You cannot pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV news without some reference to the alarmingly high increases in energy costs. The price rises have been caused to a large degree by an increase in wholesale gas prices (the amount that energy firms pay), which have seen a steep rise since October 2021. Gas prices have hit a record high as the world emerges from lockdown and other factors such as the war in Ukraine.
Somewhat ironically in the UK the increase in the cap on what energy companies can charge us increased on 1st April, but it is far from a laughing matter for us all. Milder weather since then and the changing seasons mean many of us have yet to feel the full impact of these increases. There are also dark clouds on the horizon this October when another increase in the energy cap is scheduled and some analysts are predicting further increases by as much as 32%.
Now more than ever it is time for us all to really make sure that we leave no stone unturned, when it comes to measures that can reduce the impact of rising energy prices. We offer 10 suggestions here, one or two of which you may not have thought of and several more may be timely reminders of actions you could take.
Listed in no particular order are our ten ideas.
1. Have a smart meter installed.
Smart meters make it much easier to see how much energy you are using and can really highlight those devices or practices that are using the most energy. They also mean much more accurate bills as none of your charges are based upon estimates, eliminating the risk of your energy company over-estimating what your energy usage is likely to be. 86% of people that have had smart meters installed say that it has changed the way they use energy around the house. Smart meters enable you to understand in pounds and pence what it costs to boil a kettle or put the dishwasher on.
2. Don’t leave items on standby or plugged in when they don’t need to be.
It probably won’t surprise you to know that it costs about £11-£12 a year in electricity costs if you leave your TV on standby rather than switching it off. With many of us having 2-3 TV’s (or more) in the home, this cost adds up. With many of us still working from home at least some of the time, there is a greater chance that we may be leaving our laptops on charge all the time. At the risk of getting a little technical, on average, your laptop charger may well use up to 29.84 watts when it is left plugged in and is charging. Your laptop though may still use up to 22.40 watts, if left plugged in after it has charged. The amount translates to over 60% of the power used when you are charging your laptop.
3. Turn your thermostat down by 1 degree.
Many of us will be doing this and more, but you may not know how much you could save by turning your thermostat down by 1 degree. The Department of Energy in the USA calculated in 2018 that you could save about 1 percent of your annual energy bill for each degree of thermostat adjustment per 8 hours a day.
4. Consider replacing your older, less energy efficient electrical items.
Rightly for the sake of us all and the planet in general, we are being asked to adopt less of a buy and throw away culture. However, when it comes to old electrical items that are likely to be less energy efficient the balance can swing. As a general rule, the older your dryer, fridge, freezer or TV, the less energy efficient it is likely to be. A new energy efficient dryer for example could use as much as 20% less electricity than your old one.
5. Pay the utmost of attention to energy ratings of new appliances as part of your decision process.
Energy label regulations have been around for 25 years, but new improved regulations to make these clearer came into force in 2021 making it easier to understand the relative energy efficiency of different models. Websites like Top Ten – www.toptenuk.org can help you find the most energy efficient products in different categories.
6. Consider replacing single glazed or old doubling glazed windows and doors.
We make no apology for raising this one. Estimates vary for how much of the heat your home loses through inefficient doors and windows, but a span of between 25% and 40% is typically quoted. If your home was built before double glazing became common, then the saving between single glazed windows and double-glazed windows is greatest. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that annual savings of between £145 and £175 a year could be achieved. But substantial savings can still be achieved, that mount up over time by replacing old inefficient double glazing with new energy efficient windows and doors. The technology behind the construction of these has come on leaps and bounds.
7. Take shorter showers.
How much thought do you give to give to how long you spend in the shower? Restricting showers to four minutes could save a typical household up to £70 a year. It is also better for the environment and dramatically cuts down on the amount of water you use.
8. Work from home less.
If you have the option of returning to work in an office for at least some of the week, consider taking that opportunity. Not only will you save on heating and energy bills, but you may also save on broadband costs. Moneysupermarket calculated that the average person spends 11 hours and 45 minutes working from home, equivalent to a broadband bill of £11.45 a month. Although you will also have to take into consideration other costs like transport costs, so pardon the pun, it is not a one-way street.
9. If you have a Conservatory with doors between it and the house keep those open when it is beneficial to do so.
In the Spring and the Autumn particularly with a glass roof, the warmth generated can benefit the rest of the house and reduce the extent to which your central heating kicks in.
10. Consider using smart plugs.
Smart plugs (and smart bulbs) can make it easy to control most of your lighting and many other devices. This means you can turn them on and off when you do or don’t need them. Just one example of this is to consider whether you leave any lights on upstairs when you are downstairs. Smart plugs mean you can turn these on before you go upstairs and turn them off when you are downstairs.
We hope that you find these tips useful, and you have decided it is time to get a quote for new windows and doors, please call us on 0800 332255 or visit www.glevum.co.uk