Wednesday, 2 November 2016
In honour of Big Energy Saving Week, a national campaign to raise awareness of the financial support people can get for their energy costs, we’ve compiled some of the best tips and tricks to help you keep your energy use and bills as low as possible.
Top tips to save energy
There are both big and small things you can do to decrease your energy consumption, and they can all add up to bring your energy bill down. Improving the insulation of your house is one of the top things you can do to reduce your energy usage, and you may be able to get a discount or even a free offer on insulation from your energy supplier. But if this is impractical or too costly for you, there are plenty of other things you could try.
It may sound overly simple to suggest wearing a sweater instead of turning the heat up, but there are certainly benefits to limiting how much you have your heating on. If you’ve got a timer, setting it to go on 30 minutes before you get up in the morning and off 30 minutes before you leave should give you enough heat and hot water to send you merrily on your way.
Similarly, turning the lights off whenever you’re not in a room and not leaving appliances on standby for too long may seem like small changes, but they could add up to big savings. Especially the oven is a big energy-eater, so if you can prepare multiple meals in it at the same time, or use the residual heat to warm up your kitchen, at least you will be using it at its most efficient. Another thing people don’t usually realise is that fridges and freezers eat up more energy if they’re empty, so always stock up if you can.
It may seem tough to adjust your daily routine to become more energy-conscious, but consider that even closing your curtains after dark could help reduce your heating bill, and would leave you more money to spend on fun things. You’d only have to remind yourself for a little while before these actions become automatic, and they don’t cost much of your personal energy either. In fact, if you’re willing to get a bit active about it, hunting down any draughts in your house and eliminating them could pay off even more, and won’t require any changes to your routine. Just make sure not to get rid of intentional ventilation openings, as your health is much more important than your heating bill!
The Citizens Advice website, one of the main partners behind Big Energy Saving Week, further shows that a dripping hot water tap can waste enough energy in a single week to fill half a bath. If you live in a part of the UK that has separate water bills, this could doubly hurt your wallet, so make sure to get your leaky faucets fixed when/if you can.
Time to switch?
Another way to reduce your energy bills is by switching tariffs or even providers, to ensure you are benefiting from the cheapest deal available. This is a big part of the message of Big Energy Saving Week – even though the electricity industry has been privatised since 1990 (and gas since 1986), there are still not enough people switching energy suppliers regularly to make the market more competitive. This would be quite advantageous, as a more competitive market means lower prices for all.
If you’re not sure where to start, take advantage of events taking place all across the country this week to get your energy bill checked and grab some energy-saving freebees. Even if there’s no event near you, there are ways to check your energy bill online and see what you could save by switching. Or use a comparison tool to see what rates are available that you’re potentially missing out on.
You don’t even need to wait until just before your current deal expires to sign up to a new one. In fact, as it can take more than two weeks before the switch goes through, the earlier you start looking, the better, and if you’re on a fixed term tariff, you now get 42-49 days before the end of the tariff to decide if you should stay or you should go. If you’ve never switched before, this could save you up to £300!
Winter is coming
Expectations are for energy tariffs to rise soon, which means there is no better time than the present to review how much you’re spending on your energy bills. Especially as bills will soon rise regardless as we approach winter – and of course in celebration of Big Energy Saving Week – it could not hurt to review both your own habits and your supplier’s tariffs before the frost comes in.
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Note: Big Energy Saving Week is a partnership between Citizens Advice, the Energy Saving Trust and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy with the support of numerous organisations, charities and companies. Go to https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/campaigns/current_campaigns/big-energy-saving-week/big-energy-saving-week-save/ to find out more.