10 ways to reduce energy bills
Here's what you can do to save money on electricity and gas by making your home more energy efficient.
For most people, it's not a good time to switch energy provider.
1. Review your energy bill for small savings
There are some small ways you can keep your energy payments as low as possible with your energy provider:
- Choose paperless bills and manage your account online (some companies charge extra for paper bills)
- Pay by direct debit. This is usually cheaper than paying when you receive a bill
- Send regular meter readings to keep your bill accurate. If you have a , it will do this automatically
- Question any direct debit increases that seem too high. Your energy company should be able to explain the changes and your usage and payments should balance out over a year.
Use appliances more efficiently
A lot of your annual electricity usage is down to the appliances in your home. Using your appliances more efficiently can shave precious pounds off your annual bills.
Buying new energy efficient appliances
< >Fridge freezer – £167.61Tumble dryer – £188.21Washing machine – £83.78Dishwasher – £71.09 Hypothetically if you had the most power-guzzling of these four appliances and switched them for the most energy-saving models, you would save as much as £510 a year on energy costs.
Insulating your loft can save you as much as £590 a year in a detached house, according to data released by the Energy Saving Trust using October 2022 figures.
Get your boiler serviced and adjust its flow temperature
For most households, central heating is responsible for more than half of your energy bill each year. So replacing an old, inefficient gas boiler with a modern energy-efficient one could make a big difference to your payments.
Adjusting your boiler's flow temperature
Replace light bulbs
It's the age-old tip that most of us have already done. But it's still worth mentioning – energy-saving light bulbs can help you to cut your energy bills easily. Lighting makes up 11% of the average UK home's electricity consumption, so it's well worth considering.
Install and use central heating controls
In a typical household, over half your fuel bills are spent on heating and hot water. Having an efficient heating system and using it well can have a considerable impact on your annual bills.
< >Set your heating and hot water to turn on and off to suit youHeat only the parts of your home that need itSet different temperatures for different areas of your homeKeep your home at a temperature that’s comfortable, without wasting heat.If you only have one thermostat for the whole house, each degree you turn it up will increase your heating bill by around 10%, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Having thermostatic radiator valves that can be adjusted in each room - whether they are smart valves or just traditional analogue ones - can lead to large savings and give you much tighter control.
For those who live alone or work from home, investing in an electric heater could save on heating bills if you just want occasional short, sharp bursts of heat while your central heating is off.
With a smart thermostat you can operate your heating remotely via the internet using your mobile phone, tablet or computer. Some can also learn your routine or adjust your settings depending on the weather forecast.
Stopping heat from escaping through unwanted gaps around doors and windows could help you save around £60 a year in a typical home, according to the Energy Saving Trust. And if you have an open chimney, draught-proofing it when it's not in use could save a further £90 a year. These savings are based on a typical, gas-fuelled, semi-detached home.
< >Windows - Use draught-proofing strips around the frame. Brush strips work better for sash windows.Doors - UChimney and fireplace - If you don't use your fireplace, use an inflatable pillow to block the chimney, or fit a cap over the chimney pot. If you have an open chimney, this alone could save you £90 a year.Floorboards and skirting - Floorboards need to move, so use a flexible silicone-based filler to fill the gaps.Loft hatches - Use draught-proofing foam strips to keep heat in.Remember that homes do still need some level of ventilation, so make sure you don't block or seal any intentional air vents, including extractor fans, trickle vents (small, adjustable openings found above many modern windows) or underfloor grilles in wooden flooring.
Use less hot water
< >Use a shower timer so you know how long you're spending in there. Keeping your shower time to four minutes or under and swapping one bath a week with a four minute shower can save you £115 per person per year, the Energy Saving Trust estimatesYou can also use a timer to see how long you're washing up for and try not to have the hot tap running for too long. Make sure you're washing up in the sink or a bowl rather than under a free running tap.Insulate your hot water tank and pipes so water stays warmer for longer.Find out if you could get energy efficiency grants or free cash
Energy schemes and grants are available to help pay your energy bills or to support you with the costs of renewable heating. These include:
< >Warm Home Discount - £140 (increasing to £150 in October 2022) mainly to pensioners and those who get certain benefitsWinter Fuel Payment - £100 - £300 per winter for those born before 26 September 1955Boiler Upgrade scheme (launched in May 2022) - up to £5,000 to replace your current gas or oil heating with low-carbon heatingHelp with loft insulation and boiler costs from energy suppliers.Find out what you're eligible for. For winter 2022, the government's cost of living help package will also be automatically given to recipients of certain benefits, and a £400 energy bill discount will be given to every household in the UK. Find out more about what energy help you are eligible for in winter 2022.
Quick energy-saving tips
If you’re pushed for time or money, have done everything else on this list or simply want to get started cutting your energy bill straight away, try these steps:
- Know where your energy costs are coming from. A shows how much energy you use in real time and how much it costs. Use this information to work out where you can cut back.
- Get your boiler serviced, or ask your landlord to do so. An engineer can make energy saving adjustments, such as reducing your boiler's flow temperature, that can cut your bills.
- Get to grips with your home heating, and ask a plumber to install thermostatic radiator valves where you can. This means you're only heating the rooms you are actually using rather than your whole house. You might want to keep your bedroom cooler than your living room, for example.
- Don’t leave your gadgets on standby. There are limits on standby power consumption of more recent electronics but take more care with older gadgets. Turning appliances off properly could save you £65 a year, according to figures published in March 2022 by the Energy Savings Trust.
- Dry your washing outside or on a clothes horse, rather than using your tumble dryer. Don't forget to ventilate well and run a dehumidifier if possible if you're drying clothes indoors (to prevent condensation/damp).
- Only run your washing machine and dishwasher when they’re full, reduce your use by one run per week and wash clothes at 30°C where possible (unless you're washing really soiled clothes) as Best Buy washing machines will still do a good job. These steps can cut bills by £34 a year, the Energy Savings Trust estimates (figures published in October 2022).
- Defrost food in your fridge to help cool the fridge temperature down, and cool hot food before you put it into the fridge or freezer.
- Only boil as much water in the kettle as you need and fit a tap aerator to save £43 a year. Clean your tumble dryer and fridge's filters to keep them running efficiently.
- Dust the condenser coils behind your fridge so that it runs 25% more efficiently.
- Insulate your hot water tank if you have one to save £70 a year.