How to Reduce Your Energy Bills

So, here we are in the ‘Age of Austerity’. The boom times are but a distant memory and households everywhere are trying to reduce their monthly outgoings. One of the easiest ways of doing this is by changing our bad habits when it comes to energy usage and becoming more aware of how much we waste it! It’s amazing how  quickly the pennies turn into pounds when lights are left on and doors are left open with the heating on full blast. Here are just some of the ways you can reduce your energy usage and help bring down your monthly bills.

The most obvious culprit is the heating – whether you have a gas boiler or electric storage radiators, your heating usage can have a massive impact on your bills and pretty much every household will notice a vast difference in the summer months. If you live in an older house and you’re looking at long term solutions it would be well worth having an energy audit and investing in a new, more efficient heating system.  It’s also essential to make sure your house is properly insulated to avoid losing heat and thus hard earned pounds through the roof, doors and windows. You may have to dip into your savings to overhaul the whole system and replace old windows with double glazing but you’ll be amazed at how much it will save you in the long run. Looking at more immediate solutions, avoid electric fan heaters at all costs as they eat through the Kw as do old electric storage heaters. Without imposing Victorian rules on the house, encourage people to wear warm sweaters and avoid putting the heating on unless you really have to. Though it’s not fair to expect people to walk around in their North Face puffa jackets while indoors, it doesn’t make much sense to be walking around in t-shirts with the boiler raging when it’s frosty outside.

Lighting is another area that we could all do with looking at. By now most people have made the switch to energy efficient light bulbs (though some people might have stocks of the older ones buried at the back of the kitchen cupboard) but not everyone has formed the good habit of turning off lights when we leave the room. How often have you got up from the kitchen table to go and watch TV after dinner and left the light on, or gone to the loo in the middle of the night and woken up to find the bathroom light is still on in the morning. It’s simply a matter of changing the way we think about energy and realizing that every time we waste it, our bill increases needlessly.

Another good habit to get into is that of making sure that all your electrical equipment is switched off at night time. DVD players, TVs, stereos and other appliances left on standby are all wasting energy over night. And mobile phone chargers still use energy if they’re left plugged in when not in use.  Just as you would check to make sure all the doors are locked before you go to bed, doing the rounds and unplugging everything that doesn’t need to be on, will make a big difference to your bill over time.

Finally, think about how you can avoid using things altogether, or only use them when absolutely necessary. If you fancy a cup of tea, only boil enough water for the cup, rather than the whole kettle. Don’t put the dishwasher on until the very end of the day when it’s full, and (during the week at least) have a shower instead of a bath. Little changes like this will all add up to big savings over the year.