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5 ways to cut your energy bill this winter

With winter on the way, uSwitch has put together a list of tips to help you keep your gas and electricity bills as low as possible

Make sure your ready for the winter chill

Make sure your ready for the winter chill

Got any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments section below.

Stop leaving appliances on standby

A recent study carried out by uSwitch found that British homes waste £227m every year, by leaving appliances on standby. The research found that 76% of households leave electronic devices on standby, with TVs, phone chargers and digital television boxes the items most frequently left on.

The results were surprising given that 81% of consumers admitted to being aware that devices should be turned off at the mains, but 24% either forgot or could not be bothered to do so. Getting into the habit of switching off your gadgets at the mains is a sure-fire way of cutting your bills not just this winter, but year round.

Find out if your previous energy supplier owes you money

In September, the big six pledged to return £153m to past customers who had switched away while they were in credit. Although in the vast majority of cases any credit should be returned when you switch, in some instances energy companies have been unable to refund past customers.

If you switched provider in the past six years, believe you were in credit when the switch took place and did not have your money returned, then contact your previous energy supplier. According to the “MyEnergyCredit” campaign, the average credit balance of homes owed money is £50.

Switch to a cheaper energy deal

If you haven’t run a price comparison in the past few months, it’s a good idea to do so now. There are some sub-£1,000 deals on offer from energy suppliers at the moment, which are the cheapest the market has seen in years. This is particularly important if you have a fixed energy plan ending.

Switching ahead of winter also means you’ll reduce your energy rates during the period of the year when you’re likely to be using the most energy due to the cold weather. Be quick though – it usually takes four to six weeks for a switch to go through. Remember you can switch and save even if you rent your home.

Consider getting a smart thermostat

Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat, British Gas’ Hive, ScottishPower’s Connect and tado° are four of the best known smart thermostats on the market. Each has its own unique functionalities, however, as a general rule each will grant you unprecedented control over your home’s heating system. This is done by providing you with data around your consumption, remote access to your heating system and, in some cases, learning from your behaviour and adapting your home’s temperature accordingly.

At the moment, npower is offering an interesting bundled deal, which could prove enticing for anyone looking to purchase a Google Nest Learning Thermostat. According to Nest, US based customers typically save between 20% on their heating and cooling bills.

Be creative and prepared

Saving energy doesn’t have to be a chore and you can be as creative as you like when it comes to cutting energy bills. For example, some appliances use much more energy than others, so try to minimise their use. These include kettles, irons and hair dryers. Challenge yourself to cut down the amount of time that you use them each day.

Also when it starts to get cold, turn off your heating just before getting to bed, that way you won’t be heating the room while you’re wrapped up in blankets. You can also set your heating to turn on a bit before you wake up to make sure it’s warm when you get up.

Have any energy saving tips of your own? Let us know in the comments section.

Read more

Should you drop the big six for a small energy supplier?

Are you eligible for the Warm Home Discount?

  • Dingus

    I was amazed at the reduction in my electricity consumption (from 83 units a week to 55) after I replaced our old chest freezer and two desktop computers (from XP to Win7) and the old CRT TV over a 9 month period. The industry has certainly taken fuel saving on Board. It will be the old gas boiler next!

    • RichardW

      Replacing an XPO machine to W7 has nothing to do with anything, the saving with be via the actual screen as you have found with your TV. Old CRT based systems including plazmas use a huge amount of electric 300+ watt compared with a good efficient LED unit at ~80w, but I agree the industry is doing its bit to save the planet, shame our government cant do the extra mile either on the larger scale !

  • Linda

    Try thick lined well fitting curtains, closed as soon as it gets dusk, turn the heating off in rooms you are not using and close doors. Wear layers.

  • Yvonne

    When cooking; use steamer pans to cook veg above potatoes, this way you only use one ring on your cooker top, and veg will taste better too

  • Mike.

    I fitted reflective silver linings behind my radiators, these reflect the heat back into the room. Available at B&Q and other DIY stores.

  • John Temple

    1) As recommended elsewhere, close the curtains as early as possible and (if someone is at home then) don’t open them until about 9 am. Lights use far less energy than the energy lost through windows when it is cold outside. Why is the time you open your curtains any business of the neighbours?

    2) Measure the water you need to boil in the kettle, and don’t boil more than this. We keep an old mug (that has lost its handle) by the kettle for this purpose.

    3) If you have a gas hob, never heat water with electricity. Tea, coffee, shaving (gentlemen using soap and a razor), hot water bottles, etc – all should use water heated in a gas kettle – (but it won’t turn off automatically – you will have to watch it). Set the gas so flames don’t lick up the sides of the kettle.

