Some of the simplest ways to reduce your bills this winter
We are all feeling the pinch this winter and, like many people in the UK, are trying to find ways to get the cost of bills down while we spend more time at home this winter.
- TV Settings
Turn down your brightness and contrast on the TV, this will reduce the amount of energy it uses and can save around £100 a year![i]
- Mealtime savings
Whilst cooking food in the oven[JG2] , switch off the cooker a few minutes before your meal is done, this will save energy while still being hot enough to finish cooking your meal. Leaving the oven door open afterwards is also a great way of warming up the room. Alternatively, using a microwave over the oven can also help save money as it takes a lot less time. [ii]
When cooking on the hob, however, always make sure you match pan size to ring as a big ring heating up a small pan will waste energy. Also, keep lids on pans when cooking rice and pasta so cooking time reduces and make sure all your pans are sparkling clean, as grease or burnt food will get in the way of the pan heating up![iii]
- Make use of rainwater
Since it’s going to be raining a lot during the colder months put a bucket or pots outside in the garden to collect the rainwater. This can then be used to water plants or wash the car, which will help save money on the water bill and help the environment[JG3] . Rainwater is a lot better for plants than tap water so your house plants will thrive![iv]
- Shorter showers
Try and reduce the time you spend in the shower, listen to some of your favourite tunes whilst washing so you know to get out after four minutes (the usual length of one song). Skip washing your hair every single day and turn the water off whilst you are shaving too so that water isn’t wasted.[v]
- Wise washing
When using the washing machine however big or small your load is the machine uses the same amount of energy, so make sure you do big loads to be energy efficient. On the other hand, dryers use less energy the less you put in it so try to only tumble dry what is absolutely necessary. Run a spin cycle at the end of the washing cycle so clothes aren’t soaking wet coming out of the machine and opt for drying on an airer.
Darren McMahon, marketing manager of Viessmann advises: “Take care when using airers to dry washing. Although it may seem a good idea to place airers near the radiator to speed up drying, this will considerably increase your energy consumption and is best avoided. Outdoor drying is far more economical and often quicker due to the free moving air, even if it is fairly cold outside.”
- Let there be light
While it’s good practise to keep curtains closed during the evening to keep heat trapped in the house, make sure that while it’s still light you open the blinds and curtains and let the sunlight in. Martyn from Worcester Bosch says: “You should ensure you open any curtains on the south side of the house during the day, as this will increase solar gain into the house.” Despite the temperature being cold outside this will still add to warmth inside. This will also light up the room so you might be able to avoid switching the lights on.
- Light bulbs
Switching from your regular lightbulbs to LED ones will also help you save money says Helen White, co-founder of lighting store House Of: “Homeowners don’t realise how significantly lightbulbs affect their energy bills, older ones require considerably more electricity and depending on the size of the property can lead to hundreds of extra pounds spent per year. Consider using the latest LED bulbs which use up to 90% less energy while lasting 50 times longer!”
Using lamps instead of main lights is also usually better, depending on the wattage of your home, but if you are using bulbs with a low wattage this will save you money.
- Exclude draughts
Keep windows and doors shut around the house to keep heat in the rooms where the radiators are on. Close your curtains as soon as it goes dark, so no drafts come in through the windows. John Lawless from BestHeating suggests: “Tucking your curtains behind the radiator is a great way to keep heating inside the room instead of escaping through the window and walls.”
Buying thicker curtains will also contribute greatly to better insulation and will make sure the heat doesn’t escape. Rugs, blankets, draught excluders and thick bedding are also some wise purchases to make before the nights get too cold, as despite being costly at first the benefits will last for years from reducing the heating bill. [DH4]
Which of these will you try? Let us know your savvy saving tips in the comments below!
[i] According to HDTVtest.co.uk