Cost of living: Ten tips to give your energy usage a ‘spring clean’ and help reduce bills
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As temperatures start to rise in the coming weeks, it’s time to give your energy habits a spring clean - according to Uswitch. The comparison site has shared ten tips to check, track and change your energy habits in order to save on bills.
Uswitch energy expert Ben Gallizzi said that millions of households will have breathed a sigh of relief when the Government announced the Energy Price Guarantee would remain at £2,500 for the coming three months.
But he added: “The arrival of spring also helps people save money on their energy bills as temperatures begin to rise and many start turning the heating down or off entirely. Energy prices are still high, however, and the monthly £66 energy bill support ends in March, so it is important to manage your energy use even during the spring months.”
Here are ten tips on how to give your energy usage a “spring clean” before the monthly energy bill support from the Government comes to an end.
Check your meter readings are up to date
If you don’t have a smart meter, regularly take meter readings and submit them to your supplier. This makes sure your bill is accurate, and lets your supplier modify your direct debit to match your usage.
Check your heating settings
As it starts to warm up outside you should have less need for your heating. If you have your heating set to come on at specific times, you may soon decide it only needs a boost periodically instead.
It’s also worth checking that the temperature isn’t set too high, and in a few weeks’ time it’s likely that you will be ready to turn it off entirely.
Check your monthly direct debit payments reflect your actual use
If not, inform your provider. This ensures you’re not paying too much or too little. If you feel you have too much credit in your account after your most recent review, you may want to ask your supplier to return some of the excess.
Check what energy support schemes or grants you, or any vulnerable friends or relatives qualify for
If you are struggling with your bills, there may be help available from the Government and energy suppliers depending on your circumstances. Many suppliers have their own customer support funds, with some offering home insulation and energy-efficient white goods.
Track your usage
Although bills are generally lower in the spring, energy costs are still historically high, so it is still beneficial to monitor how much energy you are using. Households looking for an easy way to track their home energy consumption can download Utrack, a free mobile app that offers regular insights into your energy spend and includes useful tips on how to cut energy bills.
Track your usage the old fashioned way if you don’t have a smart meter
Spend a week adding up how many times you use your most energy-intensive appliances, such as your washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher. See if you can save money by running them only when full, or using eco settings and lower temperatures.
Some economy tariffs will charge you less if you run them overnight.
Turn down your radiator valves
Even as temperatures rise, it may still feel cold in the early mornings or evenings for a while. If you only want to warm up certain rooms, turn radiator valves off if they are not needed.
That way you can still heat rooms you use regularly without using as much energy.
Get your boiler serviced
It is important to get your boiler serviced every year to ensure it is safe and operating efficiently. You may want to take the opportunity to have your system flushed out so it is working at its best when you need it again.
An efficient boiler and radiators will help save money on your bills.
Dry clothes outside
Tumble dryers are one of the most expensive household appliances to run, and so drying clothes outside on a dry day is a free alternative. Your clothes will take longer to dry on the line if they are dripping wet, so use your washing machine’s spin cycle to squeeze out the excess water.
Replace bright lights with light nights
As the clocks go forwards this weekend, we’ll finally start to see lighter evenings again. This should mean you’ll have less need for keeping lights on when it’s still light outside.
Get into a good habit of turning light switches off when you don’t need them.