A national campaign, helping you to reduce your energy bills
As this week is the Citizen’s Advice Bureau’s Big Energy Saving Week, I thought this might be a good time to look at some of the ways that you, as a tenant, could potentially make some savings on your energy bills. Big Energy Saving Week is a national campaign, run in collaboration with the Department of Business, Energy and Strategy, together with the Energy Saving Trust (supported by numerous organisations, charities and businesses) and it’s all about helping you to cut your bills and ensuring that you receive whatever financial support and advice you may need.
So, what can you realistically do to make a difference? How can you reduce your energy bills?
Here are my top tips to help you save money on your energy bills:
Use LED light bulbs instead of halogen. Although at first glance they seem more expensive to buy, they last substantially longer and use up to 85% less energy than a halogen equivalent. This means that you will be changing bulbs far less frequently, which has the knock-on benefit of being more environmentally friendly as well as saving you a few pounds. Remember to switch off the lights when you leave the room too.
Switch off, not stand-by
Switch off electrical appliances, such as televisions, computers and hi-fis, when they are not being used. According to the Energy Saving Trust, 9-16% of energy in homes is used by power appliances left on stand-by when not in use. If you find it too inconvenient to be switching on and off throughout the day, make a start by switching off properly at night when you go to bed.
Use less water
This can be quite easy to do. Don’t leave taps running unnecessarily (especially when cleaning your teeth or doing the washing up), maybe spend a little less time in the shower and don’t fill the bath quite so full. If you’re watering your garden in the summer, turning down the power on the hose will use substantially less water. Also, if you are watering outdoor plants, use rainwater collected in a water-butt, rather than a hose or tap water. Other water savings can be made by using the dishwasher and washing machine in energy-saving/short cycle mode.
Maximise your heating system
If you find that you are sitting in a warm room in a T-shirt, maybe consider turning the heating down and layering up clothes. Don’t have the heating on in the whole house if you are predominantly using only one room and remember that you don’t need to heat the house if you are not there. Kitchens are often the warmest rooms in the house if the oven and hob are in constant use, so even if you have a radiator there, you may not need to use it. If there are room thermostats and/or a programmer, these will help you to control the flow of heat so that it is only on when you need it. The use of smart technology is also becoming increasingly popular these days, enabling you to control your heating even when you are at work, on the train, or in the car. Bleeding the radiators will also help them to work at maximum efficiency.
Plug the draughts
If there are draughts in your property, do what you can to plug them such as using draught-excluders, putting down a thick rug on a cold floor and keeping the windows closed on a cold day. If you are losing heat through a chimney or because of poor insulation in the walls or loft, you may be able to approach your landlord to do something about this.
A good understanding of your energy bills will help you to decide where you can best make savings. Take a look at some of the resources listed below, and if your bill is more expensive than you think it needs to be, consider switching energy supplier. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau’s website has a good energy price comparison tool and will also advise you on how to access any discounts or grants that may be available to you.