With energy bills set to be capped from today many households will see a drop in costs. However, there are ways to see that drop even further with some “easy” amendments to make, an expert has said, that can slash hundreds of pounds off bills.
Commenting on household habits, Oliver Cooney, sustainability advisor for homebuilder Cala Homes said: “There are easily rectifiable mistakes households of all types are making daily which are negatively impacting their energy bills.”
Simple changes can help drastically improve efficiency and reduce bills, so it could pay to know what to tackle first.
Turn your boiler temperature down
According to Mr Cooney, most people’s boiler temperature is set too high as a default. He said: “This doesn’t make your home warmer, but it can add massively to your bills and carbon emissions.
“If you have a combi boiler, it is recommended to adjust your flow temperature down from typical temperatures of 65C and 75C to 50C. The other setting on a combi boiler that can be lowered is the hot water which is also typically set too high at 65C to 70C and should be lowered to 55C.
“Doing just this could provide up to an eight percent saving on your gas bill and is easy to change if needed.”
While looking at boiler settings, Mr Cooney suggested also checking boiler pressure. He said: “Make sure your system is operating at the recommended pressure of between one and two bars. If it isn’t then you will need to get someone to look at it.”
If the option is there, switching off the pre-heat function can save another five to 10 percent on your annual gas bill.”
Grab a jacket for the hot water cylinder
For those with homes with a hot water cylinder, fitting an insulating jacket could help reduce heat loss by “a massive 75 percent”, Mr Cooney said.
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These jackets typically only cost around £15 and are easy to apply. Mr Cooney said that choosing one that’s at least 80mm thick will offer the “maximum” heat loss reduction.
Bleed the radiators
A few simple maintenance jobs can ensure that, when they are needed, radiators are performing at their best.
Firstly, Mr Cooney said: “You need to bleed your radiators if there are cold spots, especially near the top of your radiators or your heating makes a tapping or knocking sound as it heats up, there could be air being trapped inside.
“If this is the case then your heating system won’t be working efficiently, so ensure that you bleed each radiator throughout the home.”
Another habit to get into is giving the radiators a frequent and thorough clean. The dust build-up can act as a heat absorber and reduce their ability to distribute heat effectively and efficiently.
Cut shower time by one minute
The biggest water and hot water user in most homes is the shower. Reducing the amount of time spent here can not only reduce energy bills but could also reduce water bills too if the household is on a meter.
Mr Cooney said: “Cutting just a minute off your shower time could save up to £207 a year in energy bills, and a further £105 a year in water bills – totally to a potential saving of £312 a year for an average four-person household. Fitting a timer in your shower can help influence how long you stay in there.”
Know how much to fill appliances
How an appliance is used has a big impact on the energy it uses, and the way in which they’re filled could help maximise energy savings.
Mr Cooney said people should fill up appliances like dishwashers and washing machines as much as possible. Additional savings can be made by washing clothes at a lower temperature.
The second category is filling to near capacity, between two-thirds and three-quarters full.
Mr Cooney said: “This applies to fridges and freezers as this is where they operate at their highest efficiency. If you need things to fill the space, adding water bottles or bags of water, or even newspapers or boxes will do the job.”
It could also be worth cleaning the coils of fridges and freezers as according to Mr Cooney, this can reduce their efficiency by 25 percent.
Finally, the appliance to fill as little as possible is the kettle. Mr Cooney said: “The average kitchen kettle is around 3,000 watts and uses around 0.11kWh to heat one litre of water, which is equal to 26p for four cuppas. Fill to the amount you need and no more and you could save up to £16 a year.
“Try to get into the habit of filling just the number of mugs you need or perhaps switch to a smaller kettle, so you aren’t tempted to overfill.”
Unplug the unused
Research by British Gas revealed that UK households could save an average of £147 on their electricity bills each year by switching off “vampire electronics”.
This refers to those that continue to “drain power” when left on standby and even device chargers that are left plugged in.
Mr Cooney said: “When not in use, such as before bed, switch off devices at the mains rather than switching to standby, as even the standby light on television uses energy.”
Also, he added: “Try not to over-charge your mobile phone and laptop. As soon as your device is charged, try and get into the habit of unplugging it and switching the socket off. Not only will this save energy, but it also prolongs your devices’ battery life.”
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