20 quick tips to lower your energy bills and prep for winter
The cost of heating a home during winter can be expensive. But there are lots of quick and easy ways you can reduce your home’s energy needs.
As the evenings begin to draw in earlier, attention turns to the upcoming winter - and with it, rising energy bills.
In the UK, electricity demand is 36% higher during winter than in the summer.1 And since the cost of electricity tends to go up during the winter months due to increased demand, it can be an expensive time of year for many.
Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to reduce your home’s energy needs over the winter. And you can do many of them for free!
Here are our top energy-saving tips (costs are estimated and will vary depending on your needs and choice of product)...
Changes that cost nothing
Improving the energy efficiency of your home can be done without spending a single penny. Here are a few things you could consider:
- Turn down the thermostat - Turning down your thermostat by just one degree could reduce your heating bill by £145 a year.2 But don’t go too low... the World Health Organisation recommends a minimum temperature of 18C for healthy people and 20C for elderly or young people.
- Schedule the boiler - It may sound strange, but setting your boiler to come on a little earlier can actually save you money, so long as it’s set to a lower temperature. It’s cheaper to do this rather than turning it on at a higher temperature when needed because it heats up at a constant speed regardless of its target temperature.
- Reduce the boiler’s flow temperature - The temperature your boiler heats water up to before sending it to your radiators is called the ‘flow temperature’. It’s usually set between 70C - 80C, but the most energy-efficient temperature is closer to 60C. Reducing a boiler’s flow temperature could save around £112 per year.3
- Bleed the radiators - If parts of your radiator feel cold when the heating’s on, there's air in the system. Bleeding a radiator by turning the valve until the trapped air comes out helps the radiator run more efficiently. Place a bucket and cloth underneath when you do it, as it can get messy!
- Adjust radiators in each room - You probably use some rooms more than others. So you could save yourself some energy costs by turning down radiators in rooms you don’t spend time in, such as a spare room or dining room.
- Clear the area around radiators - Nearby furniture and other items can block and absorb a radiator’s heat, preventing it from warming your room. So make sure there’s enough space for the heat to flow easily into the room.
- Adjust washing machine temperature - Washing clothes at a low 30C can clean your clothes just as effectively, and use up to 40% less energy, than at higher temperatures.4
Changes under £100
If you’re open to spending some money on energy-saving measures, you can try the following suggestions:
- Switch to LED bulbs - LED bulbs consume less power and have a longer lifespan than traditional incandescent bulbs. And since each bulb you switch to an LED bulb could save £2-3 per year, they can save a significant amount of money on your energy bills over their lifespan.5
- Draught-proof doors and windows - Gaps around doors and windows can let cold air in and warm air out. Draught excluders can cost less than £10 each and they can be easy to install yourself.
- Insulate hot water pipes - Insulating your hot water pipes with foam tubing will prevent heat from escaping as the water flows around your home, meaning your boiler will use less energy.
- Install low-flow showerheads - A low-flow showerhead can reduce your water usage by up to 60%, resulting in less energy use.6
- Use a slow cooker - Using a slow cooker instead of an oven can use a lot less energy. Plus, you can leave it to cook your food throughout the day so it’s ready for that cold winter evening.
- Install a chimney balloon - If your home has an open chimney, a chimney balloon can prevent heat from escaping through it. Just remember to remove it before lighting a fire!
- Reflect radiator heat - You can buy reflective foil that fits behind your radiators. They help reflect the heat back into the room rather than allowing it to escape through the walls, which can be particularly effective for homes without wall insulation.
- Fit a hot water tank jacket - If you have an older hot water tank, it might not be as well-insulated as a newer model. Fitting an insulation jacket around your tank could save you up to £80 a year.7
Changes under £500
Got a bit more cash to spend? Consider these options to make your home more energy efficient.
- Dress your windows - Heavy or thermal-lined curtains and blinds can provide an extra layer of insulation, helping to keep the warm air in and reducing drafts. This can be a particularly good option if you have single glazed windows.
- Install a smart thermostat - Smart thermostats can be controlled remotely from your mobile phone, allowing you to turn off the heating while you’re out, if you forget. And some can learn your schedule and adjust the temperature automatically, making further savings without you thinking about it. Manufacturers claim they can result in savings between 8% and 31%,8 but this will depend on your home and heating habits.
- Insulate the loft - Heat rises, so up to 25% of a home’s heat can escape through an uninsulated loft.9 By adding insulation, you’ll keep more of the heat you generate inside your home.
- Use energy-efficient appliances – Appliances, such as fridges and tumble driers account for a significant portion of your home's energy usage. But some models are more efficient than others. Switching to a more energy-efficient model could reduce your energy consumption and save you a meaningful amount of money in the long run.
- Install insulated doors - While a little more expensive than draught-proofing, replacing old external doors with new insulated ones can reduce your energy bills by up to 7%.10 As a bonus, they’ll also help to reduce outside noise.
To find out the type of energy efficiency measures are best for your home, and to discover which grants and payment options you’re eligible for, get your free energy improvement plan from Snugg.
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