The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to a significant increase in the cost of petrol, food and energy prices all throughout Europe over the last few months. The UK is no different, with the country experiencing its most significant cost of living crisis since the 1950s.
With Winter on the horizon, many of us are looking for ways to cut our energy consumption down in any way possible in an attempt to reduce the size of our bills. Here at Shiply, we thought we would put together a list of some of the best methods to reduce your energy bills and help you save money this Winter. We have tried to only include tips which don’t require a big investment as this slightly defeats the point of saving money!
Here are Shiply’s best energy-saving tips:
Turn Off Unused Appliances Including Standby
Let’s start with one of the most obvious tips – turn off unused electronics! More specifically, make sure they are actually turned off at the plug when not in use. TVs, TV boxes, speakers and computers all default to a standby mode when you turn them ‘off’, however, this mode is effectively a super low power mode, and these devices will still use small amounts of electricity when in this state. Turning them off at the plug, or even just unplugging them, avoids this issue. Additionally, phone and laptop chargers left plugged in when not in use can also sap small amounts of electricity and so you should do your best to unplug these when not using them too.
The savings from each of these will be small, but collectively, they can make a dent in your upcoming energy bill.
Moving on from the ‘turn things off’ advice is the ‘turn things down’ advice. Simple! Whether it is your overall thermostat, shower temperature, or washing machine settings, using a lower temperature can accumulate to a decent saving over a year. Turn your washing machine to the 30 degrees setting and use a drying rack instead of a tumble dryer for extra savings! With thermostats, even a 1-degree reduction can result in big savings and so it is worth reconsidering the temperature you heat your house to when you do turn it on. Draught-proofing (more on this later) can offset heat loss and you may not even notice the change.
Only running things when they are full is another great way to reduce your energy consumption. For example, always ensure your washing machine and dishwasher are actually full before you turn them on. This reduces unnecessary cycles and ensures you are using them to their maximum efficiency. In contrast, only filling your kettle with the amount of water you actually need heated can shave off a few pounds in the long run as well.
Cut Down On Water Waste
Water waste is a big contributor to bills, especially water that has been heated up, as you will be using energy to do this. As such, cutting down on the rate at which you waste hot water can have a significant impact on your energy bills. Shorter showers at lower temperatures will help push you in this direction, however, there are a few more steps you can take to reduce water waste. One big one is not taking baths – they use up significantly more water than showers and keeping them few and far between will help keep your usage down. Another handy one is when washing the dishes, use a bowl of hot water rather than a constantly running tap.
As the days get darker, light is not something we want to sacrifice in our homes. However, there are still ways to keep your bills down without living in darkness. Energy-saving lightbulbs are an absolute no-brainer – they use less energy than conventional lightbulbs, as well as lasting for much longer. We do still absolutely recommend turning lights off in rooms not in use, however.
Now, this is a big one at the moment. The first benefit of smart meters right now is that they will help to give more accurate readings to your energy supplier of how much energy you are actually using. This can lead to bills that are much lower and closer to your actual usage as opposed to estimates which can often be sky high.
The benefits of a smart meter stretch much further than just readings – they are actually able to control almost all aspects of your central heating, from overall temperature (obviously) to individual room control and even automatic on and off times. The best thing about smart meters is that this is all accessible and controllable from your mobile phone, meaning not only can you pre-heat your house before you arrive, but you can also remotely turn the heating off to save money. The more control you have over your central heating, the more control you have over your energy bill.
There is no point in heating your house if the heat simply escapes, and this is where draft-proofing can come in handy to help save you money on your energy bills. If the heat stays in the house, you will be able to not only use lower temperatures on your thermostat but also use it for less time overall.
There are kits you can buy to help draft your house, which includes window and skirting board strips. Sealing cracks in floors can also help, as well as lining your letterbox and ensuring that any unused chimneys in your property are blocked (inflatable pillows are available for this last one). All of these, if left as they are, will leak heat out of your home and so we highly recommend draught-proofing to ensure you are getting maximum efficiency and value out of your heating.
Question Your Bills
The final piece of advice we have isn’t so much proactive as reactive, but it is still incredibly important that people know about it.
QUESTION YOUR BILLS!
As we stated earlier, a lot of energy bills are estimates, and these tend to be much higher than the actual figures you owe. Rather than just paying the bill, send a meter reading to your energy supplier and request another quote. This will almost always be lower than their initial estimates and can save you hundreds with just a simple check.
If you are really struggling with your bills, you can also reach out to your supplier and ask for a payment plan which can stretch the costs over a longer period of time, meaning big bills don’t hurt quite as much.
We hope these tips will help you throughout this cost of living crisis, and as always, if you need anything moved, try Shiply!