How are your energy bills? 11 ways to cut your costs while you work at home

Looking for ways to save money? Here are 11 ways to cut back your bills while you work at home.

We have spent a lot of time in our homes over the last year. The consequence of national lockdowns and then the general “stay at home” rules have an increased reliance on our gas and electricity supply to keep us warm and entertained.

To counter the potential spike in your utility bills, there are some strategies you can employ to take control. Here are the best 11 techniques to try right now.

1) Turn off atandby appliances

According to the Energy Saving Trust, turning off appliances at the plug could save you £30 a year. It might not sound a lot, but you are looking for small gains here. Each strategy will provide a small saving that will gather to be a significant sum.

If you want, you can invest in a plug socket that allows you to switch them on and off from your phone. You could also invest in timer plugs and schedule the off and on.

2) Install a smart thermostat

A standard thermostat allows you to control the temperature for the whole house. A smart thermostat will save you money because you can heat only the rooms that you are using. The technology can learn from usage and set the right temperature at the right time – and all this can be controlled from your phone. 

Energy Saving Trust estimates that with the room thermostats, programmers and thermostatic radiator valves, your savings could amount to £75.

3) Turn the thermostat down

Turn your thermostat down by just 1 degree, and you could save a massive £80 a year in your heating and hot water costs.

4) Update your appliances

A lot of work has been done to make appliances for our homes more energy-efficient. Each item in your home comes with a rating. Ideally, you want an A+++ rating. If you change your washing machine from an A+ to an A+++, you will save £65 over the product’s lifespan, so about £6 a year.

Do the same with a fridge-freezer, and you could be looking at a saving of nearly £32 a year. A newer dishwasher will save you £7 a year over an older model. 

5) Install a new boiler

Upgrading your boiler from a G-rated to an A-rated product could save you about £300 a year. Keep this boiler in top condition and serviced every year, and you could get a return on the investment of a new boiler within 4 or 5 years and help protect the environment at the same time.

6) Lower washing machine temperatures

We wash most clothes when they are not dirty as in need of a refresh. Clothes without ingrained dirt can easily be washed at 30 degrees rather than 40 degrees. If you put on one cycle a week, you will save £5 on your energy bills over a year.

7) Save water

If you wash in a bowl rather than running a tap, you will save £25 a year. If you buy an energy and water-efficient showerhead, you will save £18 per person. If you fit a timer to your shower to reduce the length of time people use water, you can save £7 per person per year.

8) Double glazing

Most new homes come fitted with double-glazing, which insulates your home. Keeping this double-glazing maintained could save someone in a semi-detached house about £110 a year.

9) Draft excluders

Any draughts coming into your home will force the heating to work harder to maintain the temperature. Therefore, using draught-proofing kits can make a big difference to your bills. If you stop cold air coming in through doors, floors, skirting boards, unused chimneys, and the letterbox, you can save about £35 a year.

10) Roof insulation

Heat rises and can escape through your roof. Recently, the Government ran a campaign offering grants to have lofts insulated. Consequently, it is possible to have this done for free, and you can expect to save £135 a year on your fuel bills.

11) Consider switching your energy deal 

Finally, make sure that the deal you are currently on is the best one. Often the best deal a year ago is not the best deal now, so it’s important to regularly check PECO electricity rates and compare your energy deal. For those who are keen on exploring cost-effective options, diving into sources that offer cheap electricity can often uncover deals and rates that may have previously been overlooked.

Using an accredited site will ensure you aren’t paying more than you need to, and with savings into the hundreds when switching electricity and gas suppliers, you can really see a big reduction in your bills.

How can you reduce your energy bills?

There are lots of small and effective ways to counteract the cost of your energy usage, and many others which may require a little investment but pay for themselves in the long run.

What is important is that you don’t need to simply accept the price of your bills as the only option. Rather, you can take control of your energy usage and make it work for you the best it can.

Aodhan O’Donnell is the founder of Power to Switch, a free to use, independent price comparison service for home energy in Ireland. 

Photo by he gong