Take action now to get your energy bills down

Winter is approaching and that means months of higher household energy consumption – and higher bills. There are many ways that homeowners can bring these bills down – even one-third less – but these big reductions will mean making an upfront investment first in things like a new boiler, cavity wall insulation, solar panels and so on. But there are some simple things that households can do to cut energy use.

Individually they may not make a great difference but collectively they will – perhaps as much as £200 per year. Heating Helpline (http://www.heatinghelpline.org.uk), the free consumer advice service operated by B&ES (the Building & Engineering Services Association), has some great energy saving tips – all costing little or nothing to do.

  • Turning your room thermostat down by just 1ºC could save over £75 a year and you will never notice the difference. And if there’s a chill in the room think twice before you crank up the thermostat – it’s then all too easy to forget it’s on the higher setting.
  • If you have an adjustable thermostat for your hot water you should set it to no hotter than 60°C (140°F). Any higher is a waste of energy and could scald; much lower and there may be a risk of harmful bacteria forming.
  • Turn down the radiators in any spare rooms; why pay for a warm space with nobody in it?
  • Use a microwave instead of your oven – they use less energy and take a fraction of the time.
  • Nearly all electrical and electronic appliances can safely be turned off at the plug without upsetting their systems – £1 billion worth of energy is wasted in the UK every year by appliances left on standby. Switching off the standby on gadgets and appliances could save you up to £80 a year on your bills.
  • Washing machines use huge amounts of energy. Some machines have low energy programmes – if you reduce the wash temperature from 40°C to 30°C it can save 40% more energy.
  • Don’t fill the kettle if you don’t need to. If we only boiled the water actually needed we’d save enough power to light every streetlamp in the country.
  • Bleed your radiators at least once a year – when hot water can flow into every part of the radiator it is much more efficient.
  • Change your shower head to one of the many water-efficient ones now available. This simple action could save a family of four around £65 a year (for water heating) and a further £95 on water bills if they have a water meter.

The Heating Helpline has a free leaflet called ‘Top Energy Saving Tips To Save You Money’ which lists other free and low cost ways you can cut your energy bills. For a free copy call the Helpline on 0800 810 8303 or you can download a copy from the Heating Helpline website at: http://www.heatinghelpline.org.uk

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