Doing little things can make a big difference to our bills. And if we all do them together, it could make a big difference to the planet too.
It keeps us warm. It keeps things bright. It powers our lives in infinite ways.
But we also know that it’s a major cost and people want to save where they can. It’s better for their bills – and it’s better for our planet. So we’ve taken a look at people’s heating habits, crunched some numbers and worked out some savings you could make by doing a few simple things.
According to Ofgem, the government’s energy regulator, the average UK household spends £1254 a year on heating and power. It’s one of the biggest annual costs for families – but there are lots of easy everyday things you can do to bring those bills down and save money.
Many appliances, from smart speakers to smartphones, laptops to games consoles still use energy when they’re plugged in, even when they’re turned off. TVs on stand-by are often the worst culprits of the lot.
Turn your plugs off at the mains… and you could save up to £35 a year.
When it comes to the kitchen, here are some cold, hard numbers from the Energy Saving Trust. Using a bowl rather than a running tap to do the washing up can potentially save £25 a year. Cutting back your washing machine by one cycle per week could save up to £8 a year. And only filling the kettle with the water you need saves up to £6 a year.
All this adds up to a potential saving of £35 a year.
It isn’t always easy to step out of the shower. It can be cold on the other side. And sometimes you just want to sing and sing. But spending one minute less in the shower can save £8/ person/ year. And if you have a water meter, you’ll save even more.
If everyone in a four-person household did this, it could save £75 a year.
Do you keep your thermostat above 20°C? If so, you’re not alone: according to USwitch, 70% of UK households have their heating on at least that high. But if you were to turn your heating down by 1°C, it could bring your bills down by 10% (and you probably won’t even notice the difference).
On average, turning your heating down just 1°C can save up to £80 a year.
According to our old friends at the Energy Saving Trust, washing clothes at 30°C instead of 40°C uses around 40% less energy over a year. It’s still important to do the odd hot load to kill bacteria in your machine – but 30°C is absolutely fine for an everyday wash.
And it could save up to £52 a year.
Add these up and we’re looking at a potential saving of £277 over the year. Of course, these numbers are all estimates and every home will be different. But still – they should give you a good idea of the sort of impact you can have on your energy bills without making too much effort.
All savings provided by the Energy Saving Trust. Savings quoted based on a typical three-bedroom semi-detached gas heated house, with an 88% efficient gas boiler and average gas tariff of 3.83p/kWh and electricity tariff of 16.47p/kWh. Emission savings include all scopes and greenhouse gases expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent. Correct as of June 2021 and valid for one year.
You can make all the tips above part of your daily or weekly routine – and it won’t cost you a thing. But if you want to heat your home even more efficiently, there are lots of devices out there that can help you become more energy efficient.
With a smart thermostat you can control your heating from your phone so it’s easy to make sure it’s off when it needs to be – so you don’t waste energy. You can set schedules, so it goes on and off at the right times, while some smart thermostats even alert you if you leave the heating on by mistake.
Smart thermostats generally cost upwards of £100. Hive, Nest and Tado are some of the brands to look out for.
From September 2021, the government will ban halogen, then fluorescent light bulbs. Now is the time for the mighty LED! They last 40 times as long as a standard bulb, produce a lot of light at a very low wattage and come in all the usual sizes and fittings.
A standard bulb starts at around £3 but you can often save by buying them in multipacks.
If you have an older power shower, fit a water-saving shower head. They reduce the amount of water flowing through them without you noticing a thing. (Just remember they are not designed for electric showers.)
Water-saving shower heads start at around £12 and they’re easy to install yourself.
It’s nothing new to say that by lowering our energy bills we lessen our impact on the environment. But the act itself could be pretty revolutionary because making changes together to use less energy at home, can make a big difference.
Let’s look at lights for example. We mentioned that halogen and fluorescent light bulbs are being banned. According to the government, this will cut 1.26 million tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent of removing over half a million cars from UK roads. We also talked about turning thermostats down a degree – that could cut a massive 1.18 million tonnes of CO2 every year.
Every step counts.
For more on saving gas, electricity and generally improving your energy efficiency, you’ll find a helpful guide here.
If you want to lower your bills, changing your heating habits is one thing – but having cheaper energy in the first place is a pretty good place to start. If you think you might be paying too much for your energy, we have some very affordable tariffs up our sleeve.
And if becoming more sustainable is important for you we’re big on that too. If you choose one of our fixed price energy tariffs then 100% of our electricity come from renewable sources like the sun, wind and wave power. We also have the Green One tariff which provides carbon neutral gas. We’ll also plant 5 trees in the UK each year you’re on the tariff.
Get a quote today and if you like what you see, we can start switching you straightaway.