Household energy bills have doubled in six years and the latest round of record energy prices will add around £200 extra to pay on “dual fuel” household bills. These increases could not have come at a worse time for most households with family budgets already under huge strain. Here are ten simple steps that homeowners and tenants can take to combat these recent inflation-busting price rises:
- The hot water cylinder thermostat in the home should be set at 60°C or 140°F. Any higher is a waste of energy and could lead to scalding, but any lower and there may be a risk of legionella.
- Insulate the cylinder to avoid wasting energy. Fitting a jacket to the boiler that is at least 75mm thick could save more than £50 each year.
- Most households thermostats are set considerably higher than they need to be to keep the home comfatbly warm. Set room thermostats to no more than 21°C (70°F). Each degree centigrade below this temperature can save as much as 5% on your heating energy.
- Consider fitting one of the new generation of programmable thermostats that let you choose the time you want your heating on and its temperature for all seven days of the week – it means saving energy by not heating your home unnecessarily.
- Unoccupied rooms don’t need to be heated but a little heat will prevent condensation. Thermostatic radiator valves let you control the temperature in each room. TRVs cost around £8.00 each.
- Badly fitted doors and windows mean avoidable heat loss. Draught proofing doors, windows and attic entrances by sealing gaps will help save energy. Similarly a curtain at the front door and heavy, well-fitted curtains at the windows provide insulation and reduce draughts.
- Heat rises and a great deal of heat can be lost through the roof, so upgraded insulation in the roof space can have a major impact on heat loss through the ceiling, typically paying back within two years. Ensure your insulation is at 27cm as this could save you up to £150 a year.
- Switch off standby. Gadgets and appliances left on ‘standby’ waste the equivalent CO2 of 1.4 million long haul flights. Turn off at home and save up to £100 a year on your bills.
- Washing machines use huge amounts of energy. Some machines have low energy programmes – if you reduce the wash temperature from 40 to 30 degrees it can save 40% more energy.
- Take care filling the kettle. If we only boiled the water needed we’d save enough power to light every streetlamp in the country.
For more tips visit www.heatinghelpline.org.uk