If you’re responsible for paying the utilities bills, you’ll know just how much it costs to keep the whole show on the road every month! Central heating, appliances, lighting, running washing machines and hosepipes….a modern lifestyle may be geared to convenience, but it comes at a cost. We’ve put together five ‘quick win’ tips to help you trim your energy and utilities bills – and you’ll be doing your bit for the environment as well as your pocket.
1. Standdown on standby
Leaving electrical items such as laptops and TVs on permanent standby could be adding pounds to your electricity bill. Yes, it’s convenient not to have to wait for items to power up when you need them, but you’re generally only waiting a few seconds. It’s also usually better for the items themselves not to be switched on permanently, and will help preserve battery life.
Do check instruction manuals first though, as some smart TVs or digital recorders may have to stay powered up to keep track of programming requests.
In the UK, we tend to think that water isn’t something we’re short of! It is worth keeping an eye on the amount you use in the house though, as you can make savings on your water bills. When you’re washing up, put the plug in the sink rather than keeping the tap running. Turn the tap off while you’re cleaning your teeth as well.
Taking a shower is much more energy efficient than running a bath, so save those long soaks for the weekend. If you’re making a cup of tea just for yourself, only put the right amount of water in the kettle and save energy on heating water you don’t need. When you run the washing machine, wait until you’ve got enough laundry to make up the maximum load.
3. Mind the gap
If you live in an older property, the outdoors always finds its way in somehow! Whether it’s draughts under windows and doors or tiled floors that suck the heat out, period properties are unfortunately not the most energy efficient. It may not be practical for you to add double glazing or professional insulation, but there’s plenty you can do as a DIYer.
Use draught excluders against all the doors and inside the front and back doors. Keep internal doors closed, as cold air will generally come up from the hallway. Heavy curtains can help stop window draughts, and lots of rugs on floors will help keep in heat.
4. Heat it up
One of the biggest components in an energy bill is heating, which generally accounts for about half the spend. If you don’t have one already, installing a thermostat can save around £100 to £200 a year. Just turning your heating down one degree can make a big impact on your bill!
Put heating and hot water on a timer, so you’re not heating the house while you’re out. If you have rooms that are seldom used, such as spare rooms, turn the radiators right down.
5. Make light of bills
Changing to energy-saving lightbulbs throughout the house will knock up to £30 or so off your annual bill. Just as important, though, get all the family into the habit of turning off the light as soon as they leave the room! Leaving lights blazing can add pounds to your bill, and even if you’re only leaving the room for a few minutes to brew up before Peaky Blinders, it’s still worth flicking the switch to off. You’ll still save more than the amount of energy it will take the bulb to heat up again when it’s turned on, so it’s still a win for your annual bill.
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