The Top 17 Ways To Reduce Your Energy Bills

The Eco Experts
Electricity bills

Energy prices are soaring – and they show no sign of coming down for at least another two years.

The UK energy sector took a huge hit in 2021, after a year of renewable shortages, higher demand for natural gas, and one very long winter. On top of this, Russia has now started restricting its natural gas and oil supply because of the war in Ukraine – meaning most of the world is now seeing record-high energy prices.

So if you’re one of the many people around the world watching your gas and electric bills shoot up, check out some of our tips below on how best to reduce those costs.

Smart application

1. Insulate everything

The UK housing stock has an insulation problem – around 19 million homes across the country are rated D or below in their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

To avoid unnecessary heat loss and seal in that much-needed warmth, insulate these four areas:

  1. Roof and loft – A quarter of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home, but by installing roof and loft insulation, you could save up to £225 a year on bills.
  2. Walls – A third of all heat in an uninsulated home escapes through the walls. Homes either have cavity or solid walls – by insulating cavity walls, you could save up to £255 a year on energy bills, whilst solid wall insulation could save you up to £435 a year.
  3. Tanks, pipes, and radiators – You can save up to £85 a year on your energy bills by fitting insulation around your boiler tank, pipes, and radiators.
  4. Floors – Sealing the gaps between floors and skirting boards can save you up to £70 a year on energy bills.

2. Light up your home with LEDs

Worrying about your energy bills each time you flip the light switch? If you haven’t already, try swapping your bulbs for LED lights – they’re much more efficient and will reward you with cheaper electricity.

Although they’re a bit pricier, LEDs have an average life of 20,000 hours, compared to an incandescent bulb’s 1,000 hours.

Simply LED estimates that homeowners could save £153.40 each year by swapping just one bulb for an LED. This is because an LED light bulb costs roughly £5.40 up front plus £19 in energy costs, equalling £24.40 over its lifetime. In comparison, incandescent bulbs cost £25.80 plus £152 in lifetime energy costs, totalling £177.80.

3. Block any draughts

Anyone living in a draughty house will constantly be reaching for the thermostat during colder months. But by making sure you seal any draughty gaps around the house, you could save up to £50 on energy bills each year.

As well as checking the obvious spots for draughts, such as windows and doors, you should also check:

  • The letterbox
  • The chimney
  • Floorboards
  • Extractor fans

4. Look after your fridge

A fridge is one of the biggest energy-guzzling home appliances – and it’s not like you can just turn it off when you’re not using it, either.

Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to make sure your fridge isn’t eating away at energy, including:

  • Keeping it in the right place – If your fridge is located near a window or the oven, chances are it’s absorbing a lot of heat, and will have to put in some extra elbow grease to keep your food cool.
  • Filling it up – When you have a crowded fridge, each item's temperature impacts the temperature of the items around it, causing a domino effect. You can make this even stronger by defrosting food in the fridge instead of on your kitchen worktop – the rest of the items in your fridge will cool down much faster.
  • Not putting warm food in it – By contrast, the biggest way you might be wasting energy with your fridge is by putting warm leftovers inside it, causing it to churn out more energy than it needs to.
  • Keeping it clean – Give the coils at the back of the fridge a wipe every now and then. This will prevent a build up of dust, which will help your fridge to work as efficiently as possible.

5. Use high-energy appliances at off-peak times

Since the price of energy is going up with all UK suppliers, homeowners might need to get tactical about when they should use high-energy appliances.

Off-peak times vary depending on the supplier, so it’s worth checking this before you start. But they typically fall between 10pm and 8am, since this is when there is the least demand for electricity and gas. However, it’s worth noting that this doesn’t apply to anyone on a fixed tariff.

6. Talk to your energy supplier

Under normal circumstances, we’d recommend switching suppliers if your bills are too high. However, the energy market is very turbulent right now, and with a lot of companies going bust, switching suppliers might land you with an even higher bill.

