Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Five ways to save money on your energy bills

Insulate your home

There's no point in spending money heating your house if it is simply leaking into the atmosphere, so make sure your home is as insulated as possible. According to the Energy Saving Trust, cavity wall insulation is the most effective energy-saving measure you can take.

This simple measure, which involves injecting foam into the gap between your walls, can save £110 a year. There are grants available for installing this, especially if you are over 60. Try the Energy Saving Trust's grant search tool on www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

Loft insulation, which saves around £40 a year on the average house, can also be installed at a subsidised cost, if you can get a grant. Most homes have some loft insulation, but normally fall short of the recommended level of 220mm.
Switch to the cheapest provider

The biggest change you can make to energy bills is by making sure you are on the cheapest tariff for gas and electricity. This won't make any difference to the quality of the energy supplied to you, but it could make a vast difference to the cost.

Give your boiler an MOT

If you buy boiler insurance cover you may get a service with it – however, this has risen by as much as 20pc since last year and now costs between £150 and £200, so it pays to check whether you really need it.
If your boiler is really old and does need replacing, it may pay to do it sooner rather than later. The Energy Saving Trust calculates that the difference between gas bills from a home with an old boiler to one with an ultra-efficient new one is as much as £225 a year for an average three-bedroom semi. Getting a new one sorted before winter kicks in could be sensible if you know that yours is on its last legs.

Keep an eye on your usage

Some companies, are energy monitors out free to customers; or you can buy one from theOwl.com for from just over £20.

These can be attached to your electricity meter, and can act as a powerful incentive to switch off lights and appliances by showing you exactly how much your usage is costing.

Studies suggest you could save 5pc of your electricity bills by using one, although of course this is a behavioural saving – you won't get cheaper bills just from looking at the monitor.

Sadly, these do not yet exist for gas meters.

Stop up the gaps

You can also increase your winter comfort factor by blocking draughts, especially if you have single-glazed windows. Just fitting draught stripping across your doors could save you £25 in winter. Even when the figures sound unimpressive, don't underestimate the extra comfort that thick curtains, draught excluders and other cheap measures can bring.

Rosalyn Dungate, of the Energy Saving Trust, suggests blocking cracks between floors and skirting boards with material, newspaper or decorator's caulking, a cheap home-made solution that could save money and make life far warmer.

Plenty of heat is also lost through your chimney if it is open, so if you're not having fires, try using a chimney balloon to seal it. These are easily deflated and removed.

full article

No comments: