ENERGY bills are on the rise and eating into the pockets of thousands of Brits.
It's thought that hundreds of people are overpaying on their heating bills by as much as £246, just as they're already forking out up to a quarter more than usual.
The ongoing energy crisis is particularly hitting low-income households up and down the country andmany are scrambling to cut down costs any way they can.
We could be in for another 18 months of rocketing prices too, so having a hack or two up your sleeve isn't a bad idea, armed and ready to slash energy bills posted through your door (or email inbox) each month.
We've already covered how you can try hacks room by room in your home to lower costs, and you'll notice major savings on your bill without having to break the bank by applying the changes.
If you need a little more inspiration though, the energy experts over at Uswitch have come up with 21 steps you can take to help bring down costs on your next bill.
If you carried out each and every one of the steps you could save as much as £958 a year.
Take a look, and if you're not already applying some of these creative measures, see how much you could save.
1. Replacing an old inefficient E-rated boiler
- You could save: £220
Heating and hot water accounts for over half of what you spend in a year on energy bills, so where that heat is coming from in your home is important to maintain and upgrade once in a while.
You can replace an old inefficient E-rated boiler with an A-rated condensing gas boiler to slash the costs of your bills in the future.
Initially you might have to fork out around £2,000 to install the new boiler.
But you could save £220 a year as a result.
You'll also save 5,300 kWh or 990 kg of CO2 each year.
2. Loft insulation
- You could save: £135
A quarter of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home.
So blocking up that escape route is important and could save you £135 a year in energy bills.
It'll cost around £300 upfront if you’ve not yet got insulation in your loft – that's for around 270mm of insulation to be installed.
So it will take around two years to make your costs back but it will be worthwhile in the long run.
The Energy Saving Trust says that if it's installed correctly though, loft insulation should pay for itself many times over in its 40-year lifetime.
3. Installing A-rated double glazing
- You could save: £75
A set of A-rated windows for a semi-detached house will cost around £4,250, compared to around £15,000 for A-rated hardwood windows.
But by installing A-rated double glazing to windows in an entirely single-glazed semi-detached gas heated property, you could save £75 per year.
If you installed A++ rated double glazed windows replacing single glazing, the savings could be up to £95 per year.
Though it may take a while to make back the initial costs you don't have to foot the bill alone, there are plenty of grants youcan apply for to help covers the expensive installation costs.
4. Thermostatic radiator valves and smart heating
- You could save: £75
A thermostatic radiator valve will allow you to control the temperature of your individual radiators, so you can turn down the heat in rooms you are not using.
That means you'll avoid wasted heat when you're not even there to enjoy it.
Setting them to a lower setting uses less energy and so will save you money too.
You can usually access smart heating controls, if you have them, remotely too, making it easier to control your usage.
You can also play around with timing controls so the heating will come on automatically and you don't have to worry about when and if you remembered to turn it iff again.
5. Not using a tumble dryer
- You could save: £60
Tumble dryers tend to cost about £60 a year to run according to Repair Aid, so eliminate this from your daily routine and you could save as much.
There are other ways to dry your clothes such as on a clothesline outside, a clotheshorse inside or even on the radiator.
Heated clothes airers are cheaper to run than tumble dryers too.
But be careful not to run into problems with damp, as the extra moisture in the air won't have anywhere to go.
6. Turning your thermostat down by just 1°C
- You could save: £55
Turning down the dial one degree will hardly make the difference to your home's temperature during the colder months, but it could help slash your bill.The simple measure could save you as much as £55 a year as a result.
To reduce your energy consumption further, only heat the rooms you use, or try a portable electric heater pointed at your chair for a few hours as opposed to heating the whole house.
Or, layer up, and instead of reaching for the thermostat, pop on another jumper or pair of fluffy socks to keep out the chill.
7. Fit a water efficient shower head
- You could save: £55
A more water efficient shower head will reduce your heating bills because you won’t waste as much water.
These shower heads restrict the flow of water so you can cut down on consumption.
A typical British household could actually save around £55 a year on energy bills by just switching to a more efficient eco-shower head.
8. Under floorboard insulation
- You could save: £40
As heat rises in your home, you might find a draught coming through the floorboards of your lowest level.
You can seal the gaps between floors and skirting boards to reduce that quite easily, with a tube of sealant bought from any DIY store.
Rugs and carpets on the floor will also help your feet feel warmer, which might mean you don’t feel the need to put the heating on as much.
If you're planning on applying something a little more permanent under the floorboards though, costs will vary depending on how big your house is and how easy the floorboards are to lift and replace.
Solid floors are insulated using rigid insulation foam, which can be fitted either above or below the concrete.
Sometimes it can work by storing heat during the day, which helps keep the room warm at night and sometimes it will heat the room more quickly in the morning, ready for the rest of the day that way.
9. Switch off standby
- You could save: £35
You can save around £35 a year just by remembering to turn things in your home off.
