Save money on energy bills
Small changes to your daily habits, or small changes to your home can help you reduce how much energy you use, and save you some money.
We've put together these helpful tips to help improve energy efficiency in your home and save money on your bills.
Choosing your supplier
By law your electricity supplier has to tell you if you could save money by changing to another tariff. However, this may not be easy to find on your monthly bills.
There is no harm in contacting your supplier to ask them directly, they'd be glad to help you if it means you don't take your business elsewhere.
It pays to shop around to compare your energy supplier's rates with the marketplace:
There are free online comparison sites which can make this very quick and easy.
You could consider joining a collective switching scheme.
These use collective buying power to access highly competitive tariffs.
Participation is completely free with no obligation to switch your current energy tariff or energy provider.
Examples of collective schemes in Kent include:
Heating your home
This keeps warmth in the room and reduces the amount of heat lost through windows.
Opening your curtains to let the sun in during the day will also help to heat rooms naturally.
Make sure that long curtains do not cover the radiator as this will direct heat to the windows. Instead tuck the curtain behind the radiator.
If there are rooms in your home that aren’t in use, turn off the radiator and close the door to keep the warmth in the rest of the house.
Central heating works by circulating hot air around the room, which rises before sinking back to the floor cold to be reheated: An open door would interrupt the process.
The Energy Saving Trust recommends setting your thermostat to the lowest comfortable temperature, typically between 18°C to 21°C, although you may find you can comfortably keep it lower.
Turn down your thermostat by one or two degrees and put on an extra layer of clothing, which can save between £5 and £10 per month on your energy bill.
However, if you are elderly or suffer from respiratory problems, make sure that you don’t drop below 18°C.
Up to 70% of the heat produced by a radiator can be lost to uninsulated external walls and windows.
Foil radiator panels placed behind the radiator can be purchased for as little as under £10 and can help to reduce heat loss by up to 45%.
Unless your home is very new you are likely to be losing some heat through draughts in windows, doors and other small gaps around the house.
DIY draught proofing will cost around £115, but could save as much as £55 a year and pay for itself in just over 2 years.
Gadgets and gizmos
Leaving electrical devices such as TVs and microwaves on standby still requires power, and amounts to around 8% of the average household electricity bill.
This could save you £30 per person per year.
Items such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets require regular charging and many people charge these while sleeping.
This can result in items using more energy than necessary, where they don’t require the entire night to charge.
Also, use the device's included or recommended charging cables where possible: Many cheaper third-party chargers will not have the same current-controls tailored for the device's voltage.
Although this will not save energy directly, an electricity monitor will help to increase awareness of bad habits and which devices in your home are the least energy efficient.
By displaying costs per hour and how much Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is being emitted you can pinpoint ways towards more energy efficient behaviours.
Energy saving LED lightbulbs last up to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs and use up to 80% less energy.
Over the lifetime of an energy saving bulb they can save up to £60.
LED light bulbs, whilst more expensive initially, have a lifetime of around 10,000 hours compared to 1,000 hours for a halogen bulb and use around 60% less energy.
In the kitchen
Appliances such as kettles, however small, all contribute to your energy usage and filling them with more water causes them to work harder.
Boiling a kettle half full four times a day, instead of filling it up, can save enough energy to run a TV for four hours, so just boil what you need instead of filling up the kettle.
Setting your machine to a cooler wash saves a significant amount of energy, so it pays to do this where possible.
Also, be sure to hang your clothes out to dry. Electric dryers such as tumble dryers use significant amounts of energy and are thought to cost roughly 50p per hour to run.
If you are able, hang your laundry outside to dry where possible, or use a clothes horse.
White goods have become staple household items, so it’s important that we try and use these responsibly when considering our energy output.
Waiting until the machine is full means fewer washes, and therefore less energy being used.
Increasing the size of your load and reducing the frequency of washes can go a long way if we all do this.
Keeping your fridge and freezer free of frost will boost their efficiency and use less energy.
Keeping your fridge at least three quarters full will also boost its efficiency.
You can also keep your fridge cool by defrosting food in the fridge instead of at room temperature.
Cover saucepans and use a ring on the cooker that is the same size of the pan.
This will use up to 90% less energy when cooking.
A halogen oven uses around 75% less energy than a conventional electric oven and has a 50% lower cooking time, which can lead to a big reduction in your electricity bill.
They are available for approximately £50 to £100.
In the bathroom
Even if it’s just replacing 1 to 2 baths a week with showers, every small change contributes to something bigger.
A water efficient shower head can reduce your water usage and the energy required to heat the water whilst still maintaining the sensation of a power shower.
For as little as £15, this could save £70 per person a year on water and gas bills.
Your water company many even give you one for free if you ask them.
If you have money available to invest in making energy saving changes to your home, you can reap big rewards!
Check your home’s Energy Performance Certificate if you are unsure of what measures have already been carried out and to find out what else you could do.
You can also check if you're eligible for any of our grants or funding schemes.
Changing single glazed windows to double or triple glazing to keep heat inside could save you up to £120 a year, depending on your home, as well as reducing noise and condensation.
Cavity wall insulation
Many eligible homes have already had cavity wall insulation installed as this is one of the easier and cheaper measures to complete.
However, if your property has not already been done, the cost is around £330 to £725 depending on the type of house and could save up to £255 a year.
Solid wall insulation
If your home was built before 1920 its external walls are probably solid rather than cavity. Unfortunately, the cost of solid wall insulation is high at around £7,500 for internal wall insulation or £13,000 for external wall insulation but the payback could be up to £500 per year.
It will also increase the value of your property and make it more attractive to prospective buyers in the future.
If your loft is not insulated at all, insulation could cost as little as £300 and save around £180 per year. Topping up your level of insulation from 100 millimetres to the recommended 270 millimetres will cost around £300 and save approximately £25 a year.
Solar PV allows you to generate electricity from sunlight.
A typical installation costs around £4,800 and could save you up to £330 a year if you utilise the smart export guarantee.
You could also join a community purchase scheme such as our Solar Together Kent programme, to save more money.
Panels should last for 25 years but may need the inverter replaced in this time.
Depending on how old and inefficient your boiler is, installing a new A-rated condensing boiler and full set of heating controls will save between £100 to £300 per year, at a cost of approximately £2,300.
Ground source heat pumps get energy from a loop buried in your garden, while air source heat pumps get energy from the surrounding air.
Installations typically cost £14,000 to £19,000 for ground source, or £9,000 to £11,000 for air source, but depending on your heating system you could save between £300-1000 each year.
Installations that are well maintained could operate for 20 years or more.
Solar thermal heating involves installing panels on your roof just like solar PV.
Typical solar water heating systems cost £4,000 to £5,000 and could typically save between £60 to £100 a year depending on your existing heating and hot water needs.
Most systems will come with a warranty for 5 to 10 years.