Until April 2023, energy bills are expected to be in the region of £2,500 a year for the average British household. Unfortunately, this is not a cap – despite it being reported as such in the media. Although switching to a cheaper tariff is not an option right now, all is not lost. There are other ways to lower your bills, like reducing the amount of energy you use.
Energy Buddies is a free and impartial service for all Southway tenants. If you’re struggling to afford your energy bills, our Energy Buddies are here to help. For this edition of Southway Stories, they’ve put their heads together to provide you with a no-nonsense list of energy-saving tips to help you reduce your bills. Best of all, most of these tips won’t cost you a penny!
Turn off lights and radiators in rooms you’re not using
Lighting makes up 11% of the average UK household’s electricity use, so turning off lights in rooms you aren’t using is a good idea. Similarly, you’ll save money by turning off the radiators in unused rooms and by closing all your internal doors. This will keep the heat in the rooms you are using.
Turn off electrical appliances at the plug
Appliances that use energy even when they’re turned off can account for up to 20% of your monthly electricity bill. Some devices have an obvious standby mode, like a games console or TV, but there are less obvious devices that drain electricity without you knowing, like microwaves and coffee machines. The solution? Turn things off at the plug when you’re not using them. Just be sure not to turn off your fridge freezer!
Turn down your thermostat
Turning down your thermostat by just 1°C can cut your energy bills straight away and you might not even feel the difference. In fact, the average UK household sets its thermostat to 20°C, a degree higher than the Committee on Climate Change recommends. If you turn down your thermostat, you could save money while doing your bit for the planet... win-win!
Turn down your hot water temperature
If you find yourself adding cold water when you’re washing your hands, your hot water temperature is probably set too high. We recommend turning down your hot water temperature to 60°C, which should be hot enough for all home uses and hot enough to prevent bacteria from multiplying.
Wash your clothes at a lower temperature
Washing clothes on a colder wash saves energy and can reduce your energy bills. You could save an average of 57% on running costs when you wash at 30°C. Modern washing powder is designed to work well at low temperatures, so it can also protect your clothes from the stress of hot water, making them last longer
Draught-proof your home
Draught-proofing your doors and windows is a quick way to reduce your energy bills. All sorts of shops sell draught excluders, or you could even make your own from old clothes. Don’t seal your kitchen and bathroom windows though, as this will increase the risk of damp. Instead, use a draught excluder on the inner doors of these rooms, so the warm air from the rest of the house can’t escape.
Don’t forget, if you have trickle vents at the top of your windows, you will still need to keep these
open to prevent condensation and damp.
Close your curtains or blinds
Drawing your curtains in the early evening can reduce heat loss by up to 17%, or 15% if you have blinds. We can’t recommend this one enough, simply because of how easy it is to do, especially in winter when it gets dark earlier.
Never overfill your kettle
If you love a good brew, don’t overfill your kettle. Only use as much water as you need for each
mug. More water means more energy and time to boil. Even if you drink a lot, it’s still more efficient to boil just what you need for each brew.
Replace old lightbulbs with LEDs
LED lights consume 80-90% less energy than olderstyle incandescent or halogen bulbs. They also last up to 100,000 hours, compared with 3,000 hours for an incandescent and 2,000 hours for a halogen. LEDs are typically much brighter than older-style bulbs, meaning your house will feel lighter and more spacious too.
Don’t block your radiators
If there is anything in front of a radiator, including furniture or curtains, it simply won’t be able
to distribute heat appropriately throughout the room. Try reorganising the layout of each room to stop this from happening. Don’t forget, the Energy Buddies understand that every household has its own particular needs, and they can work with you to make yours more energy efficient.
Bleed your radiators
Radiators that need bleeding have air bubbles trapped inside them which prevents warm water from circulating. Bleeding your radiators could help you save money by making them more efficient.
There are a few ways to tell if your radiators need bleeding – they may take longer than usual to heat, have cold patches at the top but be warm at the bottom, or they may make a gurgling noise.
If you’re feeling confident, try our step-bystep guide to bleeding your radiators:
Tools you’ll need
- A radiator valve key or a flathead screwdriver
- An old rag to soak up any escaping wate
Steps you’ll need to take
- Turn off your central heating system and ensure your radiators have cooled
- Start with the radiator furthest away from your boiler if you’re bleeding more than one
- Insert the radiator key into the bleed valve and place a rag underneath to soak up any water
- Turn the key anti-clockwise until you hear hissing and close it when water starts leaking
- Tighten the valve by turning the key clockwise and repeat these steps on other radiators which may need bleeding