Friday, 4 October 2013

Cut your energy usage to save energy and money

Household bills can soon add up, particularly if your house is like an icebox when the temperature drops. However, there are a number of ways you could look to cut your energy usage and – at the same time – do your bit to help the environment. These tips could be well worth giving a go:

Make sure your boiler runs efficiently

Boilers are expensive to replace, but in the long-term can generate some decent annual savings. There are various kinds available, so be sure to speak to an expert to find the best option for you. If you’re not yet at the stage where it’s worth replacing yours, why not make the one you already have run more efficiently? This could be achieved by taking out boiler insurance with an annual service included and should make sure your house is kept warm all winter long.

Improve your insulation

It’s all very well cranking up the heating in your home, but if insulation isn’t as it should be it won’t keep your property toasty for as long as it should. You can insulate your home in various ways, but as heat rises it might be worth looking to seal off your roof first. The Energy Saving Trust suggests going from zero insulation to 270mm will cost approximately £300 to install, but give you annual savings of as much as £180. You can do this job yourself, but if your attic is difficult to access, suffers from damp or you have any other uncertainties it’s worth getting a professional in. You could also consider floor and wall insulation, as well as draught proofing if you’re keen to make maximum savings in a financial and energy using sense.

Think of your lighting

In spring and summer it’s easier to conserve energy in a number of ways, not least in terms of lighting, whether that’s for indoors or out. With more natural light it’s easy to throw the curtains wide and perhaps not need any artificial light until late in to the evening. But when the nights do draw in, you might still be able to make a reduction on your usual winter bills by using energy saving light bulbs. Although these might cost you a bit initially, depending on the size of your house, they last longer than older bulbs and can provide yearly savings of around £60.

Wrap up warm and turn down the thermostat

An easy change to make is to put on an extra layer when the temperatures drop. So wear a jumper around or wrap up in a blanket around the house rather than turning up the thermostat. A couple of degrees lower may not seem likely to make much difference to your bills, but give it a try and you might be surprised. If you think for any reason your central heating isn’t working as efficiently as it should be then consider calling in an expert to take a look at it. If you have boiler cover then check your policy, as you may be entitled to a free annual service.

Consider switching supplier

Don’t assume your current energy supplier is giving you the best deal. If you’ve been with one firm for a few years now then it’s well worth seeing what the competition has to offer. Alternatively, find out if you’re on the right tariff or consider switching how you pay. Sometimes costs can be cut by changing to a payment method such as monthly direct debits, so it could be worth having a conversation with your supplier. 

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