But it's important to fully switch them off so the glowing red dot dies too otherwise they'll be left on standby mode.
You can get a standby saver which allows you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go.
Check the instructions for any appliances you aren’t sure about though, as some satellite and digital TV recorders may need to be left plugged in so they can keep track of any programmes you want to record.
10. LED light bulbs
- You could save: £35
Replace traditional lightbulbs with energy efficient LEDs and you see the savings coming in.
You might have to fork out about £70 to replace all the bulbs but you should save 250 kWh, £35 a year and 70 kg of CO2.
If you’re not ready to change all of the bulbs in you home, try them in places you don’t go into as often, like the garage, but still rely on a reliable light source.
11. Turn appliances off at the plug
- You could save: £30
Unplug electricals in your home and you'll save as much as £30 a year.
You should unplug all chargers when not in use, especially any that have display lights.
Stop charging once something has reached 100% too and avoid charging overnight where you can.
You can also unplug your internet router when the last person goes to bed to save on costs.
12. Fitting draught proofing to doors and windows
- You could save: £25
Save as much as £25 a year by stopping heat from escaping through cracks in your doorframes or window panes.
Draught-proofing your windows, could cost you £160 though.
So it may take a little longer for you to make back the costs in savings.
There are at-home methods you can try too though like applying clingfilm to your window sills, as much as it sounds absurd it really does work.
13. Washing up in a bowl rather than using a running tap
- You could save: £25
Keeping the tap running while you're doing the dishes can add as much as £25 to your annual gas bill.
Use a bowl instead rather than letting your water – and money – go down the drain.
Instead of all the expensive hot water washing away, you'll be able to turn off the taps once the bowl is full, and simply wash your dishes in it without wasting the excess water.
It will likely stay hot for a while anyway, so you can get on with cleaning up at your own pace safe in the knowledge your bills aren't suffering as a result.
You'll also cut your metered water costs by £30 too.
14. Chimney draught excluder
- You could save: £18
If you have an open chimney, draught-proofing it when it's not in use could save you around £18 a year.
Without an escape route, heat will remain in your home which means you won't have to work so hard to get the place warm.
You may be able to turn down your thermostat as a result, saving even more on your energy bills.
15. Turn off lights
- You could save: £15
As the days get darker you might be more tempted to turn on the lights while you're at home.
Just make sure you turn them off again once you leave a room.
Doing so you can save up to £15 a year.
Using a dimmer switch allows you to turn the lights down so they are not operating at full power for longer than necessary too.
16. Fitting a hot water cylinder jacket
- You could save: £15
A hot water cylinder jacket costs about £15, and you can fit one yourself at home without having to be too much of a dab hand at DIY.
It means your water tank will be insulated so no heat can escape.
Your water will be hotter for longer so you won't need to spend as much time with the heating on.
It’s usually as simple as choosing the correct size from a DIY store and then slipping it on.
17. Installing reflective radiator panels
- You could save: £13
You can fix a reflective panel behind your radiator to reflect heat from the radiator back into the room.
It means heat won't simply travel straight through the wall and will instead reflect into the space you're occupying.
You don't need to add the measure onto radiators that are on internal walls in your house, as you may find a benefit to the radiator heat travelling from room to room in your home.
But they are good for external walls as otherwise the heat would just be lost.
They work best when installed on uninsulated solid walls too.
18. Having a modern, efficient dishwasher
- You could save: £11
Almost 8% of the average electricity bill is spent running the dishwasher, typically costing between £25 and £45 a year for many households.
You could instead invest in a slimline dishwasher that would set you back between £20 and £35 in running costs.
if you opt for a dishwasher with a D rating, you could save £11 less per year as they use less water.
19. One less wash a week
- You could save: £8
If you were to cut back your dishwasher use by just one cycle per week, you could save £8 a year on energy.
Try washing up your dishes by hand instead to cut down on how much you're relying on the machine to do the chore for you.
You could always make it into a fun task for the kids that you can reward them for, especially over the upcoming half term, then you'll save on energy bills and your own personal labour.
20. One minute less in the shower
- You could save: £7
Supposedly if every household in the UK shaved just one minute off their showers every day, up to £215 million would be saved on our national energy bills per annum.
But take that into your own home and you could save £7 per person by spending one minute less in the shower every day.
You should also look to use a water-efficient showerhead and a household of four people could save an extra £70 a year on gas for water heating, plus £115 a year on water bills if they have a water meter.
21. Don't over fill your kettle
- You could save: £6
Only fill the kettle with the amount of water that you need and you could save around £6 a year.
If you overfill the kettle all you'll be doing is wasting energy by heating water that will inevitably go cold again and isn't wanted.
Kettles are one of the most used appliances in the kitchen so you could even look to invest in an eco kettle which only boils the amount of water required and uses 20% less energy than a conventional electric kettle.
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