How to Reduce Electricity Bills?
In this article we will be providing you with direct advice to help you with reducing your gas and electricity bills. Your energy bill is a direct result of the energy use of your home so reducing the amount of energy that your home is using will directly contribute to reducing the cost of living for yourself.
There are many ways to save money on electricity and gas, whilst the traditional advice often revolves around gimmicky features to save like introducing a smart meter in your home that monitors energy usage in real time, is this really the best way to save you money?
The answer is probably not, there are some things you can do right now to help you make small savings that build up over time and are multiplied exponentially as the price of electricity and gas increases!
We have made a handy list to help you save based on each part of your home. Naturally the the amount you could save on your energy bill will depend entirely on your tariff. There are so many tariffs and each energy supplier has different ones, that is really one of the first places to start when it comes trying to spend less on energy bills.
How to find out what Energy Tariff you are on?
Energy bills from all the major suppliers will have details of the energy tariff you are on. For example the one above is from British Gas and the tariffs details are marked 5 and 6. The website myutilitygenius.com has a great tool to help you find your tariff details in the bills of all major energy supplier.
Now that you know what tariff you are on, you can figure out how much you are paying for energy. Electricity is charged for in units that are called Kilowatt Hours or kWh, when you buy any electrical product like a laptop, hairdryer or washing machine you can find the number of watts that the appliance is expected to use. Each kilowatt is made up of one thousand watts, you multiply the watts by the amount of time (in hours) that you are keeping the appliance turned on to get the kWh usage.
Heating and Thermostats
If you have an electric boiler, or rely on electric heating in your home, then there are a couple of ideas you can use to save some energy. The primary measure you can take is to ensure that you have effective insulation throughout the home, or if your budget is tight then in the rooms that you occupy most frequently.
Prepare for winter by taking these measures now, the first thing to think about is how your home loses heat. The main way is the efficiency of the radiators being used, now there is not much you can do about the radiator itself without spending big money, but you can use measures such as this "Radiator Reflector" by Radstik. Placed behind the radiator on the wall, this reflects the additional heat created by the radiator so that it is not wasted by being absorbed the wall. Using this reflector, you can ensure that up to 95% of the heat energy being produced by the radiator is reflected into the room to be heated, which means that this item can pay for itself in less than a year, it is very discreet (hidden behind the radiator), installed in minutes and is approved by Ofgem.
Of course we all know that windows are the primary means heat uses to escape any home. This can be reduced by using thermally insulated curtains, depending on the material used, thickness and how they are hung, these kind of curtains can reduce energy loss through the windows by up to 25%. You can find plenty of examples of thermally insulated curtains on Amazon.
You can couple the curtains with special window film (think window tinting but for heat not light), this can really work to reduce the heating loss through your windows when combined together. From under £20 per set of windows, this is an investment that will pay for itself in a winter or two, Tesa Moll Thermo Cover is one that we have used that has proven itself to be quite good at reducing thermal loss. You can find direct links to all the products recommended at the end of this blog article (click here to skip there).
If you are planning on redecorating, or repainting rooms in your home, you might want to consider using thermal insulating paint or insulating paint additive. The difference between these two products it the insulating paint is a stand-alone paint you can use by itself as a normal paint for the wall and ceiling, whereas the paint additive is a clearless chemical mixture that you add to the paint you were going to use anyway. In both cases you will get significant increases in insulation which will result in a measurable reduction in your heating costs, as well as reducing unsightly and toxic mould which can develop due to damp.
Of course the biggest energy saving opportunity in the kitchen is how you cook your food. The recent advent of air fryers has created the opportunity to cook food quicker and using less electricity than a conventional oven.
Cooking with an Air Fryer
This article in the Mirror shows an experiment that used a smart meter to test the electricity usage of cooking the same meal (cauliflowers) using an air fryer and a conventional oven, the time it took in an air fryer was 15 minutes at a cost of 20p, whilst an oven took 41 minutes and cost 42p. With each meal you cook the amount you save would increase exponentially.
When looking at air fryers, make sure you know the wattage rating, and ensure that they include air circulation as this will evenly cook food in a quicker time, this one from Tower comes highly recommended as it has none of the 'smart' gimmicky features that tend to inflate the costs with little difference to the food produced. A huge variety of resources exist on youtube and many other websites about cooking with air fryers which include using this exact mode, including recipe ideas and step by step instructions.
Your Extractor Fan
Check the energy efficiency rating of your extractor fan, installing a more energy efficient extractor and fan is a good way to reduce your energy usage and cut your electricity bills. Many of the newer extractor fans for both kitchens and bathrooms are rated 7.5W, which are quite efficient, this Blauberg Extractor is 100mm and 7.5W energy usage.
Some older models of extractors can use up to 36W, so reducing it to 7.5W if that is case represents a saving of up to 80% for an appliance that can be switched on for quite a few hours a day which could save quite a bit on your energy bill and reduce the cost of living.
The Energy Saving Trust Register
The energy saving trust register can help you choose appliances for the kitchen, you can visit their website at energysavingtrust.org.uk and see everything from a tumble dryer, washing machine, fridge, light bulbs and many more all ranked by the energy use.
The website is also a good resource for energy saving tips with advice on how you could save on your energy bills on both gas and electricity, whether you are affected by the recent price cap or not. It is always better to opt for appliances that use less energy as that helps you save money and reduce your energy usage, especially for the appliances like tumble dryers and washing machines that you are obligated to use in your daily life but that add significantly to your energy bill.
Family Cooking Habits
One of the biggest things you can do in the kitchen to save energy is to plan your meals so that the most number of people in your household can eat together. Far from being an attempt at social engineering better family relations, this is actually a significant energy saving measure that also helps you save money and reduce the cost of living. Cooking multiple meals for individual persons consumes about 4x per person more energy than cooking a 4 person meal which means you could save about 25%
Small changes to the way you cook can also help, try to reduce the number of times you open your oven door to check on things that are cooking, this helps avoid the reduction in temperature inside the oven. Heating your water in a kettle and then pouring it into the pot you are using for cooking is one of the ways to reduce the amount of energy use for cooking, and try to always use the lids for the pots and pans you are using to cook to keep the heat inside.
Other Parts of the House and Garden
One of the best energy saving tips that you can implement throughout your home that could save significant amounts on your energy bills is the usage of energy saving lightbulbs throughout the home and in the garden. These low energy light bulbs for example can last up to 10 years, and use 11W to generate the equivalent light that you would expect from a 60W light bulb.