Ef­fi­cient ad­vice on how to cut your home en­ergy bill

Home en­ergy bills are set to rise, so now is the time to re­assess your prop­erty’s ef­fi­ciency. Sharon Dale re­ports

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY NEWS -

THE BIG­GEST fuel bill of the year is about to drop on the door­mat or into the “in­box”, and this year it comes amid fore­casts of higher en­ergy prices.

Many UK house­holds face gas and elec­tric­ity bill rises of up to 28 per cent as fixed price con­tracts come to an end. Moneysu­permar­ket says that 77 deals are due to ex­pire be­fore the end of April. This could leave the av­er­age house­hold pay­ing £200 more a year.

To com­pound the is­sue, some big sup­pli­ers are rais­ing prices. nPower re­cently re­vealed that it was putting up its elec­tric­ity prices by 15 per cent and its gas prices by 4.8 per cent, while many other firms con­firmed their elec­tric­ity rates would rise by about eight per cent. It all adds up to mis­ery for bill pay­ers but a com­bi­na­tion of shop­ping around and em­ploy­ing en­ergy-sav­ing mea­sures can help mit­i­gate the ef­fects.

Here are some ideas.

Con­sider switch­ing sup­pli­ers. This is much eas­ier than it used to be as the new sup­plier will or­gan­ise the move for you. All you need to do is sub­mit a me­ter read­ing and set­tle out­stand­ing bills with the old com­pany.

Do your home­work first.

There are some ex­cel­lent price com­par­i­son sites, in­clud­ing uSwitch.com. Which? Which. co.uk has cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion rat­ings. It is com­mon to save be­tween £100 and £200 a year by swap­ping sup­plier. If you are on a fixed price tar­iff, there may be an exit fee, though you can move penalty-free up to 49 days be­fore an ex­ist­ing deal comes to an end.

Loft in­su­la­tion. If you haven’t got it, then in­vest in it. A quar­ter of a home’s heat is lost through unin­su­lated roof space. If your loft is easy to ac­cess and the joists are reg­u­lar, then you can do this your­self. Or it can be done by some­one com­pe­tent in DIY or a pro­fes­sional in­staller. Try the Na­tional In­su­la­tion As­so­ci­a­tion for fit­ters in your area. A fit­ter gen­er­ally charges be­tween £250 and £400. The in­su­la­tion should last 40 years and the sav­ings are con­sid­er­able. Ac­cord­ing to the En­ergy Sav­ing Trust, fit­ting loft in­su­la­tion in a mid-ter­raced house can cut heat­ing bills by £135 a year and by £240 a year in a de­tached house.

In­su­lat­ing un­der the floor­boards on the ground floor will save you about £40 - £55 a year. Older homes are more likely to have sus­pended tim­ber floors. These can be in­su­lated by lift­ing the floor­boards and lay­ing min­eral wool in­su­la­tion sup­ported by net­ting be­tween the joists. Seal the gaps be­tween the boards with string. Stain the string the colour of your floor­boards and glue into the gaps. Top with a rug as this will keep out draughts.

Draughts are ev­ery­where in the av­er­age home. They are most com­mon around win­dows, doors, loft hatches and around plug sock­ets and pipes on out­side walls. Fit­ting an in­su­lated let­ter­box flap and key­hole cov­ers will help. You can also ther­mal line your cur­tains and put a draught ex­cluder by the door.

Change your light­ing to en­ergy-ef­fi­cient LEDs, es­pe­cially if you have halo­gen down­lighters, which cost a for­tune to run.

Ser­vice the boiler once a year – a more ef­fi­cient boiler is cheaper to run and is less likely to break down. A ser­vice costs about £80

Fit re­flec­tive pan­els be­hind ra­di­a­tors, es­pe­cially those fixed to an out­side wall as they will re­duce the heat loss through walls.

Buy en­ergy sav­ing ap­pli­ances and gad­gets. The larger a tele­vi­sion is the more en­ergy it will con­sume, re­gard­less of its en­ergy rat­ing. An A-rated 22” LCD TV typ­i­cally costs £4 a year to run whereas an A-rated 60” TV costs £33.

Ovens and hobs that have an ‘A+++’ en­ergy rat­ing are the most ef­fi­cient of all. A new A+++ rated elec­tric oven will con­sume 60 per cent less en­ergy than a B rated oven. Many peo­ple swear by the Re­moska. It orig­i­nates from the Czech Repub­lic and looks like a plug-in pan but is a very ef­fec­tive 400w mini oven with a heat­ing el­e­ment con­cealed in the lid. It uses 85 per cent less elec­tric­ity than a stan­dard oven and can be used to cook ev­ery­thing from a roast din­ner to piz­zas, ready meals, stews and cakes. It is par­tic­u­larly good for sin­gles and cou­ples. They start from £149.99 from Lakeland, Lakeland.co.uk

For more ad­vice visit the En­ergy Sav­ing Trust web­site, www.en­er­gysav­ingtrust.org.uk.

An A-rated 22” LCD TV typ­i­cally costs £4 a year to run.

En­ergy Sav­ing Trust

EV­ERY LIT­TLE HELPS: Small changes can add up to a big sav­ing when it comes to a home’s en­ergy ef­fi­ciency – es­pe­cially with bills set to rise.

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