We all know how much the cost of electricity, gas and water is increasing, yet many of us continue to consume the same amounts without counting the cost to our pocket or perhaps worse, the environment. Spending time thinking about what energy we need to use and how much we could save can make a great deal of difference to your budget each month even if you just make a few small changes.
1. Fix your energy costs
Register for a fixed gas & electricity tariff to ensure you get through the winter without any surprise fuel increases. Combination packages where both gas and electricity are supplied by the same company can also add to that saving.
2. Change your light bulbs
It’s an obvious one but replacing normal incandescent bulbs with energy saving bulbs translates into lower electricity costs. It’s amazing just how many people still use the old bulbs when they could be saving money now. Okay, so they cost a little more than normal bulbs but in some cases, they can last up to 40 times longer!
3. Invest in solar water heating panels
It doesn’t matter if you live in a country where the sun might not shine all the time, modern panels are designed to capture even the slightest of light and convert it to energy for heating hot water. The initial investment is the hardest part, but you will be immediately getting a return on that investment as soon as you turn on your tap.
4. Unplug things when you are not using them
It’s surprising how much electricity is wasted on mobile phone chargers and televisions that are not being used but are still using electricity. Get into the habit of doing this at night before you go to bed and you’ll soon start to see a reduction in your electricity bills.
5. Invest in solar electricity panels
Although a long term investment, you will see a return almost immediately by being able to reduce your electricity costs and in some cases, selling back electricity to the power companies giving you an income you can use to offset your initial investment. You could even use that income to pay for some hot water solar panels.
6. Go inclusive
Subscribe to an inclusive telephone call package where you can call for as long as you want and when you want – look at your previous bills to see what, where and how long you are calling to help identify the right package for your household.
7. Buy an energy monitor
These little gadgets attach to your electricity meter and let you see just how much electricity you are using and what it is costing you. When you start to add up the costs of leaving things plugged in!
8. Invest in a home heat exchange system
This ventilation system will collect and distribute the warm air from warmer rooms and distribute it evenly to the colder rooms and it costs practically nothing to run while distributing up to 70% of the heat generated in just one room.
9. Share an internet connection
Share the cost of your internet connection with your neighbour – most wireless systems can transmit beyond the four walls of your house and you will both get the same service for half the price.
10. Downgrade your mobile phone package
When was the last time you looked at your mobile phone statement to see if you were using the full number of free minutes and texts? If you are paying for mobile internet connection and not using it more than a couple of times a month get rid of the extra cost now. Opting for a more flexible, monthly contract will also give you the freedom to decrease or increase each month.
11. Turn the thermostat down
Turn the heating thermostat down a couple of degrees – you will hardly notice this small change in temperature but you will notice the difference in the amount of money you are saving!
12. Check your refrigerator
Turn the refrigerator temperature down a couple of degrees in winter and increase again in summer – most people don’t realise that their refrigerator is actually set on average 10% too high!
13. Wrap those pipes
If you find you have to run your cold water for a minute or so until it gets cold or equally, run the hot water until it runs hot, you might benefit from putting insulation around your water pipes. Most pipes run alongside each other and if you think about it, hot will make cold warm and vice-versa! Adding simple insulation to pipes will reduce the amount of water you need to run off before getting the right temperature. Equally, if you have hot water central heating and the pipes to the radiators run under floorboards, you can also insulate these to keep the hot water hotter for longer.
14. Fill up your attic and your walls
Adding loft insulation to your attic may sound expensive but it’s not and you will recover the cost over two winters. A lot of heat escapes through the roof of a house and the insulation can be completed in day! If your house has cavity walls, consider having cavity wall insulation injected into the cavities. Again, you’ll notice the difference almost immediately and your heating costs will be greatly reduced!
15. Let the breeze flow
If you are too warm in summer, open a window on one side of the house and another on the other side. Most houses will experience a nice draft of air through the house without the need for fans or expensive air conditioning.
16. Turn down/turn off individual radiators
Turn down/turn off radiators or storage heaters in rooms that are not being used all the time. Consider that in the evening when most heating systems are on, you will typically be using one room so why heat the whole house if you don’t need to? With a bit of thought, you can always turn bedroom radiators up ten minutes before going bed and down again in the morning. You might also consider buying heat reflective panels that can be placed between the radiator and the wall so that more heat is directed into the room.
17. Make use of any available heat
Why not drag out that old clothes airier and place that in front of a radiator or storage heater instead of automatically using the tumble dryer? If you alternate between this and the tumble dryer you’ll greatly reduce your electricity bill and save wear and tear on your appliances. (Do not place clothes in front of an incandescent heater or an open fire.)
18. Close internal doors
It’s amazing how much heat is lost through an open internal door and it’s even more amazing that we have stopped realising why they are there in the first place. If you want a room to heat quicker and retain that heat, keep that door shut!