Reducing Heating & Energy Bills: Tips and Tricks
Summer only lasts so long, approximately 8 days split up over 4 weeks in the UK. As winter rolls around then it’s almost certain that your heating and energy bills will be going up soon. During the winter months even when we keep thermostats the same, your heating system has to work harder to counteract the cold outside that the warmth in your house is desperately wanting to mix with. According to Ofgem, which is the industry regulator, the average household spends around £1254 a year on heating and energy bills. In our eyes, that’s too much when many of us are already struggling to keep up with bills and the impending Christmas season is on the horizon.
Let’s Start with the Energy Bills / Electricity Usage.
Tip 1 – Start Smart. When you turn off appliances like laptops, computers and televisions etc, they power down but they still use electricity and still contribute to your energy bills. Going around the house each night and switching off everything you aren’t using will save you money, but it’s also a task. Invest in socket strips and plug the non essential things into the strip. Turn 6 switches into 1 this way to easily run round and power everything off at night. Some strips also have timers, so you can set them to turn off themselves at a specific time each night.
Tip 2 – See the light, with LEDs. Regular house bulbs use between 40 and 100 watts, switch that to LEDs, which use typically around 6 – 8 watts of electricity instead, for the same brightness. Switch 15 bulbs out and you could be saving as much as 1.4 kilowatts off of your energy bills, every hour, just on lightbulbs!
Tip 3 – When buying new appliances, opt for energy efficiency! They’re usually a little bit more expensive outright, but the extra cost usually rights itself in savings on your energy bills over the course of a year, after that you’re sailing with free energy.
Washing machines, Fridge freezers and Dryers as well as small appliances like hoovers, toasters etc, are typically the easiest to compare for energy efficiency – Dishwashers are harder to find with A++ ratings and there’s usually quite a bigger price tag for those. “B” rated dishwashers are currently rated as a pretty good option.
There’s a few best practices too:
- Keep your fridge full, more air space inside the fridge takes longer to cool down and makes your fridge work harder. Also stop opening the fridge 4 times in 10 minutes looking for snacks, we all do it but it lets the cold into your house and the warm in your fridge.
- Defrost things in the fridge, not on the counter. It helps the fridge stay cold, making it work less.
- Defrost the freezer every 6 months, build-ups of ice lower the efficiency of your freezer.
- Hoover the back of your fridge freezer – dust on the pipes lowers efficiency and acts as a thermal barrier.
- Fill the dishwasher up for a full load – full loads are more efficient in a dishwasher than washing by hand, but if you live alone so there isn’t much dishwashing to do, just do it by hand instead.
- It’s the same with washing machines and dryers – wait until they’re full before you do a cycle.
- Turn your washing machine down to 30, unless you’re washing whites. Bio washing powder is designed to work at 30 and using a higher heat can actually give worse results as the bio powder performs worse on a hotter setting.
Reducing your Gas Bill
Tip 4 – Start by making sure you’re not heating your house too much – around 18 degrees is typical for a UK household. If you turn your thermostat down by 1 degree you can save 1-3% of your yearly energy bill.
Tip 5 – Make sure your house is properly insulated – we can help you lower your heating bills by supplying and fitting insulation for free with the government’s ECO grants! Click here for more info.
Tip 6 – Check what kind of windows you have, single glazing needs fixing ASAP, double glazing is good and triple glazing is better. The layers work by trapping air to act as a barrier for heat. The more layers there are, the easier your house will contain its heat and the lower your gas bill will be because you’re boiler’s not trying to maintain the warmth as hard. If replacing your windows is out of your budget, which for most people it will be, you can go to Amazon and buy magnetic glazing kits – they go over your window and act as another layer without having to replace the whole windows.
Tip 7 – Check your home for cold spots – if you’re getting a draft then invest in some draft excluders and keep the heat in the rooms you use.
Tip 8 – On that topic, only heat the rooms you use. There’s no point in heating the bathroom, utility room and spare bedrooms when they’re hardly used.
Tip 9 – Upgrade your boiler. This is the best way to reduce your gas bills. If your boiler is over 7 years old, chances are it’s energy rating sticker isn’t true any more as parts deteriorate over time. By replacing your boiler with a newer, more efficient model, you’re saving money as you heat your home. It’ll cost less and heat better, winning you a lower energy bill. We can help with this, and a lot of the time our boilers are supplied and fitted for free. To read more about the government’s Eco scheme and how you could get your new boiler for free, click here.
Tip 10 – Heat your home with the sun. We’re not going to plug you solar panels, what we mean here is that during the summer, the sun is strongest between 10am and 2pm, to keep the heat out and cool your house, close the curtains then. During the winter, open your curtains while the sun’s out and close them before evening comes. Thermal roller blinds are excellent for this, but an addition of heavy curtains will help tremendously too.
Tip 11 – Nice and simple – layer up. Keep the thermostat down a few degrees and invest in blankets instead, they’ll keep you warm and they’re probably scientifically proven to increase cosiness.
Tip 12 – keep your windows shut. Heat rises, and if you’ve got an upstairs window open then all of your heat will be leaking out of it.
13 – Insulate. There’s nothing better than a warm jumper in the winter, and your house needs one too. Cavity wall insulation on the inside, or external insulation on the outside of solid brick walls will massively improve the heat retention of your home. A nice wooly hat helps too – warm air rises, so fill that loft with insulation too, and don’t forget to insulate the hatch too!
If insulation isn’t something you have, or it’s been a good few years since you got yours last installed, then we may be able to help! Under the same scheme that gives people free boiler upgrades, we can also provide you with cavity wall insulation and roof insulation too. For more info and to check if you’re eligible, click here.
That’s all we have for the main tips and tricks of keeping your house warm with lower bills this winter – but we’ve created a Facebook page and an Instagram account that mentions these tips, as well as many more. You can find ECOTIPS by Borthwick Heating on Facebook here, and Instagram here. Our aim is to save you money and lower the UK’s carbon footprint by helping the Government stick to its commitments, and we’ll pull out all the stops to do it.
Are you entitled to a Free Replacement Boiler?
At Borthwick Heating we work with the UK Government to install free boilers to eligible UK Homeowners. To check if you qualify click the button below.
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