How to save money on your energy bills
Winter energy bills needn’t be painful – with the help of Octopus Energy, we've put together some simple ways for you to heat your home without breaking the bank
We all know how much energy bills can cost, particularly during the colder months, but saving money is easy when you know how. As well as some handy Mumsnetter money-saving tips, Octopus Energy have given us their advice on keeping your bills low.
1. Go unplugged
Remembering to turn your TV, computer, and kitchen appliances off at the plug can save you between £40-£80 a year. Particularly if your household has loads of gadgets, including however many games consoles, any Bluetooth speakers and the washing machine. It will make a noticeable difference to your energy bill if you (and the children) get into the habit of turning things off completely when they're not being used – just make sure everyone stays clear of the TV switch if you were hoping to record David Attenborough, of course.
2. Don't leave the tap running (and seriously, fix that drip)
A dripping tap is not only annoying, but it could be draining your bank account, too. Although on the whole water is pretty cheap, a dripping tap wastes more than 5,500 litres of water a year, meaning getting that leak fixed could save you up to £5.50 a year.
Sure, that's probably not a life-changing amount, but think how much you could save by not leaving the tap running full-throttle while brushing your teeth – and, ok, it might be easier to leave the tap running when you do the washing up, but if you fill and use a bowl instead you could save up to a combined £90 a year.
When kids wash their hands, just get them to put a bit of water in the sink and use that rather than leave taps running.
We keep a jug of water in the fridge so that we don't run the tap until the water gets cold enough to drink.
3. Check you're not overpaying your energy supplier
One of the easiest ways to save money on energy bills is to check that you're not on a more expensive tariff than you need to be. The process is simple – you just need to put in a few details, like your postcode, current supplier, and payment and contact details. If you are overpaying, it's easy to switch. Your new supplier will handle the switch, there won’t be any loss of supply or any new installations or work at your property, and the process could be done within three weeks.
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.
Over 60% of the UK are still on an expensive, overpriced tariff. Get a quote from Octopus Energy and see how much you could save – switching from a 'Big Six' or other expensive energy supplier could save you up to £244 a year.
Octopus Energy's prices are consistently fair and the price difference between their tariffs is minimal. They're also 100% green, they don't charge early exit fees, and they won gold at the Customer Experience Awards in 2019 (for the second year, no biggy). ________________________________________________________________________________________________________
4. Make full and proper use of your kettle...
…and know which of your household appliances cost the most to run. It's true that tumble driers, kettles and toasters are up there with the most pricey, and this is why you'll have probably been told you should only fill the kettle for the amount of water you'll need. If you fill the kettle to full capacity every time you want a single brew, you'll end up spending five times as much money over the course of a year.
Also, on average, tumble dryers use 2.5 kWh of energy per cycle. Limit your usage to only the winter months, and you'll save yourself £41 a year. If you have room, you can hang your clothes out to dry instead.
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.
We had a tumble dryer when we moved into our house, but when it
blew up broke we dropped our electricity bill vastly by not getting another one.
5. Flip the switch - and use energy-efficient bulbs
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 £50 a year.
An energy-saving light bulb can last up to 10 times longer than an ordinary bulb, and can save you about £50 over the lifetime of the bulb – meaning double the savings with one simple change. Let's say you switched the living room, two bedrooms and both the upstairs and downstairs hallway bulbs – Octopus reckon you'd save yourself £91 a year.
I had a main light in my living room with old-style energy saving bulbs (five bulbs in the one 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.
6. Say goodbye to those bubble baths
Ok, we're not saying you should never take a bath again, but it's widely known that you tend to use much less water if you take a shower instead. And the shorter the shower the better: if you cut the time by just one minute a day, you could save yourself £10 over a year – would you even notice the difference?
If we're totally honest, though, it's often said that fancy modern high-power showers can use as much water in five minutes you'd use filling a bath, so it's also worth looking into the energy efficiency of shower heads to see how yours compares.
A bath will use about a hundred litres of water, and a shower will use a lot less unless you have a drencher head (or stay under until you are pink and wrinkly). It's definitely worth running the shower into a bucket and timing it, to see how many litres per minute it delivers.
I always take showers rather than a bath, and often switch off the shower while applying shampoo, conditioner and body wash, too.
7. Buy energy efficient appliances
For the appliances you simply can't turn off at the wall (fridges and freezers, for example), make sure you buy something which is highly energy efficient so it's not draining money unnecessarily.
When your appliances have run their course and it’s time to replace them, make sure to go for replacements with a high energy efficiency rating. You can find out how efficient an appliance is from the energy label displayed on it. The most efficient products are those rated as “A” and the least efficient are those rated “D”. For example, an A+++ fridge freezer will save you around £19 a year compared to an A+ model.
Fridges use the most energy as they are on 24/7, so definitely try to get an energy efficient one.
8. Wash your clothes at a lower temperature
Doing your everyday laundry at 30 degrees rather than 40 can be a third cheaper, which means savings of up to £52 a year for a larger family household (depending how often you wash). Plus, a cooler load is kinder to your clothes (reducing colour loss and fabric damage) and also much better for the environment.
Don't be afraid to run the occasional hotter load too, though, which you'll need to do for those really muddy washes. An occasional hotter wash helps to keep the washing machine itself clean and bacteria free, too.
I wash all our clothes on 30° and it works perfectly. For really soiled baby things, I used to soak them first for a bit. Don't be scared, it'll do wonders for your bills (and the environment).
9. Put a jumper on
Turning down your heating by just 1 degree could save you up to £90 a year. Surely that's worth popping on an extra layer? Plus, make use of the timer too, so the heating and hot water only come on when you actually need them.
We switch off the heating for 30 minutes every hour and put on another layer. We really don't notice the difference.
Wear layers – for me, an outfit for the office is nowhere near warm enough for the house. Base layers from Uniqlo or M&S are easy to slip under things. Snuggle under a cheap fleece blanket.
10. Investigate where your heat is escaping
Letting heat escape and allowing cold air to come into your home is like chucking pound coins out the window (or at least through that hole they left in the wall when they fitted the new tumble dryer). So make sure any gaps in your walls and all windows, doors and loft hatches are sealed properly, hang thermal or heavy curtains over your windows and doors, and don't forget flaps and draft excluders for your letterbox.
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 could 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.
This winter, Octopus Energy will be helping customers discover where heat is escaping in their homes with a free thermal camera (rent for up to seven days and they’ll also pay the postage to get the camera back to them).
If you don't light a fire check whether there's a draught coming down the chimney. I put a chimney balloon up my chimney last winter and the difference it made is amazing.
About Octopus Energy
In 2016, Octopus entered the market and disrupted the status quo by supplying energy that's good for the planet and your wallet too. Since then, they've picked up around 30,000 customers each month, and now supply energy to over 1.2 million UK homes (and counting). To this day, 92% of their customers rate them as 5* Excellent on TrustPilot, and they’re the only supplier to be recommended by consumer champion Which?.
Their prices are fair and transparent, and they don't lock you into a contract, so you can leave at any time. Plus, all of their tariffs use 100% green electricity, meaning it's good for the planet as well as your bank balance.
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