This post was written by USwitch.
With gas and electricity prices spiraling, consumers are looking for ways of saving money. As well as establishing an energy saving regime in the home which can reduce the average fuel bill by up to £250 according to the Government it is worth shopping around to compare electricity prices and the cost of gas to get the best deal.
These days, consumers are much less likely to stick with the same gas and electricity supplier long term. With so many energy comparison resources around it is easy to compare gas and electricity prices and find the best deal for your personal circumstances and energy use.
Before you start to compare energy prices make sure you have some of your most recent energy bills to hand, ideally covering a whole year so you know, when you do compare energy prices, how much energy you have used through both the summer and the winter. Using the information will help you to make a more informed energy comparison as you may find some suppliers charge more or less per unit depending on how many units of gas or electricity you use.
When you compare gas and electricity prices, examine the various deals on offer from different suppliers. Many suppliers offer a discount if you take both gas and electricity from them which needs to be taken into account when making an energy comparison. Some will have a price freeze promise in place until a certain date and others may offer a capped charge which will be kick started when electricity prices reach a specified level. It can feel like something of a juggling act when you compare electricity prices and gas prices.
As well as taking the time to compare energy prices you can make substantial savings by implementing energy saving practices in the home which can have the added benefit of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and therefore helping the environment.
Government grants are available to help towards the cost of major energy saving improvements such as installing insulation into your home or having a new, more energy efficient boiler. Many UK homes are not insulated to the recommended level and up to half of a home’s heat can be lost through uninsulated walls and roof, costing up to £145 a year, so it is worth ensuring that you have adequate cavity wall and roof insulation. Grants are also available towards installing renewable energy heating technology in the home such as solar panels, biomass boilers or air, ground or water source heat pumps.
Small changes can also save money. You can save £25 a year by using energy saving light bulbs and switching the light off when you leave a room will add to that saving. Make sure you switch electrical appliances such as TVs and computers off at the power source rather than leaving them on standby.
In the kitchen, only put enough water in the kettle for the amount you need and put lids on pans so the water boils more quickly. Do not leave the fridge door open any longer than you need to and use a microwave rather than an oven to heat small amounts of food. Try to fill the dishwasher or washing machine before starting the wash cycle and normally soiled clothes can be washed effectively in a washing machine at just 30C. Installing an energy efficient boiler could save up to £225 annually and turning the thermostat down could save £50 in a year. The savings from these minor changes alone could fuel 2 million new homes according to the latest government statistics!
So, are you wasting energy and money? What kind of changes can you make in your home?
Excellent advice. Looking for ways to insulate your home is well worth the time, and some of the fixes are not expensive. You can sometimes get a free energy audit form your utility company to tell you where you are losing heat.
@Maggie. Yes you can. We have programs where I live that do just that. We spent some money insulating our pipes last year and we are glad we did. We have a lot less heat loss then we did.
My wife and I had a ‘instant water heater’ installed in the house. Its supposed to cut energy use by over 60%. Most people don’t know that, but having a traditional hot water heater cost so much more just to keep the water heated in the tank.
So one huge step to cutting energy cost, would be to get an instant hot water heater. It doesn’t mean the water is instantly hot, it means the water is heated the second you want to use it.
@Ben. I have seen these things. We have a traditional one right now but I would like to save up and buy an instant one. I have heard good things about them in addition to the amount of energy they save.
Wish we could compare suppliers here in San Diego – we only have one option that as an energy provider.
One energy saving tip I’m yet to try (but I’m intrigued by) is to turn off and unplug your electronics when you aren’t using them. I hear you can save up to 10% doing this.
@60K. Yes, turning of your things when you are not using them really can add up. Try using a power bar and plugging things into there. Then you only have one switch to turn on and off instead of unplugging numerous cords.
We also only have one energy provider where I live and it stinks. I wish we could shop around. I like suggesting this shopping around tip though because there are people who have a choice with who they use.
I changed out the light bulbs a couple of years ago and my electric bill went down. I started using a cold water wash for my laundry and the cost of hot water went down. I use a setback thermostat and my heating and cooling is down.
@Krantcents. I am so glad to hear that you have experienced first hand the benefits of being greener. When you see direct discounts on your energy bills etc. you are much more motivated to keep up with the new changes. We have changed our light bulbs as well and it really does make a difference to that bill every month. Washing in cold water is great too- I find my clothes last a lot longer; they don’t fade as quick.
I’m always trying to watch enegy consumption, but I could be doing better 🙂 My computers are on most of the day and lots of unused appliances stay plugged in.
@Barb. I too am guilty with my computers sometimes- especially at work. The key is to be conscious of it. If we are aware of turning things on and off we will be better at monitoring this. It’s if we are unaware that the wastage really starts to add up.
What I can not understand – is why there is so many restrictions to replace single glazing windows
all of the country. This is completely inconsistent.
I do not really buy energy saving bulbs as well – the light is very dimm and not conforting at all.
Than energy inefficient bulbs are only wasting energy a few months a year, the rest – it is all converted is much needed heat.
I cacluclated and publish our family budget over last four years and energy is only fraction of our budget : -)
Every little helps, of course.
It can get expensive at first but the gains over the long term are still worth it. I actually like the new light bulbs and I like knowing that I am helping the planet using them. To each his own though I guess.
I started thinking about this the other day, as I looked at the utility bills. How many people even know what their energy consumption is in terms of KW hours?
@101. Not many but it is a great way to track usage. Most people don’t pay attention to this though. If it doesn’t show on your bill you can call your company and ask them.
This post gives some helpful hints on how to time energy efficiency improvements and making investments in a clean energy system that will save money powering your home. Check out: http://www.energysage.com/blog/tips-timing-your-clean-energy-investments
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