Home energy saving tips for lower bills
With energy bills on the rise, many of us have become more conscious of our usage and what steps we can take to consume as little energy as possible.
According to the National Energy Foundation, the average UK household could save up to £300 a year on their energy bills by making some changes to their daily habits.
We’ve compiled a list of ways you can lower your energy consumption and save money on your gas and electricity bills.
How to reduce your gas bill
Try and keep the heat in
Draught-proof windows and doors
Draught-proofing is particularly important in older homes, as sometimes they are not as well insulated around the windows and doors. . However, even newer homes can benefit from draught-proofing. A draught-free home not only reduces wasted heat-energy, but it may also mean that you can heat your home to a lower temperature, helping to further save money on energy bills. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that draught proofing your home can also help reduce the carbon emissions of your home by 220kg.
Weatherstripping is a great way to help seal doors and windows, and is a relatively low-cost and easy to install solution, making it an effective option when looking to eliminate draughts from your home. Using weatherstripping around your doors and windows creates a seal around the frames, helping to not only keep heat in, but also preventing cold air from entering your home.
There are different types of weatherstripping tape available for certain areas of the home with the most common being tension seal, felt, reinforced foam and tape. Make sure to choose a material that is best suited for the problem area and when applying, make sure the area is clean and dry as it won’t stick. Installing draught excluders around windows and doors is the best place to start as this gives you the option to let in fresh air when needed.
Other places to look for draughts include chimneys, loft hatches and unsealed skirting boards.
Thermal curtains and blinds
Curtains made from heavier fabrics and blinds with thermal properties can provide an additional layer of insulation that not only helps to keep heat inside your home over the winter months, but can also improve your home’s efficiency.
Your home can often lose heat through conduction, meaning that the warm air within your home will seek out and transfer to the cold air outside, typically through your doors and windows (as these are better conductors). However, adding an extra barrier between the two can help to slow this process, reducing the amount of heat that escapes through your windows and doors.
Curtain fabrics typically make good insulators, and by opting for heavier and thicker materials, more heat will remain in your home, making it warmer in the cooler months and reducing heat transfer over time. This reduced heat loss will also help you to save energy and improve your home’s overall efficiency.
Whilst thick, lined, and heavy curtains are typically the best for trapping heat, there are also specialist curtains available known as thermal curtains. These feature multiple layers of fabric and a layer of acrylic foam to provide additional insulation in comparison to a standard curtain.
Upgrade your home’s insulation
If you’re looking for a more permanent solution to keep the heat in, upgrading your home’s insulation is more costly, but has longer lasting effects that can help save on your energy bills. Ensuring your home is well-insulated with cavity wall and loft insulation is a great way to help prevent heat from escaping using a similar approach to the use of curtains. The layer of insulating material forms an additional barrier between the internal warmth and external cool air.
External walls, roofs, and lofts are the two main areas of a house that require insulation either installing or upgrading, with around ⅓ of heat loss in an uninsulated home occurring through the walls.Homeowners can also benefit from laying insulating material underneath the floorboards and carpets.
Avoid wasting energy
Turn down your thermostat
Simply lowering the temperature of your thermostat by one degree is perhaps the easiest way to lower your energy bills.
Turning down the thermostat reduces the amount of time the boiler is running, using less energy as a result. Official government guidance estimates that reducing the temperature from 19°C to 18°C can reduce heating bills by up to 13%.
Turn individual radiators off
If there are rooms in the house that you don't use very often, if possible, it could be worthwhile turning down or off the radiators in these rooms. This can usually be done by manually adjusting the valve at the bottom of the radiator. Homes with Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) or Smart TRVs will usually be able to do this either via the valves, remote, or mobile app depending on their system set-up.By only heating the rooms you use more frequently, the central heating system doesn’t have to work as hard, meaning that every radiator you turn off effectively results in less work for your boiler to do, which can have a significant impact on lowering your overall gas consumption. Meanwhile, the rooms you do use more often, such as the living room and bedrooms can then be kept at a comfortable temperature helping keep you warm whilst you’re consuming less energy.
Make sure to check your radiators can be turned down individually as with older style radiators, this isn’t always possible.
Programme your central heating
Similarly to the way in which turning off individual radiators can help you take control of your energy usage to reduce bills, another way to control your home’s heating is by using a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats can automatically adjust your boiler to meet your needs, turning on before you wake up or arrive home, so that the heating is only on when you need it, ensuring that you’re not wasting energy.
Glow-worm’s Climapro₂ RF control is a wireless programmable room thermostat that uses eBUS technology to communicate with your boiler to manage heating in the most efficient way possible, further helping to reduce energy wastage.
Install a smart thermostat
As smart thermostats can be controlled remotely via mobile app, it’s incredibly easy to manage your home’s temperature in the most efficient way possible and to change your heating schedule to match any change in your daily plans. This means that you can always avoid heating an empty home.
Smart thermostats have additional features over traditional thermostats giving you more control over the temperature of your home, and therefore helping you to save energy. Glow-worm’s MiGo personal heating assistantis also able to automatically learn your energy needs from the moment it is installed, and uses internet weather compensation to adapt to the outside weather temperature.
Make sure your heating system is efficient
Bleed your radiators
When air accumulates in a central heating system, it prevents heat from being transferred effectively, meaning that radiators will feel cold even when the heating is on.
