Five practical steps you can take to reduce your utility bills
No one wants to pay more than they need to for gas and electricity. And yet, so many people are doing just that. Here are five practical steps you can take to reduce your utility bills.
If you’re looking for ways to reduce your utility bills, there’s one simple answer: reduce your usage. But for many of us, beyond switching off lights and devices we’re not using, there’s only so much we can cut down.
However, the good news is that there are some simple, practical steps you can take to try to reduce the amount of power you use without sitting freezing in an unheated house in winter, or washing all your clothes by hand in cold water! Here are five suggestions.
1) Replace your CFL lights with LED
It could take a bit of an investment initially, but replacing your compact fluorescent lamp (CFL – also called compact fluorescent light and energy-saving lights) with LED lights will pay for themselves over the course of time.
LED bulbs might be more expensive, but they’re cheaper than they used to be, and you don’t need to change every bulb in your home at the same time.
And, as well as using less electricity, LED lights will also save you money in the long term by by lasting significantly longer than your bulbs (on an average, LED lights last five times longer than CFL bulbs).
While you’re at it, consider installing dimmer switches for your LEDs too, as controlling the brightness of your lights according to your needs can further lower your power bills.
2) Insulate your home
There are so many ways to insulate your home that that almost every UK household is expected to have at least some form of insulation to make the property more energy efficient.
To check you haven’t missed any money-saving insulation opportunities that are suitable for your home, check you’ve ticked all these suggestions off your list:
- Seal the gaps, cracks and holes in between the window frames and the walls with insulation tape.
- Switch over to double glazed windows.
- Use a draught stopper under the doors.
- Cover up the floors with carpeting or area rugs.
- Install heavy curtains with thermal backing to trap the heat better when they are drawn.
- Open up those curtains to let the warmth in during a sunny day.
- Check the crawl spaces, attics, basements and closets for possible air leakage, and then seal them off.
- Get a jacket for your boiler.
3) Look for utility theft and meter tampering
If you spot someone in your building tampering with the meter, they could be doing it to reduce their gas or electricity bills.
If you do see someone fiddling with the meter, or notice signs like a missing or reversed dial on the meter, or the smell of gas, immediately report it to Stay Energy Safe anonymously by calling 0800 023 2777. A timely call from you could potentially save lives.
As you can guess, the gas and electricity meters are not meant to be tampered with, and when someone does so, the honest tenants and homeowners could end up paying more to compensate for the stolen power.
More seriously, meter tampering and utility theft can cause loss of life, injuries and damage to property in many ways. Here are some of the dangers of meter tampering:
- Gas build-up from leakages often caused due to meter tampering can result in nausea, headaches and loss of consciousness.
- If gas is silently building up in an area, a simple spark can set off devastating explosions and fires.
- Electrocution is a common occurrence with meter tampering.
- Everyone in the building could end up with electronic appliances and power switches that could give them an electric shock.
4) Get your heating and cooling systems serviced periodically
If you want to ensure that your appliances are working as efficiently as possible, get the filters in your HVAC system cleaned and changed every few months. Failing to do so will inevitably raise your power consumption, as the system will have to work harder to push through the dirty filters.
5) A smart thermostat might make a big difference
There are so many programmable and smart thermostats to choose from today, and they do make a difference to your energy bills.
Not only can you programme them to keep the heating to a minimum or stop completely when you’re not home, but newer, smarter thermostats can actually sense movement and adjust the home’s temperature accordingly and constantly, in order to provide the best heating and energy savings at the same time.
How much can you save on your utility bills?
As our dependence on electronic appliances continues to increase, higher electricity bills are sometimes unavoidable. However, if you haven’t already taken the precautions and measures in this article, you might be surprised at the difference you can make in your utility bills.
Photo by Thomas Kelley