Everyday ways to cut your energy bills

Everyday ways to cut your energy bills

With savings on the essentials becoming increasingly important for the Blue Light community, we spoke to personal finance journalist, Ruth Jackson-Kirby.

Here are eight tried and tested ways to cut your energy costs.

1. Pay by direct debit

Paying your energy bills by direct debit saves you around 7% a year – that’s £120 off the average annual bill. 

Just keep an eye on your account to make sure you aren’t overpaying and building up a big balance. If you do, reduce your monthly direct debit and ask your provider to refund your balance. Be careful not to do this in summer though, you’ll build up a balance in the warmer months when your usage is lower that will then contribute towards your higher bills in winter.

2. Turn your heating down

Turning your thermostat down by just one degree can make a big difference to your energy bills. The Energy Savings Trust estimate this could reduce what you pay by 10%. The ideal temperature is between 18c and 21c.

3. Cool your wash 

Reducing the temperature, you wash your clothes at is a great way to save money. Setting your washing machine to 30c rather than 40c will still get your clothes clean but far more cheaply. Also, wait until you have a full load before turning your machine on. Doing one less load a week and washing at 30c will save you around £24 a year.

4. Read your meter

Providing your energy firm with regular meter readings means you are only paying for the gas and electricity you use not what your supplier estimates you’ve used. 

5. Boost your insulation

If your home was a boat, it would sink. They are very leaky with heat escaping through the walls, floors and roof. Top up your insulation and you’ll cut your bills as it will take less energy to heat your home. Insulating the loft in a semi-detached home will save you £255 a year on your energy bills, according to Energy Advice London.

Even if you already have some insulation topping it up to the recommended 270mm will save you around £25 a year.

6. Wrap your hot water cylinder

While you are insulating things look at your hot water cylinder. If it has a thin spray foam coating or a 25mm jacket popping an 80mm think British Standard Jacket on it will save you £40 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

7. Change your boiler flow temperature

Got a combi boiler? This heats water to a ‘flow temperature’ before sending it off around your radiators. This is often set at 80c – the factory standard – but changing it to 55c or 60c will make no difference to the temperature of your home but shave 6-8% off your energy bills. That’s a saving of around £135 a year.

8. Ditch standby mode

The Energy Saving Trust estimate you can save £65 a year by turning all your appliances off at the wall. Invest in some smart plugs and you can control them via an app – setting a time for them to turn off, saving you crawling around trying to find that socket.

Did you know that Defence Discount Service members can now get a retail gift card worth up to £60 when switching to a fixed energy tariff with British Gas?

Offer available whether you’re a new or existing British Gas customer changing from a variable tariff to a fixed tariff – click the offer for more details.