The process of bleeding air from the system through the radiators allows the heat to flow more freely, ensuring efficient operation.
Completing this just prior to the winter season is good practice, as it will ensure your radiators are emitting the maximum amount of heat that they’re able to. This results in rooms heating up more quickly, and the boiler doesn’t have to work as hard or be running for as long in order to reach the desired temperature. It will also keep your energy costs down as if your radiators are working efficiently, it’s likely you won’t need to have your heating on as much because your home should feel warmer for longer.
Regular maintenance is key to keeping your heating system running smoothly and efficiently. You should have your boiler serviced at least once a year, and it’s a good idea to have this completed during the summer months to ensure it’s in good working order and ready for winter when it’s needed the most.
During an annual boiler service, an engineer will clean your system, inspect it for any problems, and make any necessary repairs. Pressure and flow systems will also be adjusted to ensure efficient operation. If your Glow-worm boiler is still under guarantee, having an annual boiler service will help to keep the guarantee valid after the first year.
Upgrade your boiler
As boilers age, they can lose performance in terms of how efficiently they operate. This can have a knock-on effect on the time it takes for your radiators - and your home - to heat up, increasing the overall energy required and leading to increased running costs for homeowners. New boilers with modern technology will have higher efficiency ratings, using less fuel to produce heat. If your boiler is due an upgrade, check out Glow-worm’s range of Combi, Regularand System boilers to see which would be best suited for your home or contact your local Glow-worm installer to discuss your options.
Though there is a higher upfront cost involved in replacing a boiler, upgrading to a newer, more efficient model will result in lower heating bills for years to come.
Ways to save on electricity bills
Avoid wasting electricity
Don't leave items on standby
When an appliance is left on standby, it still uses a small amount of electricity. Turning items off at the plug is an obvious way to prevent this, and plugging all items into a multisocket or power strip can make this process easier.
Timers and smart plugs are popular ways to automate the switching off of electrical items at times when you know the appliance isn’t going to be used.
Use LED light bulbs
LED light bulbs are one of the simplest ways to reduce electricity consumption and save money.
They are much more efficient than their halogen counterparts, the savings are actually quite noticeable. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that swapping a 60-watt halogen bulb for an LED version will save you £6 per bulb per year, rising to £13 for a 100-watt bulb.In a 10-room house that could add up to £130 per year; an impressive saving for such a simple change.
Upgrading your old appliances
Appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and televisions are all given an energy efficiency rating. This can be found online and instore to customers who are purchasing new appliances.
If your existing appliance is ready for an upgrade or isn’t working as well as it should be, when replacing it, check the efficiency rating to a lower one as they will use less energy. Although this is an expensive upfront cost, you could be saving on a considerable amount of your bills in the future.
Use appliances efficiently
Take shorter showers
While taking short showers is much more energy-efficient than running a bath, they still consume a fair amount of energy during use. Cutting a 10-minute shower down to eight minutes can save up to £43 per year (per person) in decreased energy and water costs.
Use the washing machine at a lower temperature
Using the washing machine on a cold setting helps save energy because heating the water to higher temperatures consumes large amounts of electricity.
Don’t overfill the kettle
Overfilling the kettle is one of the most common ways people waste electricity every day.
You should only fill the kettle with the amount of water you need for your drink or whatever else you’re using it for. Any more is just more work for the kettle, and the more work it has to do, the more energy it consumes.
Have your electrical appliances serviced regularly
It’s a good idea to have your electric appliances serviced regularly to ensure they are working correctly - and efficiently. A well-maintained appliance will use less energy than one that has a problem.
A qualified electrician will identify any potential problems with your appliances and make any necessary repairs or adjustments. This will not only mean they use less energy, but it will also prolong their lifespan.
Keep your electrical appliances clean
Cleaning your electrical appliances can help to lower your energy bills in a few ways.
For example, cleaning the coils located on the back of the fridge helps it run more efficiently and keeps it from working harder than necessary to keep food cold.
Defrosting the freezer is also a good idea. Ice buildup inside the freezer causes it to work harder to maintain the temperature, using more energy in the process.
Another way to lower your energy consumption is clearing out the oven. This ensures that heat can circulate properly and that the oven doesn't have to work harder than necessary to cook food.
Be mindful of your energy usage
Smart meters allow you to see exactly how much energy you are using and when, helping your household make changes to your energy consumption habits, like turning off lights when you leave a room or switching items off at the plug instead of leaving them on standby. You can also see how your energy use changes over time, so you know whether the alterations to daily habits are making a difference.
Contact your energy supplier about installing a smart meter as you may be able to request one from them for free.
When a device is plugged into a smart plug socket, the outlet can communicate with the device to learn when it is in use. The outlet can then enter power-saving mode when the device is being used, which helps save energy.For example, if a lamp is plugged into a smart outlet, the outlet can automatically turn off the power to the lamp when the lamp is turned off.
Home energy monitors
Home energy monitors can be used in a similar way to smart meters, providing you with feedback on your home’s energy usage and helping you to adjust your daily energy-usage habits, such as using energy during off-peak hours or turning off appliances when not in use. These specialised energy monitors are more advanced than smart meters, in that they can also help identify areas and specific appliances that are using the most energy, rather than just telling you overall daily consumption.
Save money on your energy bills
Implementing just a few of these changes will have a noticeable impact on the amount you pay for gas and electricity every month, particularly during winter.