Many people are likely to face household utility bills totalling £2,500 over the next year and there seems to be little evidence that prices will come back down anytime soon. While there is support through a £400 grant from the government, many families are going to still struggle over the winter.
If you’re frantically trying to think of ways to reduce your energy consumption, you’re certainly not alone. Here we look at some simple things you can do as the days get colder.
Some of these may seem quite obvious but if you live in a busy household and have kids you’ll already know how difficult it can be to keep those spiralling costs down.
It’s no use trying to save on energy if everyone else isn’t playing their part. If you’re the bill payer, then you have the right to ask everyone in the household to follow a few simple rules such as turning off lights in rooms that are not being used.
Energy efficiency is a habit and there’s a lot you can save just by making sure everyone is more aware.
One simple thing you can do to save money is not to have appliances or lights on that aren’t being used. That means turning any appliance off rather than having it on standby.
Don’t leave devices such as mobile phones charging for any longer than they need to (if you can, charge at work to save some money). Better still, invest in a solar charger for your mobile devices.
If you have a large family then cooking every day will consume a fair amount of energy, particularly if you are using gas. There are lots of different devices that are more efficient than your average hob and oven such as microwaves and slow cookers.
Get into the habit of batch cooking and find the most cost-effective way to get that meal on the table. For example, you can part cook meat and poultry in the microwave and then finish off in the oven. If you need to boil water, do it in the kettle first rather than sticking a pan on the hob.
Heating water for washing clothes can also be expensive. The truth is that a cold wash works just as well for most loads and will save you money. Make sure that you wash with a full load to increase efficiency and let clothes dry naturally rather than using a tumble dryer.
Another change you can make is to turn the thermostat on your heating down by a degree or two. In most cases, you’ll not notice any difference in room temperature. Reducing the time you have your heating on can also make a significant difference to your bills.
Stopping heat from escaping your home is essential. Simple things you can do right away include:
If you are on a low income or getting certain benefits, you can get help with insulation for your home through government funding.
If you have furniture like a sofa up against the radiator then you are blocking the heat. Pulling furniture out so there’s enough space for the heat to rise should ensure that you warm your home more efficiently.
Some people in the media have been pilloried for suggesting that we should be putting on an extra layer of clothing but they are absolutely right. Investing in some thermal underwear or cuddling under your duvet while you’re watching TV means you’re not spending more money on heating.
This is undoubtedly going to be a difficult time for many families and it’s important to have plans in place to help combat not just rising utility prices but the cost of living in general. If you do find yourself in difficulty, check out this helpful guide on the grants and benefits available from Citizen’s Advice.
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