There are many ways you can minimise the costs of the energy you use at home. We have put together our top 10 tips for saving on your gas and heating bills at home. Some of our advice is really simple and easy to implement, whilst others take more involvement and are more complex, but will save you money.
1. CHECK & COMPARE ENERGY PRICES
The first port of call are your energy bills. A quick study of your bills will tell you about your consumption of gas and electric, the tariff you are on and the cost per unit you are paying. This will provide a basic understanding of where your money is being spent and if you are paying a competitive rate for your energy. It’s certainly worth comparing suppliers. If you haven’t checked, compared or changed either your supplier or tariff recently, there is a good chance there is money to be saved by changing tariff or provider. You might find that you’re paying above and beyond what you need to if your fixed price contract has expired and/or you are on a standard tariff. According to OFGEM, a staggering half of UK homes are on these higher rates. Check your rates and compare – you could save around £300 per year!
Other top tips:
Check your tariff /provider, look at comparison websites such as uSwitch, Money Supermarket or Compare The Market
Paying by direct debit can usually create a saving if the correct amount is calculated and help avoid any unpleasant surprises with large bills.
Check and send your meter readings – to keep the direct debit and bills accurate
Install a smart meter to keep a check on your usage in real time. These are often provided free by your energy provider.
Opt for paperless billing which can save a few pounds and it keeps you more in-touch with your bills.
2. GET SMART WITH THERMOSTATIC CONTROLS:
Using thermostatic controls can save you hundreds of pounds on your bills. Just a slight adjustment to room and water temperatures is an easy way to save money, as can setting your heating and water to turn on and off when you need it. You can also use thermostatic controls to only heat the parts of your home you are using, or to set different temperatures according to what you need.
If you really want to make the most of the potential savings, fitting a smart thermostatic control and thermostatic radiator valves is the way to go. For just a few hundred pounds you can install a smart thermostat which will allow you to control your heating from your mobile. Having the control at your fingertips means you can turn the heating on or off in an instant. Whilst managing your usage will in this way will save you money on your bills, these devices can set schedules and learn your usage requirements and adjust the settings to fit around your routines and the weather. It’s also great being able to turn the heating on so when you arrive home it cosy and warm.
As mentioned before, installing a smart meter could also help you monitor your overall energy usage by monitoring your gas and electric.
3. INSULATION & SELF SUFFICIENCY
It’s a simple idea, but one that every household, whether in new or old property, will find as probably the best way to save on their heating bills. Stop the heat from escaping by retaining it and you will require less energy to heat your home.
Windows: double or triple glazing, or if you have a character property some of the old window unit can be adapted to hold modern double-glazing units. Failing that draught proofing older character windows with strips or brushes.
Doors: If you don’t have modern insulated external doors, draft proofing strips and brush or hinged-flap draught excluders are generally the best way to keep the warmth in and the cold out. Keep your doors closed to keep the heat in each room, and the cold in the rooms that are not being heated.
Lofts: It is advisable to use draft proofing around the loft hatch, to seal any gaps in the roof as well as laying insulation in the loft. The recommended thickness of insulation is 270mm, which will save a considerable amount of money on your heating bills. This could be up to £130 a year in a typical 3 bedroom semi.
Pipes: Uninsulated hot water pipes can mean that the water takes longer to heat up whilst its running. Insulation can help prevent water wastage as well as reduce gas consumption to heat the water.
Cavity Wall Insulation: This is a more intrusive form of insulation but once installed this could mean a typical semi-detached home save around £140 per year.
Solid Wall Insulation: This form of insulation is becoming more common in new builds and renovations because of the amount of savings it can create. Once again using a 3 bed semi as an example, it could save around £245 per year on heating bills.
Chimneys & Fireplaces: If they are not in use, your chimneys can be insulated with an inflatable pillow and a cap fitted over the chimney pot.
4. INSTALL AND MAINTAIN A MODERN ENERGY EFFICIENT BOILER
In an average household about half of what we spend on energy goes on the heating. It therefore makes sense to ensure our means of heating the house is as energy efficient as possible. At the centre of this is the gas boiler and central heating system. By installing and maintaining a modern A-rated energy efficient condensing boiler, and better still, install it with a smart thermostatic control, you can make substantial saving on your heating bills. According to SEDBUK figures this could be as much as £652 in a detached home. Whilst the initial outlay for a modern boiler installation and smart heating controls is initially somewhat expensive, the energy efficiency and savings made on your bills over the years to come will soon exceed the cost of the installation. As experts in boilers and heating systems, we are happy to offer you the benefit of our professional advice on choosing the right boiler for your household and its usage requirements.
Once you have your new boiler installed, we strongly advise that you have an annual boiler service to keep it safe, in a good state of repair. This not only keeps the boiler working more efficiently, but usually serves to pre-empt any faults. It is usually also part of the manufacturer’s warranty requirements to have an annual service.
5. ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHTING & APPLIANCES
Replacing light bulbs is a quick and easy fix for most households. With so much choice in lighting nowadays there are many ways to fit energy efficient bulbs, dimmers and controls to save on lighting costs.
LEDs are the most efficient light bulbs, with an average LED light bulb costing around £1.71 a year to run. It’s estimated that in its lifetime an LED bulb could save you about £180 in comparison to an old fashioned incandescent light bulb. It uses almost 90% less energy, as well as lasting longer. It is also worth considering simmer switches, so you can light your room as much as you need rather than having it on the highest setting with just a switch.
On a grander scale, if you are replacing any of your household appliances, it is worthwhile reading reviews and comparing models to see which is most energy efficient (aim for ‘A’ rating for energy efficiency), offers the best performance and is the most reliable. You can find much advice on product comparison websites such as Which? to see which are the best rated products. This can help you make great savings on your energy consumption as well as repairs or replacement in the longer term.
If you are buying an oven, opt for a fan-assisted or convection oven as they circulate the heat and don’t have to be on as high as a normal oven.
To save money when using your washing machine or dish washer, only use them with a full load and choose the energy efficient programs.
Another top tip is not to leave your appliances on standby. According to the Energy Saving Trust this can save you as much as £30 per year. A lot of wasted electricity also occurs by leaving appliances plugged in that are not being used. This includes charger cables with nothing plugged into them.
Perhaps the biggest spend on an energy saving appliance would be to install solar panels. The latest solar panel systems can power your home to the point of saving you as much as a third on your heating bills. This is more of a long-term investment, but one that is green, more sustainable and energy efficient.
Whilst we cannot help you with all of the items on our Top 5 Energy Saving Tips, we can of course help with professional advice, installation, servicing and repair of your boiler and central heating system. We will happily offer advice and a free quotation to customers looking to upgrade and improve the performance of their boiler system, thermostatic controls or any other heating, hot water and plumbing requirements they may have.