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How can I reduce my energy bills?

There are simple things you can do to cut down your energy bills.

Keep an eye on your lights

  • Turn lights off when you leave a room, but not at the expense of your safety. Keep stairs and other areas well lit to reduce the risk of falling. You could save £14 a year just by turning off the lights when you don't need them on.
  • By changing from traditional light bulbs to LED bulbs, you could save between £3 and £6 a year per bulb, depending on the type of bulb you replace.

Switch off appliances now and again

  • Switch appliances off when they're not in use rather than leaving them on standby. This can save around £30 a year.
  • Defrost your freezer every six months - this will ensure it runs efficiently.
  • Many new appliances come with an energy rating. You should choose the best energy rating you can.

Cut down your water bill

  • Shower instead of taking a bath. A short shower can use a third of the amount of water needed for a bath. If you prefer taking baths, consider filling the tub slightly less – the average full bath uses 80 litres of water.
  • Fix any dripping taps. A dripping tap can waste the equivalent of half a bath a week. If you’re on a water meter, a dripping tap could cost an extra £15 per year.
  • Do the washing up in a bowl rather than under running water to save around £25 per year. And only boil the amount of water you need for hot drinks.

Control the temperatures in your home

  • Run the washing machine at a lower temperature too – you can often do everyday washes at 30°C. Washing clothes at 30°C uses around 40% less electricity over a year than washing at higher temperatures.
  • Use your heating controls, such as thermostats and timers, to heat your home without wasting energy.
  • Make sure you keep your living room (or the room you use most) warm during the day while you’re at home at 21°C (70°F) and heat your bedroom to 18°C (64°F) before you go to bed. If there are rooms you don’t use, like a spare bedroom, turn off the radiators in them and close the doors.
  • Keep radiators and heaters clear so hot air can circulate. Don’t forget to draw your curtains and tuck them behind radiators to minimise heat loss.

Have a look at your windows

  • Make sure doors and windows are draught-proofed to avoid loss of heat. Fit draught-proofing strips and draught excluders around doors, sealing gaps around window frames and fitting covers to letterboxes and keyholes. This can save you around £25 a year.
  • Double glazing reduces heat loss as well as noise from outside. You could save up to £80 per year in heating bills if you install it throughout your home. You can choose to double glaze the rooms you use and heat most often to keep installation costs down.

Major energy saving changes for your home

  • If you have no loft insulation, installing 270mm of new insulation could save around £135 a year. Most homes have some loft insulation but often not enough. Topping up your loft insulation will make your home warmer and save you money on your energy bills.
  • If your home has cavity walls (a space between the inner and outer layers of brick) the gap can be insulated. Insulating your cavity walls will make your home feel warmer and in a typical home cavity wall insulation can save around £150 a year.

Help with the cost of energy saving measures

Larger measures can be expensive to carry out, but financial help may be available. The larger energy suppliers are part of a scheme, called the Energy Company Obligation, that may be able to fund or part-fund the work. You can get help from any participating supplier – they don’t have to supply your energy.

Your local Home Improvement Agency or Home Energy Scotland may be able to advise you on making energy efficiency changes to your home or offer a handyperson service to make small improvements such as draught-proofing.

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Last updated: Aug 29 2019

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