Cut your gas and electric bill
1) Shop around for a new deal
The biggest way you can save money on your household bills is by switching energy tariffs. You can save an average of £206 a year by switching through our service.
2) Adopt some simple energy saving methods!
There are loads of simple things you can do to cut your energy spend, including cavity wall insulation, insulating your loft, fitting double glazing, replacing old appliances, ensuring your boiler is good shape and even getting a new telly!
The most important one is insulation. Around 40% of all heat loss is through the walls of an average UK home. Read Cut Your Energy Bills By 75%? to find out how thoroughly insulating your walls, roof, loft, water tank, pipe and floor could save you on average £501 a year.
Other tips include turning your thermostat down by one degree, turn appliances off rather than leaving them on standby, using energy saving lightbulbs, using dryerballs in your tumble dryer and unplugging chargers when not in use.
3) Get creative with cutting your energy costs
Follow these simple tricks:
- Wash your clothes in cold water.
- Defrost your freezer regularly and don't overfill your fridge (this increases efficiency)
- Vacuum the dust off your radiator coils
- Turn your microwave off at the wall (simply powering the clock can use more energy than heating your food!)
- Turn off the hob or oven several minutes before the food is cooked (there should be sufficient heat for the food to continue cooking)
- Match the saucepan size to the hob ring (otherwise, you're paying to heat the air)
- Turn your hot water thermostat down to around 60 degrees
5) Pay by direct debit
Government figures indicate that around 40% of gas and electricity customers still pay their bills by cash, cheque or debit card.
But energy companies often charge less if you pay your bills using direct debit. It’s easy to set up, and means you’ll always pay your bills on time.
In fact, by paying by direct debit, you could make a typical annual saving of £55 for gas and £46 for electricity.
Just be aware that energy companies particularly like fixed monthly direct debit payments, as they can be sure you won't default, and they earn interest on any overpayments (see point 7, below).
If you choose to pay by variable direct debit, always call your energy supplier with meter reading after a bill - don’t rely on their estimates!
6) Claim what you're entitled to
Before you shell out any money, get your hands on all the cash, grants and other benefits you’re entitled to.
If you’re over 60, you’ve got a very good chance of getting substantial financial help on this front. Younger individuals on certain benefits can also get up to £4000 to heat and insulate their homes through the Warm Front Scheme in England, and equivalent projects in the rest of the UK.
Search for grants and offers at the Energy Saving Trust website.
7) Get your own money back
The next step is to find out if your energy supplier has its paws on any cash that is rightfully yours.
In a nutshell, this happens when your provider charges you for a lot more energy than you actually use - many of us are currently £200+ in credit!
So what are you waiting for? Write to your energy supplier today to complain and demand your money back!
8) Stop those drafts!
Research suggests that around 20% of the heat in an average home is lost through ventilation and draughts. Follow these steps and eliminate the chills!
Fill those gaps: Install draught-excluding brushes in letterboxes, and insulation seal around badly fitting windows and doors.
Stop heat escaping up the chimney: If you never use your fireplace, block up the opening with newspaper or a sheet of cardboard to stop chilly air coming in and warm air leaving!
9) Make your radiators work for you
Don’t keep all the heating off and make yourself ill. Instead, target the energy you do use so it heats the space - and you - in the most effective way possible:
Don’t cover your radiators: Wet clothes on your radiators prevent the heat reaching the rest of the room (and leads to some really crispy clothes, I recently discovered).
Air them on a clothes horse in an unheated room instead. And make sure your radiators aren’t languishing behind sofas - or under curtains - which suck up all the heat!
Bleed your radiators regularly: This releases any air trapped inside them and improves their efficiency. By making your radiators more efficient, you should find you can reduce the amount of radiators that you have on.
To bleed the radiator, turn off your heating and let the radiators cool. Then put your ‘bleed key’ into the valve at the top of the radiator and turn it to release the air. Be warned, a little water may escape once the air is released so you might want to have a cloth or towel to hand.
Reflect the heat: Put foil behind your radiators (you can get specially-designed radiator foil for around £14). This will reflect the heat back into the room, rather than letting it get absorbed into the wall.
Add thermostatic valves to all your radiators: And only turn them on in the room/s you’re in (make sure you keep all the doors closed!).
Use an electronic heating timer: And make sure you know how it works!
10) Layer up!
Dress warmly indoors and you could turn your thermostat down by a couple of degrees, save a packet and still be comfortable.
Lots of layers are far more effective at keeping you warm than one enormous jumper.