Since COVID-19 restrictions were introduced there is no doubting we have all been spending more time at home, which has in turn resulted in an increase to our energy bills, especially during the toughest restrictions.
We have been looking at ways to help keep your energy costs down while your usage is up.
- Shop around
This one is key. Always make sure you are on the best tariff possible. It is always worth shopping around. There is a wealth of online comparison sites so you can see who works out cheapest for you. One thing to remember though is there is currently a price cap in place on energy until 1st April, so it will likely rise after this. Be sure to compare your kwh usage charges and the standing rate. If you’re looking for a fixed rate energy deal, these rates might be slightly higher than the variable rates at the moment, because of the price cap. Also have a look at lookaftermybills which switch their customers’ energy bills every year to ensure they find a cheaper gas and electricity deal.
- Don’t waste it.
Seems like an obvious one, but the average household is said to waste as many as 7,374 hours of electricity when left on standby each year. TVs, computers, routers and even printers all sit in standby mode using energy.
Leaving devices plugged in to the wall is also a big waste. According to USwitch, on a national scaee, leaving mobile phone chargers turned on alone costs us £28.9 million per year across the UK! So be sure to unplug your devices as soon as they are charged.
A great way to combat this is with a smart power strip. They let you choose what to keep on and turn off at any given time, so you have more visibility and control over what you leave on and switch off.
You can also save energy and money by making little adjustments to your everyday life – like spending less time in the shower, make sure your dishwasher is full before putting it on (or do the dishes by hand), cook more meals in batches to save on energy, turn lights off when you leave the room. And whilst there’s still a need for the heating to be on whilst most of us are still working from home – a hot water bottle and extra layers can save you money by not putting the heating on.
And when the summer comes, opt for energy efficient fans and gel cooling mats which you buy from Amazon, stick them in the fridge and hey presto a refreshing mat to sit on whilst you work from home.
- Use natural resources
As lighter nights and warmer days come ever closer it’s a great chance to use more natural resources. Day light is free, so try to make the most of rooms that have the best natural light, so you do not need to keep lights switched on all day. Energy saving bulbs are considerably more efficient and can shave up to £2 per bulb each year off your energy bills.
Check your radiator settings too, now the coldest days have passed you may be able to turn them down or reduce the amount of time they are on. The Energy Saving Trust suggests that turning down your thermostat by just one degree could save around £75 per year. It may also be worth considering a smart heating system. You have better control over when your heating comes on and can choose to only heat the rooms you are using. You should bleed your radiators annually, having air in them can stop hot water circulating efficiently.
- Schedule your day
You may not think this would have much effect on your bills, but when working from home it is easy to work longer house without even realising. Where possible, setting a time to switch off all devices will not only have an impact on your energy bills, but also your work life balance. You can get a whole host of energy saving thermostats fitted, allowing you to better control the heating in your home – such as Nest and Hive, which you can control from your phone. Great for when someone else in your house puts the heating on, you can turn it back down without physically touching the thermostat!
- Use low power devices
Your laptop uses roughly 75 kWh per year, while a desktop can use up to 194 kWh. That is a big difference. If you are streaming, using tablets or laptops will be more energy efficient than using a TV.
- Make long term investments
Making an investment in long term energy saving solutions can make a huge difference to future cost effectiveness. Investing in solar panels may save you around £100 on your electricity bill each year, and you will earn money for energy you generate and sell back to the grid. Reducing home heat loss by reinsulating will mean your heating does not need to work as hard and replacing your boiler with an energy saving combi will make a big difference too. You may be entitled to a government grant to make your home more efficient with the new green deal.
- Back to basics
While giving your home an energy audit – don’t forget the simple basics:
Basic energy saving tips:
- Make sure you wash clothes at 30 degrees put on a full load to get the most out of your washing machine.
- Opt for line drying instead of tumble drying
- Kettles are more efficient than hobs, so boil water in the kettle first.
- Take a shower instead of having a bath
- Don’t wash up under a running tap
- Replace old appliances with new energy efficient versions.
If you are investing in your property or buying new appliances, make sure you check your house insurance to check you are not under insured. If you are in doubt, speak to one of our trained advisors are your local A-Plan Insurance branch today.