Energy prices are the highest they’ve ever been at the moment, and they’re set to increase even more next year.
For many people, now is the time to really think about how to save on energy bills.
Last month I covered a little bit of this when I wrote about some of the ways you can get financial help to heat your home this winter.
With temperatures falling rapidly, I wanted to focus on specific things you can do, and how much you can actually save.
Here’s what you need to know.
How the numbers are calculated
First, a little note on how I’ve worked out how much money you can save.
There are a lot of variables to consider here. For one, everyone is on different energy tariffs. And then there’s the fact that the energy consumption of different appliances can vary enormously, as can the set up of your home.
Because of this, I’ve opted for the current average energy prices given by the Energy Saving Trust (16.36p per kWh), and used industry averages where possible.
Turning down your heating
When I asked some money bloggers for their tips on saving on energy, Emilie from Millennial Saves answered: “Turn your heating down by 1 degree! A small amount can make a difference.”
In fact, it makes a huge difference.
According to a 2012 report from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), turning down your heating by 1 degree from 19C to 18C can save an average household 1,530kWh/year.
Although 18C is much colder than, I imagine, most people would like their homes to be, this change works out to an average saving of £250.16 a year.
In the same report, researchers found that switching down from 20C to 18C can save an average of 3,090kWh/year – equivalent of saving £505.52 a year.
Of course this depends on how big your home is, and how well it’s insulated.
Wrap up warm
If you are ready to dial down the heating, Emma from Bee Money Savvy says: “You’re less likely to feel the cold if you’re wearing thick socks, extra layers and have throws available for when you’re sitting around. Keep warm and you’re less likely to be tempted to put the heating on.”
The aforementioned DECC report estimated that the average household can save 1,530kWh per year by wearing a thicker jumper at home during the heating season – presumably to keep the heating at that chilly 18C.
Wait before you put the heating on
If you’re not quite ready to turn down the thermostat yet then consider pushing back when you switch on your heating.
You can save 670kWh per year by waiting until November to switch on your heating instead of starting in October, according the DECC, saving an equivalent of £109.61.
Maintain your appliances
Keeping your appliances in good condition can save you money in the long run – not just by reducing the possibility of breakdowns but also in terms of energy efficiency.
Naomi from Skint Dad suggests: “Regularly clean your hob, oven, and tumble dryer filters; vacuum the back of your fridge freezer and extractor fans; and descale your kettle, so they run more efficiently and save money on your bills.”
Maintaining your water heaters and radiators are an important part of that process.
By using chemical inhibitors (to stop limescale forming in your heating system) and bleeding the radiator can save an average of 390kWh a year, or £63.92.
Not overfilling your kettle…
One of the tips that’s most frequently seen in articles on energy saving is to not overfill your kettle.
Boiling kettles are said to account for 6% of the average household’s bills. And the more you fill your kettle, the longer it takes to boil – the logic is, this will cost more than if you just filled the kettle to the level you need.
But as it turns out, you might not save that much energy by filling your kettle to just the right level – just 80kWh per year according to DECC, or £13.09.
This might be because regardless of how much you’ve filled up your kettle, the heating element has to go from cool to hot enough to boil – the process that takes the most amount of energy.
If you are in the habit of boiling too much water, why not get a thermos flask*?
It’s a great way to keep your drink warm until you’re ready.
It has to be said, one of the best ways to save energy in your home is to install insulation.
Obviously exactly how much you can stand to save will depend on how well insulated your home is compared to what it could be.
Insulation doesn’t always have to be expensive though.
In my previous post I wrote about how you can get draft excluders from Amazon* for less than £10 that you can use to line windows and doors to keep heat in and the cold out.
Thicker blinds or curtains can also help; they have the added benefit of drowning out sound and keeping out daylight as well.
But actually, insulating your heating systems is important too.
The DECC report calculated that by wrapping the water tank in a thermal jacket, an average household can save up to 2,900kWh per year, the equivalent of £474.44.
You can also insulate your hot water pipework, although that will only save 260kWh per year, or £42.54.