10 ways to save on energy bills

Winter energy bills needn't be painful - here are some tips for heating your home without breaking the bank

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1. Say goodbye to baths

Modern high-power showers can use as much water in five minutes as it takes to fill a bath, so it's worth considering energy-efficient shower heads. A family of four could save about £65 a year on their gas bills. Shorter showers save money too: if you cut the time by just one minute a day, you could save £10 over a year.

"I always take showers rather than a bath and switch off the shower while applying shampoo, conditioner and body wash."

2. Tackle the chimney

If your house has a chimney but you never light a fire in it, make sure the chimney is blocked: heat can escape easily that way, and draughts can come down. You can cap the chimney, or, if you do light a fire occasionally, buy an inflatable chimney balloon - just don't forget <eek> to remove it before lighting the match.

3. Draught-proof EVERYTHING

Letting heat escape, or allowing cold air to come in, is simply a waste of money. Make sure all your windows, doors and loft hatches are sealed properly. Thermal or heavy curtains can help, too. And don't forget flaps and draft excluders for your letterbox! 

"Keep your curtains shut. I can't believe how many people leave them open!"

4. Go unplugged

Remembering to turn off your TV, computer, and kitchen appliances at the plug can save £30 a year. If you buy a standby saver, you can turn them all off with one switch. (If you want to record War and Peace, of course, you'll need to leave the television plugged in...)

"Switch everything off. Microwaves can use more electricity per year running their clocks than they use to cook." 

5. You can't beat a bowl

Yes it is easier to leave the tap running when you do the washing up. If you use a bowl, though, you could save £30 a year in energy bills.

6. Make full and proper use of your kettle

Fill the kettle with just enough water for your needs - the savings could add up. Try to use the kettle to boil water for cooking, too; it's quicker and uses less energy than the hob.

"If we are going to be at home during the daytime I boil the kettle in the morning and fill up a flask with the water. I use that water for any hot drinks we want during the day instead of switching the kettle on every time."

7. Embrace large laundry loads

The inevitable piles of dirty washing can actually help you save on your energy bill, if you always put a full load in the machine and use the economy setting wherever possible. With modern washing powders, you can also usually choose a lower temperature for your washing than it says on the label. If you can cut back by just one load a week, you could save £5 a year.

8. Flip the switch

How many times have you told the children to turn off the lights when they leave a room? If they (and you) can get into the habit, you could save at least £50 a year. In addition, an energy-saving light bulb lasts up to 10 times longer than an ordinary bulb, and can save about £50 over the lifetime of the bulb. Consider also replacing halogens with LED spotlights - they're even more efficient. 

"I had a main light in my living room with old style energy saving bulbs (five bulbs in the fitting), but when I got an energy monitor I saw just how much electricity it was using. I now use a table lamp with an LED bulb which doesn't even register on the monitor, and gives a nicer light."

9. Put a jumper on

Turn your room thermostat down by just one degree and you could save about £90 a year. Be honest - would you really notice the temperature difference? Make use of the timer, too, so the heating and hot water only come on when you need them. 

"We switch off the heating for 30 minutes every hour and put on another layer. We really don't notice the difference."

10. Switch and save

You could save over £200 a year by switching energy supplier. It's easy to compare offers - MoneySuperMarket™'s comparison website can find you the best deal in minutes.

"Spend some hours checking you've got the best deals on all utilities, insurances (usually best done at renewal time for insurance or you get charged hefty 'admin' fees), as well as bank accounts and credit cards."

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Last updated: over 2 years ago