Over the last few months, the headlines have been full of horror stories about surging energy costs. And, even though there was some relief when Liz Truss capped prices, we will all still see a substantial rise in our bills. To give you an idea of the scale of the increase, last year, the average energy bill was capped at £1,277. It is now more-or-less double that at £2,500. Whether it’s your own home or a rental property (especially ones with bills included), we thought it might be a good time to give you some tips on how you can reduce your bills.
- Up to a quarter of your home’s heat escapes through the roof, so one of the first things you should do is make sure your loft is properly insulated. Even if you already have some form of insulation, it may not be enough. The recommended depth for mineral wool is 270mm. Installing it will cost around £300 for the average home (there are some grants available for those on low incomes). It typically saves approximately £350/year on current prices.
- Turning the heating down by just a few degrees can also make a big difference. If you reduce it from the average 20° down to 19°, you may not even notice the difference. Every degree is worth approximately £130/year. While you’re at it, make sure your hot water is set at 60º C or 140º F. If it’s not, you could be wasting money.
- Lights account for 19% of your electricity bill. If you replace all your standard bulbs with energy-saving LED ones, you’ll save around £120/year.
- Something else that’s quick and easy to do is to fit draught excluders in those gaps around doors and windows, especially where sash windows join. And, since around 14% of air escapes via the chimney, it is also worth sealing up any unused fireplaces. Savings - appx. £150/ year.
- Try taking a shower rather than a bath, as it uses almost 70% less hot water. If at the same time, you fit an eco-showerhead, a family of four will save about £150/year. And, if you have a water meter, you will save on your water bill too.
- Just turning things off rather than leaving them on standby will save you £100-£180/year.
- According to LG Electronics, "heating the water in the wash drum accounts for about 90% of the energy your machine uses." So, do your wash at lower temperatures and save £80/year.
- Some of the more expensive solutions include changing your boiler, which accounts for 79% of your fuel usage. Replacing one for a 3-bed house costs around £1,500-£2,000 but could save over £400/year if your boiler was old and inefficient.
- If you put in double or secondary glazing, it’s expensive, but could save you £330/year and eliminate some of those unpleasant draughts. The installation costs will vary wildly depending on the number of windows, their size and the materials used. An average-sized, double-glazed window will cost around £600 to buy and fit.
- Many people are also considering alternative sources of heat and energy, such as wood burners, solar panels, and/or making more use of existing fireplaces. There are though, a few things to bear in mind:
a 4KW PV system will cost around £6,000 to install and will normally save you between £180 – £480 a year. Demand for them, though, is likely to be very high at the moment.
Wood burning stoves:
The average stove costs between £900 and £1,500 and another £800 to £2,500 to install, depending on whether you have a chimney or not. You should be aware that they are subject to Building Control. Before energy prices rose, wood-burning stoves were said to be 13% cheaper than gas central heating, so they will be even better now.
Making use of existing fireplaces
: if you haven’t used them for a while, make sure you get them cleaned first, which should be done at least once a year. You also need to check if you are in a smoke Control Area
before deciding what type of wood or coal to buy.