While winter continues, households are wrestling with costly energy bills that would send a shiver down anyone’s spine. It’s tempting to turn off the heating altogether, but you don’t have to resort to extreme measures to save money – taking some simple precautions, investing in some energy saving devices and looking again at your tariff can all make a difference. Here are ten simple energy saving tips to cut the cost of utility bills today.
1. It’s pointless to have the central heating blasting away when nobody is at home. Make sure your timer only switches itself on when you need it to. But always keep some heating on if you’re away from home in winter – burst pipes will be far more costly in the long run.
2. When you are in the house, turn down your thermostat one degree – keeping the temperature below 20 degrees can chop £55 off your heating bills a year. Pop on a cardigan or jumper if the temperature isn’t warm enough. Heating accounts for nearly half of all our energy costs so layer up to save a few pounds.
3. Fitting draft excluders could reduce your bills by another £20 a year. Use a candle to check for drafts.
4. Put reflector panels behind your radiators. These silver sheets radiate heat back into your rooms and could shave 20% off your bills a year.
5. If you love a hot bath, make it a weekly, not daily, treat – and a five-minute shower would save you up to £20 a year on bills. Splash out on an energy-efficient showerhead – these are cheap to buy, yet save you around £75 a year.
6. Don’t be at the mercy of your energy company. Compare your new and old bills to see if you might be overpaying and are entitled to a refund.
7. Make sure you sign up for direct debit, as it’s always cheaper – likewise, some low-cost tariffs only do online billing, which cuts out the cost of paper bills.
8. Check out whether you’re on a fixed deal – if not, chances are your bill has crept up without you even noticing.
9. Compare tariffs – the difference between the most expensive and cheapest deals could be hundreds of pounds. Comparison sites ask for your postcode to reveal a summary of the best deals in your area, but you’ll need your old bills and your real usage to narrow down your search.
10. If you want a simpler life, try a switching service like Incahoot. You simply send them your last bill, and they’ll search the market for a better deal, and arrange it all for you.