After the mortgage, our utility bills are one of the biggest chunks of our monthly expenditure.
Many of us, of course, know that we should be shopping around for a better deal but, if you’re anything like me, you suspect that any rises or falls in utility costs will eventually spread to all the other utility providers and even out over the long term and you find the thought of switching provider is just too much of a hassle.
But since Which suggest you could save up to £369 by switching your energy provider, it may be well worth while making the change.
In the meantime, there are lots of ways we can reduce our existing utility bills by making a few practical adjustments.
Here are some quick tips:-
* Turn down your thermostat. The Energy Saving Trust say you can save around £90 just by turning your thermostat down 1 degree. Sweaters and hot water bottles can be your new best friends.
* Try a smart thermostat. That way you can control your heating via the internet and could switch it on in time for your return from work, rather than keeping it on all day. Have a look at Nest or Hive.
*Make sure the dishwasher is full before you switch it on or, if you hand-wash, use a bowl to wash up rather than a running tap and save £30 a year in energy bills.
* Fill the kettle with the amount of water that you need and save around £7 a year.
* Reduce your washing machine use by just load per week and save £5 a year on energy, and a further £8 a year on metered water bills.
*Check your windows for draughts. You can buy draught-proofing strips to stick around the window frames which are cheap, and easy to install, although they may not be a long term solution.You can get metal or plastic strips with brushes or wipers attached which are long-lasting, but cost a little more. For windows that don’t open, use a silicone sealant.
*You can also prevent heat loss by using thermal / black-out linings on your curtains (great at helping the kids to sleep too) or by fitting blinds from the company VELUX which have a special heat blocking aluminium coating on the back to retain heat in the room in winter and reflect solar heat in summer.
*Similarly, check your doors for draughts too. Keep doors closed to stop cold air from moving into the rest of the house and if there is a gap at the bottom of the door, use a draught excluder. You can make your own with some spare material or even a stuffed pair of tights.
*Draught-proof your front door by
-getting a keyhole cover (a metal disc that drops over the keyhole)
– fitting your letterbox with a flap or brush
– blocking any gap at the bottom with a brush or hinged flap draught excluder.
*Don’t leave all your gadgets on standby. Switch them off to save £££s.
For more great ideas on how to save money on your utilities, go to www.energysavingtrust.org.uk