With some energy companies pushing up prices by nearly a fifth, it’s becoming ever more important to save money on your energy bills. But is it easier said than done?
These days you have to think twice before switching on the oven or firing up the hot water boiler – unless you really do have money to burn.
The fact is that the days of cheap electricity and gas really are long gone and it’s little wonder that more of us are sinking into fuel poverty.
With so many facing money worries in 2013 and with so many pressures on our household finances, from high petrol and grocery prices to rising inflation, it’s more important than ever to spend less on your energy bills.
It’s not easy, but it can be done. These are our top six tips to help you slash your spending on gas and electricity.
1. Turn equipment off
Did you know that leaving a DVD recorder on standby mode can cost you over £15 per year? And although most new equipment uses far less electricity in standby mode, it’s still wasting energy you don’t need – so hit the ‘off’ button.
Likewise, if you’re using power you don’t need – switch it off. Get into the habit of turning off lights when you don’t need them, and if you’re not really paying attention to the TV or radio, pull the plug. Phone and other gadget chargers eat electricity too, so don’t leave them in sockets when you’re not using them.
Simple changes like these can add up – and save you pounds off you energy bill every year.
2. Only use what you need
When energy was cheap, many of us got into the habit of using more than we really needed.
That means you may be able to make major savings by changing the way you use energy.
For example, only boil the water you need in your kettle, wash full loads in your washing machine and don’t turn on the dishwasher until there’s no space left in it. Making sure your appliances are in good order is also a money saver – so keep the fridge defrosted and descale the kettle regularly.
3. Buy energy efficient appliances
Some of your older appliances could be very expensive to run, so when it’s time to replace them be sure to buy new ones with high energy efficiency ratings.
These days, all energy appliances come with an energy efficiency rating, with A (or A++) being the most efficient and G being the least.
According to Which?, an A++ rated fridge freezer costs less than £15.80 to run for a year while a G rated alternative could cost almost £70 – a saving of over £50 annually.
4. Generate your own electricity
If you invest in solar power, it can not only save money on your electricity bills but help you cut your carbon emissions.
The only drawback is relatively high set-up costs, but if you qualify for the Feed-in Tariff scheme, you could also make an income from the solar energy you generate (as much as £25,000 over 25 years).
Another option is to generate power from a domestic wind turbine – but your house will need to be in a relatively windy area for it to be worthwhile. Do your research thoroughly before deciding on this option.
5. Turn the heating down a degree or two
A one degree decrease on your room thermostat can save pounds on your heating bill. So if you’ve got used to room temperatures of over 20 degrees, try dropping them to 18 or 19. And if that’s too cold for you, just wear an extra layer when you’re padding around your home.
6. Compare energy online – and switch to the cheapest tariffs
The quickest way to make a saving on your energy bill is to find the cheapest energy prices.
Use a price comparison site like Moneysupermarket.com or uSwitch.com to find the best tariffs for energy online, either from your own supplier or a new one.
You’ll normally find that the way to make the biggest savings is to take out a dual fuel deal, pay by direct debit and choose an internet tariff – one that gets rid of paper bills.
However, be careful – dual fuel deals aren’t always the cheapest, and you may be able to make better savings on your energy bill by choosing separate suppliers for gas and electricity. It will all depend on your particular needs.
With a few simple changes, it’s possible to make big savings on your energy bills. If you have other ideas that have worked for you, be sure to share them in the comments section below.