Martin Lewis has stressed to households: “Do nothing. Energy prices are rising, energy firms are falling. The cheapest firms are £500 a year higher than just a month ago. People are panicking. Do nothing – inaction is now the best action.”

What you can do, however, is talk to your current energy supplier about whether you can go on a cheaper tariff.

For example, E.ON recently offered its customers a one-year fixed tariff that lets them avoid additional price rises in October. Unfortunately, this quickly sold out and is no longer available, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for any similar tariffs in the future.

7. Replace worn out windows

Roughly 40% of your home’s energy escapes from the windows. So if your home is fitted with either single-glazed or worn-out double-glazed windows, then your energy bills will suffer the consequences.

Although it might be a pricy investment, with the average double glazed window costing £640, installing energy efficient windows could save you between £223 to £477 per year.

8. Give your radiators space to breathe

Radiators aren’t very effective when things are blocking them. So if you want to reap the rewards of your radiators, check out our top tips below:

  • Move your furniture around – Having furniture in front of your radiators can block heat off from the rest of the room, which means you’ll miss out on the full potential that your radiators have to offer.
  • Fit reflector panels behind your radiator – These thin sheets of metal reflect 95% of the heat energy radiated from the rear of your radiator back into the room. You can find radiator panels on various online sites, as well as in-store homeware shops, for as little as £5.
  • Don’t leave clothes on your radiators – This causes a similar effect as blocking your radiators with furniture. By draping clothes on a radiator, you’re restricting how far its heat can travel.

9. Use smart appliances

It’s estimated that having a smart home can save you anywhere between 1% and 15% on your bills

Although you might not be able to transform your property into a full-blown smart home straight away, even a few swaps will still make a difference.

Some of the best energy-bill-busting tools include:

  • Smart meters – These handy devices record a household’s electrical energy consumption, using a digital display to show live updates on how much energy you're using. This improved awareness of energy usage often leads people to cut their consumption. Throughout the month, your smart meter will let you know if you’re on track to hit your target – helping you to change your habits and lower your bills. Plus, it’s free from the government – simply contact your energy supplier to get one installed at no cost.
  • Smart thermostats – By connecting your boiler to your smart thermostat and its app, you can reduce the amount of energy your house is consuming and save up to 23% on your energy bills. This app also lets you adjust the temperature as you wish, even while you’re away from home.
  • Smart plugs – You can connect these devices to an app on your phone, and control when an appliance turns on and off. You can even program set times for it to switch on when you’re out of the house. Similarly, you can get smart power strips – these look like traditional power bars, but they can monitor and control power to each electrical outlet.
  • Smart switches – These switches work by reducing the amount of power that’s generated through light switches. Similar to smart plugs, you can connect these to various apps, which allow you to control and adjust the amount you use them. No more fumbling around for the light switch in the dark!

10. Download some helpful apps

There’s an app for everything these days, and as more people become energy conscious, more energy efficiency apps have become available.

These simple tools educate you on how and when you are using your energy at home – and more importantly, how you can do better.

Check out our top energy efficiency apps below:

  • Joulebug – This app helps you track how much energy you’re using, and how you’re using it. Got a competitive side? You can also challenge your friends to join in the fun!
  • My Earth – My Earth offers guidance on all things eco. As the user works through activities, they collect carbon units, which act as visual motivation – the more carbon units they collect, the bigger the iceberg on the app grows.
  • Smappee – This app requires you to connect a clip-on sensor to your fuse box, which allows the app to detect all of the electrical devices in your house. It delivers real-time readings of energy use from each device, and lets you control each device from the app. It’s perfect for people with busy lives.
  • Energy Cost Calculator – This app gives you a detailed overview of how you’re using energy in your home each day, week, or month. Although this sounds simplistic, its user-friendly site gives it that extra edge.

Want to discover more helpful tools? Check out our page on The 11 Best Apps For Greener Living.

11. Consider landscaping your garden

Placing just three trees in a garden around your property can reduce energy use by up to 30%. What’s more, this technique works both in the summer and in the winter.

