For many of us, utility bills are near the top of the list of things that cost us the most from our monthly pay packet, usually only beaten by rent or mortgage and the cost of food. For some, the cost of electricity, in particular, has become so high that they are forced to make choices between cooking or heating. But are there ways that we can save on our electricity bills and cut the amount that we use?
Did you know that a standard light bulb wastes around 90% of the electricity it uses to produce light? By switching to new LED light bulbs, you will pay more for the bulb initially but it can make a substantial saving, especially when used in rooms where the lights are on a lot, such as the living room. These bulbs can last as much as 12 times longer than a normal bulb and could save around £80 over the lifetime of that bulb compared with a standard type.
Radiators work hard to heat your home but a lot of that heat can be wasted because it simply vanishes into the wall behind them. However, if you fit a reflector panel behind them, around 95% of the heat will be reflected back into the room and mean you can then turn down the thermostat while still having the same temperature. Smart radiator valves are another option that allows the radiators to work individually and can even turn on and off at certain times of the day.
Likewise, smart thermostats are increasingly being offered to homes and these can save you money. You can better control the heating in your home and also see how much you are spending to help manage your bills. You can contact your supplier regarding these so if you are with British Gas, then any of the British Gas telephone numbers will be able to give you more information about them.
Saving electricity in the kitchen
While you can’t make your washing machine any more power efficient than it already is, you can use it wisely and save power. Make sure every load is a full one to ensure you get the maximum wash for your power. And if you can, use a cooler temperature such as a 40-degree or even 30-degree wash – this use around 1/3 less energy than a hotter wash.
Tumble dryers can be a bit greedy on their power needs so try to use other methods where possible. In spring and summer, drying outside is excellent while during the cooler, wetter months, consider drying racks, clothes horses or even using the radiators. As long as you have the right ventilation through windows and such, you shouldn’t run the risk of a condensation problem.
Regularly defrost your freezer and even fridge to ensure they are working at their peak efficiency. Most modern appliances are very energy efficient but if they are heavily iced up this can reduce it and can also mean they aren’t working as well as they should, which risks food decaying.
Saving electricity around the house
Don’t be tempted to leave devices on standby if you don’t need to. These use power and aren’t doing anything so the power is effectively wasted. Turn off the power to TVs, DVD players and stereos each night when you are finished using them.
Turn off any hot water taps as soon as you have the water you need. Otherwise, the boiler is heating water that is simply going down the drain, taking your money with it. Showers are more cost effective than baths and cutting a shower from 20 minutes’ duration to just 10 minutes can save around 25% of the electricity used.
Energy efficient homes
Our homes themselves can help save money in different ways. Insulation is the most important example. Having the right insulation in the loft can save you around £175 a year on electricity bills because the home won’t take as much to heat. Insulation does cost money but if you look at how long you will make the saving, it will quickly pay for itself.
If you live in an older house that doesn’t have cavity walls, you may want to look at having those solid walls insulation. It can cost quite a lot, anywhere from £5000 upwards but if you plan to stay in the house all your life, it could be worth it as you might save as much as £500 a year on heating bills alone. It can also reduce the risk of conditions such as damp and condensation which can save a great deal of money in other ways.
Ringing that British Gas telephone numbers or contacting whoever supplies your electricity can get you a number of tips to save on your bills. You can also find out about schemes that could help with the cost of insulation and other measures to make your home more energy efficient and cut your electricity bills.