    4) You can even do washing up with a kettle-full of water–saucepans, frying pans, the lot. Rinse them first in cold water (from last night’s hot water bottle, or left over in the jug of drinking water on the table) or wipe them with kitchen roll. Then use a full gas kettle of boiling water – and use the washing-up brush to fish things out of the washing-up bowl, as the water will be at about 85ºC, so will get things really clean and also sterilise them. This also saves running the tap until it runs hot – the water you waste doing this would cost about 2.5 p/litre.

    5) My energy supplier charges 2.962p/kWh for gas and 13.98p/kWh for electricity. I used the gas meter readings to measure boiling a full gas kettle; it was 44% efficient
    i.e.44% of the energy paid for was used to heat the water. If the electric kettle is 95% efficient (a reasonable guess), boiling a litre of water (3 cups-full) from 10 ºC will cost 0.7p by gas and 1.54p by electricity – a saving of 0.8 p per litre –not a lot, but how many times in a year do you boil the kettle? Also although the gas kettle wastes 56% of the energy (allowed for in this calculation) that energy heats the kitchen, so reduces the energy from the central heating. If you have to buy a gas kettle, it will take time to pay off its cost, but thereafter it’s a saving (and better use of the earth’s
    resources) all the way.

    6) Just 1 watt left on unnecessarily wastes money. I pay 13.98 p per kWh (“Unit”) after I have used my initial expensive units. One unnecessary watt left on for a year costs me £1.23 (a phone, toothbrush, iThingy or DS charger etc, uses several watts even if the device is not charging). If it’s electrical, gets even slightly warm to the touch and isn’t doing something useful, it’s wasting your money.

    7) You only need one lamp on if you are watching TV – just so you can find the remotes and don’t trip over the furniture. Turn all others off (except for safety
    lighting in corridors, stairs etc).

    8) 3 layers (vest, shirt, sweater) must be worn before you are allowed to turn the CH on – and why not wear a scarf in the house – it will save money.

    9) If you aren’t double glazed, stretch cling film across freshly cleaned (use meths) window frames. Google “cling film for insulation” for discussion.

    10) Turn the “Microwave” off. We got a domestic plug-in wattmeter. Our microwave displaying a clock, but not doing anything, takes 86 Watts (£100 p.a. – I am suspicious of this power reading, but it certainly isn’t zero). We now turn it off at the mains except when in use and we bought a battery powered clock for the kitchen

    11) Stop taking baths – take a shower (using gas heated water). If you haven’t got one, try to get one installed.

    12) 2 pensioners, large detached 4 bed 2 reception house (but well insulated), all mod cons – and we used about 2700 kWh of electricity p.a. (52 units a week) &13500-14500 kWh p.a. of Gas (depending on how cold the winter is) What’s your use? If it’s more, do something about it.

    • Big Al

      Excellent advice.
      An expert on energy conservation, well done.

    • simon

      The cost of electricity from a battery is about 100 times more expensive than using it from the mains.
      Replace the kitchen clock with a mains one.

      • John Temple

        Point taken and agreed about the cost of electricity from batteries, if you buy non-rechargeable but (1) The clock was installed so that the microwave (the display of which previously provided the kitchen clock) could be turned off – and the microwave consumption even when it was not “doing anything” was colossal (2) No, more “wires” would have been permitted in the area by “she who rules in the kitchen”. and (the real reason) (3) we use rechargeable batteries for the clock – and we already possess a number of these and their charger, so no extra expense is involved in using them.

  • Patricia

    Which will save me money but keep my house warm – turn the boiler up to Max. and turn down the radiator thermostats OR turn the boiler down and have radiators at full OR boiler at Max radiators on low but on for all day ?

    • Michele Martinelli

      Hi Patricia,

      It really depends on your home’s set-up. You can find out more in our edicated guide – http://www.uswitch.com/energy-saving/guides/heating-on-all-the-time/.

      Hope that helps!

      M

    • Perry525

      If you run your boiler at a high temperature, you will waste a lot of energy into the sky and through the pipes. Running the system at a lower temperature with larger radiators wastes less. However, you will probably feel the most comfortable, and save the most energy by having a thermostat in your living room, this will turn your boiler on every time the temperature in the room drops by half a degree. An improvement on this, it to have zones, with similar rooms controlled by their own thermostat and motorized valve.

      • Patricia

        Thank you Perry, I take on board your comments

  • BOILERMAN

    Turn the heating off put the main fuse box switch to Off get a water meter fitted and keep all taps firmly closed also don’t flush toilet. This is a guaranteed way to save you thousands. Note may cause hypothermia, filthy environment & will cause major personal hygiene issues.

  • Mark Yates

    Don’t forget about getting your boiler serviced – because unserviced boilers can use more and more gas just to heat your home. All that extra gas will add to your already expensive gas bill!

    The best thing to do is get some quotes in and from there. That’s why I use STL Heating, because their quote was a lot more competitive than the others. I’ve already contacted them about getting my boiler serviced and they’re coming out to see me ( I live in Manchester ).

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