Many people are now dealing with a 54% rise in the cost of their electricity and gas.
The new rates will mean huge energy bills for millions of people. Whilst householders can only hope that more Government intervention will take the sting out of the effects of these price hikes, what else can householders in Stroud do to reduce their energy bills?
Accredited domestic energy assessor, Jagdish Patel recommends 20 simple tips to keep you warm, as well as reduce energy usage and cut the cost of your bills.
1. Kill the energy vampires.
These vampires suck energy when appliances are on the stand, drawing energy when the appliance is not in use. Research by British Gas found that households could save 16% on electricity bills annually by switching off their vampire devices.
The top ten vampires with their average annual stand by costs are; Set-top boxes/satellite receivers (£11.78), Internet routers (£9.61), Televisions (£12.49), Microwaves (£8.42), Games consoles (£6.14) Computers (£5.62), Smart speakers/ smart home devices (£4.58), Showers (£5.05), Dishwashers-(£3.52), Tumble dryers (£2.46), Washing machines (£2.43), Printers (£1.95), Mobile device chargers (£0.57).
2. Turn it down.
Just turning down the heating thermostat by one degree can reduce an annual heating bill by up to 10%. The ideal temperature for most people is between 18-21 degrees (though older people may require higher temperatures).
3. Gear up the TRVs.
Set Thermostatic Radiator Valves to keep the rooms you use less, cooler ( i.e. bedrooms ), and rooms you use more, like the lounge, warmer. Make sure you keep the doors closed to the cooler rooms.
4. Dying for a cuppa?
Only boil as much water as needed. Your kettle will not only boil quicker, but be cheaper to run.
5. Size up.
When cooking, use a pan that is the correct size for the ring/hob. Use a lid for the pan, this will heat up food/water quicker and reduce condensation.
6. Zap your meal.
Use a microwave oven to cook food. They use up to 80% less energy than the energy required to run a full-size oven.
7. Your turn to do the dishes?
Wash up dishes in a washing-up bowl. It uses takes less hot water to fill than a sink.
8. Cool the weekly wash.
Reducing a wash from 40 degrees C to 30 degrees C could save you up to 40% on washing costs. A bonus is that clothes will be exposed to less heat and will retain their new look for longer.
9. Load up.
Wash clothes with a full load. The washing machine uses the same amount of energy on half a load as it does on a full load.
10 It’s blowing in the wind.
Dry clothes outside. Tumble dryers are one of the most energy-intensive appliances in the home. Drying outside will reduce condensation in the house and reduce the risk of dampness and mould developing.
11. Come clean.
Use a shower rather than take a bath. Using a low-flow showerhead will further cut the amount of hot water used. Also, if you can, reduce the time spent in the shower. An electric shower is one of the most energy-hungry appliances in the home.
12. In hot water?
Check if your hot water tank thermostat is set no higher than 60 degrees and not on a continuous setting. Also ensure the tank is properly insulated, to 80mm of insulation.
13. All blocked up?
Keep radiators clear by avoiding putting furniture such as a sofa in front of them. They absorb the heat from the radiator, stopping convection currents from warming the room effectively.
14. Sweating it out.
Avoid drying clothes on radiators. This lowers the room temperature and results in your boiler working harder, using more energy, costing more money. It also results in condensation in the house which may lead to damp/mould and potential health hazards.
15. Keep your cool.
Set your fridge at between 3-5 degrees C and defrost regularly to prevent the build-up of ice. Allow food to cool before putting it in the fridge or freezer.
16. It’s curtains!
Use thick curtains at night, especially where there is a draughty door. Also, check the draught-proofing seals of windows and doors.
17. What’s lurking in the attic?
Check your loft insulation. You should have 270mm of insulation. Ensure the loft hatch is also insulated. This may be a DIY job otherwise many professionals offer this service. If you use your loft for storage ensure items are not compressing the insulation. This will reduce its effectiveness.
18. Putting on the energy-saving ritz.
Sport an extra jumper and wear more clothes. It works!
19. Tell Sid?
Perhaps not but you can get impartial expert advice at Simple Energy Advice www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk. This includes available local and national grants, as well as energy-saving advice.
20. Don’t struggle alone.
If you are worried about paying your energy bills or are already in energy debt, contact Citizens Advice www.citizensadvice.org.uk who have a wealth of resources to help.
Jagdish Patel is an accredited domestic energy assessor based in Stroud. After career stops at the Energy Saving Trust and Severn Wye Energy Agency he is currently producing Energy Performance Certificates and Home Energy Saving surveys, providing a tailor-made view of where to achieve energy savings for individual households in Gloucestershire. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org