Energy saving tips
Keeping an eye on your bills
- Energy suppliers often have a range of reduced tariffs and must tell you if there's a cheaper plan on your bill and annual statement.
- Your bill might be based on estimate readings. Check your bill against your meter and if the readings are different ask for an amended bill.
- Consider switching suppliers. The freephone Energy Helpline - 0800 074 0745 - compares all major suppliers in the UK to help you find the best deal.
- Make sure you check any scheme you sign up to doesn't lock you in for a long time or incur penalties for leaving.
- Energy monitors tell you how much gas and electricity you use. Some suppliers offer free monitors when you sign up, or you can buy them for around £20-50.
Tips to save on heating and fuel costs
- Turning down your thermostat by just 1°C can cut your fuel bills by up to 10 per cent, saving you about £70 a year.
- Set the heating to come on 15-30 minutes before you need it and to go off 30 minutes before you leave the house.
- Turn radiators off in rooms you're not using, keep furniture away from radiators and use radiator panels to reflect heat back into the room.
- Use draft excluders and draft proofing tape around windows, doors, letter boxes and keyholes. You could save £50 a year just by draft proofing.
- Zipping up your hot water cylinder with a 75mm lagging jacket could save you £35 per year but cost just £10.
- Shutting the curtains will stop heat escaping through your windows and doors after dark, but don't pull them over radiators or you'll lose heat.
Tips to save on water costs
- Water meters let you pay for your water in advance. Visit the Citizens Advice page on water meters to find out if a water meter could help you.
- You are entitled to a free water meter installation from your water company, providing it isn't impractical or unreasonably expensive.
- If you have a shower, encourage your family to shower rather than have a bath; a five minute shower uses about 30 per cent less water.
- Take a close look at your cylinder thermostat - there's no need for it to be set higher than 60°C/140°F.
Tips to save on electricity and appliance costs
- By switching off lights in empty rooms and corridors, you can save up to 15 per cent on your bill.
- Keep a lid on your cooking. Use just enough water to cover food, or use a steamer. Boil cooking water in the kettle not the saucepan.
- Cooking smaller pieces of food is quicker and cheaper.
- Washing at 30°C uses 40 per cent less electricity than higher temperatures. Try as much as you can to wash at 30°C and to wash full loads.
- Next time you replace an appliance, look for cheaper, more efficient 'A' rated devices. Appliances account for about 47 per cent of energy bills.
- Appliances can use energy when on standby, so get into the habit of turning them off. An average household can save £30-£40 a year just by doing this.
Get involved...it's a family affair
Get the whole family involved in thinking about ways to save energy; they'll become very energy conscious and may well think of something we haven't.