If you think your energy bills are getting higher, your suspicions may be right. Across the United Kingdom, energy costs have been increasing, and according to The Guardian, are expected to keep getting higher throughout 2017.
The reasons behind these costs increases might be hotly debated, but for the consumer, one thing is clear. Now is the time to make a difference in your house to lower your energy bill. Without a deliberate effort to change how energy is consumed in your household, you might be left strapped for cash.
With this inevitable pressure on your budget and your wallet, it is important to take a proactive stance against energy use in the household. By following these tips, all of which cost less than £250, you can make a massive impact on your annual energy bills.
#1 Audit Your Home’s Energy Use
Before you begin, get an idea of where your home stands at this point in terms of energy use and energy waste. By drawing the line now, you will able to quickly and efficiently analyse just how much money you are saving (and what efforts have worked best for you and your family) as time passes. You can choose to pay a fee for a professional to come in and audit every aspect of your house, but if you are short on money this isn’t your only option. A do it yourself energy audit will save you money, and give you a clear bottom line from which you can move forward to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
A properly conducted audit should survey the structure of your house, along with insulation, appliances, and even your family’s daily life habits. The process includes four major steps, in which every number should be recorded along the way. First, identify air leaks that might be sneaking hot or cold air out of your house. This can be done by closing all the windows, doors, and vents, then walking around the house with a lit incense stick. If the smoke wavers, or is blown in a certain direction, mark this area down as a leak. Second, insulation levels should be check in your ceiling and walls. If these are below the recommended minimum levels, it can have a major effect on your energy usage. Next, take a close look at one of the worst culprits for losing your energy – the windows in your house. The last step is to ascertain what appliances in your house are sucking energy whether or not they are being used; this includes items such as DVD and Blu-Ray players, gaming consoles, computers and laptops, coffee makers, and even microwaves.
When you complete a do it yourself home audit, the cost is completely free.
#2 Reduce Daily Energy Consumption
There are quite a few habits that can be incorporated into your everyday life and they will drastically improve how you consume energy and reduce energy waste. These two aspects will combine to dramatically lower your energy costs, and most of them cost nothing at all. If there is a cost, the approximate amount will be listed.
First, when you turn on the heat, there is no point to turning the thermostat right up- it will ultimately waste energy as it keeps the boiler running for far longer than necessary. On the same note, always consider what light bulbs you are purchasing to plug in. Obviously, energy saving light bulbs, while more costly, will save you tons of energy and reduce bills. Be wary of halogen bulbs, as they provide both heat and light. They take far more energy than most light bulbs accordingly, and so they should only be purchased if they are truly required.
As you move from room to room, turn off lights when they are not being used, otherwise they are a flagrant waste of energy that you are still paying for. If you want to guarantee lights are off in the long run, consider purchasing motion-detector lights. These can also help improve household security. Whenever you are done with using an electronic or appliance, always do more than just turn it off. Take the next step and unplug these items, and they won’t continue to suck electricity out of the walls (and your wallet) while you aren’t using them. Finally, take advantage of nature, at night shut your curtains to keep warm air in, then leave them open during the day to allow the sun to naturally heat your rooms.
#3 Clever Kitchen Habits
We all spend time in the kitchen on a daily basis, but every human has to eat. Whether you enjoy long sessions cooking meals for a large family or a week at a time, or if you are just popping in to heat up a snack then popping back out, this room is a hub of energy consumption in every house. By taking on a few habits in here, you can drastically alter your heating costs in the long term.
First, if you must use an appliance, use the smallest appliance possible. A microwave or toaster oven heats up fast, cooks your food fast, and finishes the job faster than a conventional oven, and all of this adds up to about a 75% lower energy consumption. Behind your refrigerator, take a quick vacuum the dust off the coils about once a year, and your compressor will continue to run efficiently without being overworked. Finally, you can check the seals of your fridge door by closing a pound note in between the door and the fridge, and then trying to pull it out. If it slides out easily, then you have a problem with air escaping and should consider replacing the gaskets. This kit can be purchased from an appliance dealer at a low price.
When you are boiling water, only boil just enough for the amount you need, or you are wasting energy. On the flip side, when you cook, it saves far more energy to cook a large amount or several meals at once, and then reheat them as you are ready to eat.
# 4 Switch to the Most Energy Efficient Supplier
Switching your energy supplier has often been named by major magazines as the best way to quickly and immediately save money on your energy bills. In fact, one article states that the biggest obstacle to cheaper energy costs is that not enough people are choosing to switch providers. This option should be considered no matter what your energy status may be, since it is easy to look into and could save you hundreds of dollars over a year.
If you think this could be the option for you, get a new quote right away at My Energy. If you are worried about penalties due to leaving a contract early, just do some research into the best time to switch. No matter what your situation, there are benefits that can lower your bills even from just considering a switch, which makes this a win-win situation.
# 5 Outdoor Habits
Going outside and making a few concerted efforts around the yard can cost almost nothing while making a massive difference in your heating bill over time. If you enjoy having a sauna or hot tub, always keep a covering over it if not being used to conserve energy. Pools, for the homes with the luxury of having them, have the added benefit of using a covering which captures the sun’s energy, which takes advantage of the sun’s warmth to keep the pool’s water warm without using electricity.
Your garage door should always be kept closed, or this will result in massive amounts of heat lost from inside your house, which you are ultimately paying for. There is no need to heat the outdoors, after all. If you are looking to purchase a new lawnmower, getting a version which is electric can cost about a few pence cheaper per use and lower emissions, and may be cheaper in the long run.
# 6 Smart Appliance & Furniture Use
Your appliances and furniture in your house can be used advantageously without any further purchases to increase energy efficiency, and these simple steps will walk you through how to do so.
When doing laundry only do full loads of clothes, and never set it to more water than necessary. Only use hot water if absolutely necessary (i.e. the clothes are extremely dirty), and cold water should be used exclusively for the rinse cycle. This helps because heating up water costs a lot in energy. Last, try to avoid the dryer completely when possible, and hang clothes out whenever you can. The dryers have massive motors that lead to them being extremely expensive to use.
Around the house, place any humidifiers and dehumidifiers far away from any large furniture or walls, and they will function better – thus drawing less energy. In addition, these units (and others that include a flow of air) should be cleaned often to increase efficiency. If you are concerned about a lack of insulation in the side walls, you can always place your largest and heaviest furniture against these walls, which will help to block out cold air. Finally, if any appliances are aging, they may be costing you more than you think in terms of energy use, even if they still work, especially water heaters or refrigerators.
# 7 Increase House Efficiency
There are small purchases around the house that can make long lasting effects on your heating costs. First, replace or deep clean your furnace filters every month or two to keep your heater working at full efficiency. These cost less than £10 online. Also, if you have this heating system inspected on a regular basis (annually), at a price between £50 and £100, it can reduce heating costs by as much as five percent. Like the appliances, it is useful to take a vacuum to the registers and vents around your house, to improve air flow and reduce the furnace from overworking itself.
Finally, if you are considering going on vacation, keep your thermostat at 55 degrees, which is low enough to save energy but your pipes won’t freeze.
By following these steps, saving money on your heating bills doesn’t have to be costly. Try them out and see right away a difference in your monthly costs that may make the difference in your wallet.
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