Although we’re led to believe that an ‘Indian summer’ may be in our sights for October (here’s hoping!) there’s no doubt that the early mornings are becoming fresher and the evenings are starting to cool down as the nights begin to draw in. The reality is the cooler weather that comes with the autumn and winter seasons will soon be upon us, which then comes that feeling of trepidation around our energy bills.
Unlike shopping, eating out and holidaying, our energy bills aren’t something we’d choose to spend our hard earned cash on. For many of us, it’s a tough decision between gritting and bearing it – ‘I’ll just put a big jumper on’ or ‘I’ll sit and watch the TV with a blanket to keep me warm’ and giving in to that chilly feeling, flicking on the thermostat switch to take the edge off. Regardless of which category you fall into, there’s no getting around the fact that everyone uses more energy in their homes during the cooler months – lights go on earlier and we’re more likely to opt for that nice hearty stew than a cold meat salad for dinner.
So it’s important for all of us to not only to be more energy conscious but inevitably, as we will spend money on our energy, pay out as little as possible. Some of the things we can do are just subtle conscious changes to our everyday lives, but also ensuring we get the best deal on our energy means we’re not forking out any more than we have to.
Here are some helpful energy saving tips:
1. When you do decide to pop your heating on – turning the thermostat down by just 1 degree can save you between £70 – £150 a year
2. Keep your curtains open during the day to let the natural light in which contributes to heating your home but ensure you close your curtains when it gets dark – this could help reduce the amount of heat lost through your windows (even if they’re double glazed)
3. Seal off any windows and doors with draughts – naturally, you always get a bit of a draft near outside doors but you can buy draught excluders to prop up against a door edge (no DIY necessary)
4. Shut all your doors especially if there are rooms in your home that you don’t use very often – this helps keep all the heat in the rooms and saves your heating having to work harder by heating the whole house
5. Air-dry your laundry rather than tumble drying it – not always an easy option when you need something to wear now! But if you’ve got your heating on then you may as well use it to help dry your washing – radiator airers give you the ability to dry more than one item at a time
6. When you’re cooking, use the right ring for the size of the pan you’re cooking with – using a big ring to cook a dish in a small pan wastes a lot of energy as does using a small ring for a bigger pan because you’re more likely to be heating the bigger pan for longer
7. The microwave is the most energy efficient way of cooking and in many cases you can microwave items of food instead of boiling – cook things like soup or pre-packed vegetables – they’re usually better in the microwave because they’re steamed rather than boiled which retains the goodness and it uses less energy to cook them!
8. When you’ve used the oven to cook, leave the door open and let the heat out to help heat up your kitchen
9. Your home may qualify for free government backed energy saving schemes such as cavity wall insulation which could save you around £98 a year and loft insulation which could save you an average of £128 a year – even older properties that already have insulation may not have the recommended levels especially if it was installed in the 1970s or 1980s.
10. Compare gas and electricity prices – get in there early before price hikes and choose the best deal to save you money. What’s more, some energy providers give you a discount if you pay via direct debit which can also help you manage your energy bills better and save you from an unexpected, rather large quarterly bill.
Choosing the right energy provider for your home can be confusing but by using our impartial postcode tool, you can compare all providers and get the best deal for your gas and electricity.