Reducing your energy bills…

If you just want to pay less there are lots of things you can do to save money, from making sure you are paying the lowest price to taking steps to reduce your energy consumption.

Draught excluder:

Unless your home is very new, you’re likely to be losing some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, maybe up a chimney or two, and a whole host of other little holes around the house.

Why not buy some good quality draught-proofing products for the doors and windows, seal your skirting boards with silicone sealant and fit a chimney draught excluder or sealed fire guards? DIY draught proofing of windows, doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards are low cost but could save between £20 – £30 a year in a draughty home.

Turn it off:

Try to be aware of unnecessary lights left on, and appliances left plugged-in or on standby. Nearly all electrical and electronic appliances can safely be turned off at the plug without upsetting their systems – some satellite and digital TV recorders may need to be left plugged in so they can keep track of any programmes you want to record – but check the instructions on any appliances you aren’t sure about.

A typical household could save between £45 and £80 a year just by remembering to turn off appliances left on standby.

Careful in the kitchen:

You can save over £43 a year [1] just by being careful how you use your kitchen appliances. The following tips can help you reach this saving:

  • Set your washing machine to wash at 30°C.
  • Using a bowl to wash up rather than leaving the hot tap running.
  • Don’t fill your kettle right up every time – just boil the amount of water you need.

Get a head:

If you’ve got a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank (rather than an electric shower) then you may be able to fit a water-efficient shower head and that could reduce your hot water usage whilst still maintaining the sensation of a powerful shower.

Some water companies are giving shower heads away for free, so maybe contact your water company to see if you could receive one. Through installing a water-efficient shower head, a family of four could save around £65 a year on gas for water heating, as well as a further £95 on water bills if they have a water meter [2].

Medium cost tips

New heating controls: Whatever the age of your boiler, the right controls will let you set your heating and hot water to come on and off when you need them, heat just the areas of your home you want, and decide how warm you want each area to be. Installing a room thermostat, programmer and thermostatic radiator valves you could save up to £70 – £150 a year.

This also means you can then make savings by using your controls more effectively, for example, turning down your room thermostat by just one degree if it’s too warm inside could save around£75

Loft insulation: We recommend having at least 270mm (ten inches) of loft insulation, so it might be worth checking whether you could make your home warmer by topping up levels of loft insulation. You could save up to £150 a year if your loft is uninsulated by installing 270mm of insulation. Even if you have some insulation by topping up from 100mm to 270mm could save around £15 a year.

Lighten your load: Have you changed all your light bulbs for low-energy ones? Even the halogen spots? You can now get LED spotlights that are bright enough to replace halogens, as well as regular energy saving bulbs (‘compact fluorescent lamps’ or CFLs) for pretty much everything else. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and fittings.

If the average household replaced all their remaining old-fashioned bulbs with CFLs and all their halogens with LEDs it would cost around £110 and save around £45 a year.

Higher-cost tips

Cavity wall insulation: If a home was built after 1920, the chances are that its external walls are made of two layers of brick with a gap or cavity between them. Cavity wall insulation fills that gap, keeping the warmth in to save energy. The average installation cost for cavity wall insulation is between £450 and £500 and can save up to £145 a year. The measure could pay for itself in under four years.

Whole house energy makeover: There are plenty of other things that can be done to improve the energy performance of your home, such as floor and solid wall insulation, replacement doors and windows, or a new heating system. Many of these will cost quite a bit to fit but if you get it all done at once the disruption will be less and the total savings can be quite spectacular. And there may be schemes to help finance a comprehensive package of improvements. We recommend calling the Energy Saving Advice Service for guidance on the most appropriate package of improvements for you, and for information on any support that may be available.

[1] Comprises a saving of £6 by washing at 30 rather than a higher temperature; £30 by washing using a bowl rather than under a running tap; and £7 by only boiling what you need in the kettle.

[2] Assumes the family takes just under 20 showers a week and replaces a 13 litre/minute power-shower head with a 7.7 litre / min water efficient shower head, The family are charged £2.89 per cubic meter of water used (includes sewage charge).