Lifestyle

Combating high energy bills

There has been a lot to worry about in the world lately. With pandemics and wars, we mostly wish we could avoid the news. One of the consequences of these world events has made it into our home in the shape of the rising living cost crisis. Petrol costs are higher, as are food and clothing prices. The money we earn to keep our children and ourselves happy and healthy is not stretching as far as it once did.

One obvious area of concern is our energy costs. Gas and electricity prices have shot up over the last year and look set to remain high. You may decide to get financial help or contact your supplier to discuss a more affordable payment plan. You may have also compared your deal online to find out if you can save money with a different supplier or tariff.

As well as those, here we provide some practical tips for reducing your energy needs and controlling the rising costs of your energy.

Getting the household into good habits

One of the more obvious but most challenging solutions is encouraging thoughtful use of energy in the home. Setting routines with children and partners can ensure that no gas or electricity is used that doesn’t need to be. For instance, getting into the habit of switching off lights when leaving a room or charging your phone before bed rather than overnight. Turning off items such as televisions and monitors so they don’t stay on standby and taking shorter showers rather than long, hot soaks.

On their own, these activities will do little to reduce your energy bills. However, when you add together these efforts, you will see some impact on your bills. Keeping the family on board will be difficult, so you might want to treat it as an experiment. The tangible evidence of money saved will act as a prompt for even more energy-saving behaviours.

Beware phantom energy suckers

Little do most people know that 20% of our energy bills are generally thought to be a consequence of items plugged in but not being used. Many household appliances continue to draw energy even when you think they are switched off. Your toaster, for instance, uses almost as much energy while plugged in, not toasting, as when it is making your breakfast.

Going around the home and flicking the switch off at the wall on these appliances can reduce your energy supply. If this seems like a hassle, you can always buy smart sockets that help you control the energy supply from your smartphone or with a timer.

Turn the boiler down a degree

For each degree we turn our thermostat down, we save approximately £80 a year on our energy costs. Most of us set our thermostat at 21 degrees and would barely know the difference if this was 20. Equally, encouraging the wearing of jumpers means you could go even lower than this and really make an in-road into your annual energy costs.

Controlling the temperature in your home is made easier with a smart thermostat. You can more accurately set the temperature with the digital display and set different temperatures in different parts of your home. More importantly, you can switch your heating on when you are 30 minutes from home, which reduces the chances of your radiators working while nobody is home to benefit.

Change to LED bulbs

What is clear is that there is no single silver bullet to reducing energy costs. Lots of small choices will add up to the savings you need. There is no better example of this than LED bulbs over traditional bulbs. While each bulb will save you about a tenner a year, you only need to count the number of bulbs in your home to see how this can add up to a significant saving.

You may look at the cost of LED bulbs and feel that any savings will be countered by how expensive they are. However, an LED bulb lasts three times longer than a traditional bulb but is generally only twice as expensive. Consequently, you will be saving more money over time when choosing an LED bulb.

Small but mighty

When you go around your home and make small changes, the dial is unlikely to move much on your energy use. However, if you make every effort to do each of these behaviours, you can make a significant saving on your annual energy bills.

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