Millions of householders will be facing the New Year with fresh resolve, ready to take control of their household spending and escape the grip of energy poverty in 2015. There are straightforward and affordable steps we can all take to help tackle the cost of heating, running and lighting our homes, whether we’re working at our desks, sleeping through the night or watching television.
There are fundamental improvements that can be made to improve the energy performance of your home, such as an upgraded heating system, floor, loft and wall insulation, or the installation of renewable energy sources, like solar panels. In this case you might want to consider arranging a home energy audit or looking into the possibility of a whole house energy makeover. The EnergySavingTrust has produced a useful infographic to help you see if you could be saving money.
Don’t rely on standby
It’s worth the effort to switch down and unplug non-essential households gadgets before you leave the house or go to sleep. The same can be said for turning off unnecessary lights, even briefly, because the cumulative saving can knock up to £100 off your annual household bill.
Close all gaps
A draughty door, chimney or gappy window-frame could be letting valuable heat escape and costing you dear. There are products on the market designed to seal off unwelcome draughts, such as silicone sealant for skirting boards, chimney draught excluders and sealed fireguards. A heavy bedspread, deep pile rug and thick curtains, picked up in the sales, can help make life more cosy and stop you reaching for the central heating switch.
When you have a water meter you’ll want to waste as little water as possible and use every drop wisely. Some water companies are giving away water efficient boiler-fed showerheads to their customers, so check if you are eligible. These alternative showerheads can help reduce the quantity of water used by any average family.
Get a handle on gadgets
When you use your kitchen appliances to their full potential you can start to see savings on your energy bill, without sacrificing convenience. Your average load of washing could be washed at 30°C and save money per wash, and you’ll spend less making cups of tea if you don’t fill the kettle right up to the top.
Fresh fridge or freezer
Consider upgrading your freezer to a new, energy efficient model in the sales, as sadly the one you bought a decade ago could be costing you above the odds in energy usage. Figures suggest that one in five households could save around £40 per year by following this tip.
Some televisions are cheaper to run than others, such as energy efficient LED TVs, and the latest models that come complete with an ambient light sensor. The light sensor will automatically gauge how bright the display needs to be, saving you electricity.
Share the warmth
You can take advantage of everyday activities like cooking dining and showering to warm your home that extra notch, without reaching for the heating dial. If it’s safe for you to open your oven door wide after a batch of baking you’ll reap the reward of toasty residual heat. The same is true after a hot shower – leave the bathroom door ajar and let warm air flow into adjoining rooms.
A piping hot radiator or heater should be kept clear and never hidden behind a sofa, bed head or bookcase. To feel the full effect of your central heating when the temperature dips remember to check the layout of your home – uncovering a wasted radiator could let you turn the heating down by degrees.
Fit LED light bulbs
B&Q spokesman, Matt Sexton, told The Telegraph, that switching to LED bulbs was a sure fire way to save money during the winter, and added: “We can’t change the fact that the clocks go back, we can’t change the fact that we’ll be leaving our lights on for longer, but we can change a light bulb.” A new set of light bulbs is an easy upgrade to make and can reduce your electricity spend, as LED bulbs last longer and use up to 80 per cent less power than old-style bulbs.
Fix dripping taps
You could help stop hard-earned money going down the plughole by replacing any worn out tap washers around your home. This helps stem the flow of water lost from a dripping tap, which can mount up over time in metered households.
Soaking in the tub is priceless in theory but a short hot shower uses far less water, and only washing full loads of clothes can help save time, electricity and water. Find the space for a cheap and cheerful water butt and watering can combo, and start to cut back on the cost of tending your garden from the mains supply.
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