on the back of your refrigerator, which can make a significant difference.
- Submit your meter readings for free online to access what you are using and what it is costing you.
Keep revisiting our Energy Switcheroo news page for more tips, tricks and advice about saving energy and reducing costs.