Utility bills only look to keep rising as cheap gas and electricity prices have evaporated recently, so now’s not the time to switch providers, but householders can still pay less by following our hacks and tips.
Energy prices next come under review on April 1, so you have a few weeks to brace yourself for even bigger bills and to make savings.
The average home spends around £1,275 a year on heating, lighting and power, but you will spend less if you switch on to how to save.
How do I start saving on my utility bills?
You can’t make changes unless you understand how you use energy.
Almost every home can save money and feel more comfortable with our tips – and some only take a few minutes to implement.
Beware if you are on an out-of-contract tariff. These rates are among the cheapest currently available but will likely see a significant rise in April.
Check the deals now to see if a cheaper one is available – but don’t fret if nothing better is on the market.
Check your account to:
- Pay by direct debit – it’s generally a little cheaper, but discuss any increases with the supplier to ensure you don’t pay too much.
- Go paperless – some suppliers charge to post paper bills.
- Provide regular readings if you are not on a smart meter – the bills are more likely to be accurate.
Save on Utility Bills with more energy-efficient appliances
You might not see the savings for a while, but upgrading to energy-efficient appliances is an easy way to save big money.
What you save depends on the appliance spec, how often you use it and the purchase price. For example, savings can add up to more than £300 a year for a household.
According to consumer champions Which? the savings are:
- £106 for a tumble dryer
- £76 for a fridge freezer
- £55 for a washing machine
- £39 for an integrated oven
- £32 for a dishwasher
The figures are the best achieved under Which? product testing. The consumer watchdog has some tips on choosing energy-efficient appliances
Stop heat leaking away
Homes lose lots of heat through poorly insulated walls and roofs.
Boffins at the Energy Conservation Trust reckon well-installed insulation will repay the outlay many times over in a 40 year lifetime.
Tests show 25 per cent of a home’s heat is lost through an uninsulated roof. Plumping up the insulation to 270mm could save up to £150 a year in a three-bed semi while beefing up insulation in the walls could add another £200 saving.
Loft insulation is relatively cheap, and although wall insulation is more expensive, both are effective savings.
Change that old boiler
The cost of changing a boiler depends on the make and model. You could even invest in an ultra-efficient air source pump. Energy savings run out to £300 a year for a detached house but could cost several thousand pounds to install.
Expect to pay a shade under £2,000 to replace a boiler.
Beware. Heat source pumps and boilers only save money if the house where they are installed is well insulated. That covers draught-proofing, thermostatic valves on radios, loft insulation and double glazing.
Seeing the light
Replacing those old-fashioned light bulbs with modern energy-saving bulbs can slash electricity bills by up to £180 a year, says Which?
Try switching off the light when you leave the room and consider if you need those garden lights on so much.
Smart home = Lower utility bills
Switching to a smart thermostat to control central heating lets you set the temperature from a smartphone or voice-controlled assistant.
Fitting smart valves to radiators lets householders set the heating to boost or warm specific rooms.
Micromanaging your heating can save up to £75 a year.
Leaving the TV on standby
Televisions, gadgets and appliances all use electricity when left on standby.
It’s a good idea to go around the house and turn them off when not in use to save on the cost of electricity.
Energy provider Utilita says leaving equipment on standby can still consume up to 75 per cent of the energy used when fully working. Switching off at the plug can cost up to £80 a year more.
Switching on to switching off
Small changes in the way everyone uses energy can lead to big savings on gas and electricity bills.
Most of the tips here are cheap and easy to implement. Importantly, the benefits for your pocket and planet are almost instant.
You can find out more about how to save on your utility bills on the Energy Saving Trust’s website.
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