When it’s cold outside and the energy bills arrive, many will be surprised at how much prices have increased. However, there are ways to reduce those bills.
What Can You Do Now?
Firstly, make sure that the price you pay for gas and electricity is the best one available. It is easy to compare energy prices and to change supplier for a better deal.
Wear more clothes. It might seem obvious, but some people still insist on wearing short sleeves and have the thermostat turned up.
Turn down room thermostats. Even one degree can make a significant difference, though of course care must be taken not to have rooms at a level where people, especially babies and old people, may get cold. The recommended temperature for a living room is 211C and for a bedroom it is 188C. The temperature on the hot water boiler thermostat may also be reduced. This doesn’t need to be more than 600C.
Close the curtains before it gets dark. Letting everyone see in also helps some of the heat escape out.
Many of today’s clothes can be washed at 300C with modern detergents, which will cut down the amount of energy you use. Fill the dish washer and washing machine before using them. On the other hand, only boil the required amount of water in a kettle. There’s no need to fill the kettle for two mugs of tea, though with an electric kettle the heating element must always be covered with water.
Switch off lights. This is another obvious one, but how many houses do you pass in the dark evenings with lights on in every room?
Actions That Need Some Planning
Check that the hot water tank has sufficient insulation. Fix insulation strips round glazing in doors and windows and put a flap on the inside of the letter box. Poorly fitted windows and doors need attention if cold air is getting in and warm air escaping. If there are any single-glazed windows, then consider replacing them with double-glazed ones.
A good layer of insulation in the roof can stop a lot of heat escaping. If the loft was insulated some years ago, it may be that there is not enough to provide a good reduction in heat loss and more could be added. Where applicable, cavity wall insulation can also reduce heat loss. Insulation beneath timber floors with gaps, such as stripped floor boards, can help, especially in rooms without fitted carpets.
When replacing household appliances such as fridges, freezers and ovens, check for their energy rating and buy the more efficient ones. Also consider the efficiency of a new boiler when your old one is reaching the end of its life.
Consider fitting solar panels. These are usually fitted to a roof and work even on cloudy days. This is clearly a much bigger job, but it is possible to reduce energy bills and in some situations electricity may be sold back to the National Grid.
To keep in control of your energy prices, make sure you are on the cheapest tariff by comparing energy suppliers at MoneySupermarket.com.
Article by Stefan Mustieles
Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mjparnell/435463739/