Its that time of year again. No not the festive period quite yet but the annual announcements that do anything BUT put us in a festive mood. With the turning back of the clocks come the announcements that utility companies will be hiking our energy prices WELL ABOVE inflation again at a time of year when we need to use more energy. There is the usual bluster in the news and from Ofgem but does anything ever get done? The answer is clearly NO. So in an environment when "we are all in this together"I am afraid that it if you want to reduce your energy bills its down to YOU. Reducing our energy usage is no longer about being green or saving the environment. Its about reducing you bills and keeping our money in our pockets.
If you are in a position where you can afford to burn £10 notes then you need read no further.
What follows are some basic tips that with just a little lifestyle change could reduce our bills both now and in the future;
1. Speak to your current utility provider. Seek clarification of their best tariff. Dont let them force you to pay more than you can afford. If your not happy then shop around.
NB; Have you had a siginificant energy efficient measure installed recently? ie Loft/cavity wall insulation or a new boiler. If so ask for your monthly payment to be reviewed.
2. Send in regular meter readings. Utility companies only have to read your meter once a year. By reading your own meter and forwarding the readings to the utility provider it keeps the bills real AND raises your awareness of your own energy usage.
3. Purchase an energy monitor or even better ask your utility company to supply you with one.
4. Take advantage of free loft/cavity wall insulation offers before the end of the year. With Energy Company Obligations (ECO) & Green Deal due to come into effect during 2013 such measures are unlikely to be free next year.
5. Switch off lights when not in use.
6. Swapping from Halogen bulbs to LED could save you approx £9 per month per bulb (based on 15p per kwh and usage of 6 hours per day). LED bulbs will pay for themselves in less than 5 months.
7. Boil only the amount of water you need rather than a full kettle.
8.Turn your tv and other electrical items off - dont leave them on standby.(Includes games consoles)
9. Charge your mobile phone before earl evening rather than overnight and turn off the charger when the phone is fully charged.
10. Turn off your laptop charger when the battery is fully charged.
11.Turn your thermostat down by one degree.
12.Use your boiler programmer to control your boiler usage and set the heating to switch off 30 minutes before you leave the house.
13. Draught proof all windows and doors.
14. If your thermostat is in the hall try fixing a door curtain and using the back door, This alone will save you ££££'s.
15. If you enjoy long slow cooked meals (stews, casseroles etc) invest in a slow cooker.
The list goes on. We challenge you to carry out an energy audit on your property BEFORE December 1st alternatively we would be delighted to assist. See what you can save.
On a final note we hear a lot of customers say "our boilers old but it keeps going" ... "we will change it when it breaks down"...."our engineer says it will last for years"....
All of these we can understand however the maths speaks for its self. A boiler with a 60% efficiency means that for every £100 of gas you use you are losing £40. £40 x 12 months is £480 per year. Boilers vary in size cost and efficiency but what we would say is that if you have a boiler over 10years old can you afford NOT to at least look into the options for boiler replacement??
Many other higher cost measures such as solar hot water or renewable energy systems are also readily available in the market place.
This blog was written by Chris at Dickens Surveyors