During hotter months, trees shade a property from the sun’s glare. By planting trees at the east, west, and northwest sides of your home, you can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 35%.

That said, cooling down isn’t really our biggest priority here in Britain. Luckily, landscaping can also help during the colder months. When the weather is a bit chillier, any trees and shrubbery around your house can create natural insulation, helping that extra bit to keep your energy bills down, and the temperature in your house up.

It’s worth bearing in mind that, if you plant a tree now, it’ll take years to grow and provide you with its full energy-saving potential.

12. Use your kettle sparingly

Us Brits love a cuppa. Altogether, we drink approximately 100 million cups a day – that’s almost 36 billion per year. But how much is this costing us?

If you’re one of those people with a habit of overfilling your kettle, it can cost you £58.40 per year. If you were to fill the kettle for just two cups each time, it would only cost you £11.68 a year.

13. Use your washing machine strategically

It may be easier than cleaning your clothes by hand, but the washing machine is one of the most energy-consuming appliances in the home.

However, you can cut back on the amount of energy your washing machine gets through with two simple changes: opt for a 30-degree cycle instead of higher temperatures, and cut back to washing one day per week.

These two simple swaps can save around £28 a year. 

14. Take a less wasteful approach to hygiene

Keeping clean doesn’t need to cost the world. According to the Energy Saving Trust, by cutting your shower time down to just four minutes, you can save an average of £65 a year on energy bills.

And if you can’t get enough of your relaxing baths, remember that even swapping just one bath a week for a four-minute shower could save you £11 a year on your energy bills.

15. Buy energy efficient appliances – if you can

If one of your old appliances comes to the end of its life, try replacing it with the most energy efficient model. According to a Which? 2022 study, swapping power-guzzling kitchen appliances for energy-saving models could save you up to £308 a year.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the most energy efficient appliances are often the most expensive, which means not everyone will be able to afford them. But if you can put some money aside for these appliances, you’ll find that they have a longer life and will reward you with lower bills.

Which appliance could save you the most money by simply opting for the most energy efficient model?

  • Tumble dryer – £106
  • Fridge freezer – £76
  • Washing machine – £55
  • Built-in oven – £39
  • Dishwasher – £32

16. Consider solar panels

Not everyone will be able to afford this one, but if you can splash some cash on a new set of solar panels, you’ll save money on energy bills for years to come.

On average, homeowners will have to pay £5,760 for a solar panel system big enough to power a three-bedroom, semi-detached home. Although this sounds like a lot, buyers can break even in roughly 11.7 years, thanks to the £330 they’ll save each year on energy bills – or £6,600 over 20 years.

17. Avoid overusing your oven

Using your oven and hob for just one hour a day could cost you approximately £109.50 a year. Although it’s pretty hard to avoid using your oven, there are a few simple ways you can reduce the amount of energy it churns out whilst you’re using it:

  • Match pots and pans with the different sized stove plates on the hob – it’ll take longer to heat a large pan up on a small stove plate
  • Switch off the stove plates or oven before food is fully cooked – this allows you to finish your cooking without using energy
  • Try to avoid opening the oven door to check on the food, as it will release heat, meaning your oven needs to use more energy
  • Use ceramic pans, since they retain heat better than metal ones
  • Don’t leave any metal pans in your oven, as they will absorb all that precious heat

Alternatively, you could also use a slow cooker – some models typically use the same amount of energy as a lightbulb.

Summary

Not everyone will be able to afford to carry out some of these tips – right now, lots of people will be struggling to pay energy bills, let alone replace their windows or buy solar panels. But hopefully this list will give you a good starting point on how to reduce your energy bills.

Even by signing up to a few energy apps, installing a free smart meter, or blocking draughts, you could knock a couple hundred pounds off your energy bills each year.

Beth Howell Writer

Beth has a real passion for green living. She’s been absorbed in eco research for over three years, and has become quite the expert. Whether you’re after a new set of solar panels, a home energy improvement, or you want to catch the latest eco news, she’s got your back.

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