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Want to Reduce Your Energy Bills? How To Cope with The Rising Cost of Living

 


With energy bills rising and cost of food, petrol and other essentials also becoming more expensive, it is important to look at ways to reduce your monthly bills. Gas and electricity costs are expected to increase even further later in 2022 and things look set to stay this way for the foreseeable future. If you want to reduce your energy bills, here are some helpful tips on how to cope with the rising cost of living. 

Make sure your meters and heaters are configured correctly

To get the most out of your meter and heater you need to ensure they are set up correctly. Doing so will make your home more energy efficient and eco-friendly. 

Immersion heaters

Some homes have an immersion heater installed instead of a gas boiler. You can turn it on for a couple of hours and you should have enough hot water for the whole day. If you are on a tariff that charges less for using electricity at night, set the timer so the immersion heater warms up the water later in the day. 

Consider installing an insulating jacket around the water tank as this can keep the water hotter for longer and save you money across the year. It’s also a good idea to add foam insulation to your hot water pipes as this will reduce your energy bills. 

Economy 7 

An ‘Economy 7’ meter lowers your electricity rate at night and charges you more for using it during the day. To get the most of out this type of meter you must ensure it is setup properly to avoid paying the same daytime rate overnight. 

The first thing to do is to check your current meter reading during the day before using a small bit of electricity (boiling the kettle should be enough). You should then recheck the meter to see if the reading has gone up. If the numbers have not increased on the correct display, get in contact with your supplier and ask them if they can setup your meter correctly. 

Heat Pumps 

In recent years heat pumps have become one of the most popular sources of renewable energy for people living in the UK. Around 1.5 million people in Europe have heat pumps installed in their homes and that figure will increase by millions as the UK Government continue to push towards achieving their net zero targets. The Energy Saving Trust predict that over time heat pumps will become the cheapest form of heating available, while also being the kindest to the environment. They provide a variety of financial and environmental benefits and offer a great way of reducing your energy bills in the long-term.

They work by capturing heat from the air outside your home and transferring it inside to provide heating and hot water and the system can be controlled either by a monitor on the wall or via a phone app. This is true even on the coldest days of the year, as thermal heat is always present, so you can always rely on the system to provide the heating and hot water your home needs. 

Compared to other heating systems heat pumps are far more efficient and produce far more heat than the amount of electricity they use. This is calculated by using a Coefficient of Performance (CoP). For example, if a heat pump has a CoP of 3.5, for every unit of electricity used it will provide 3.5 units of heat. The installation process is much easier than upgrading to a traditional heating unit and they work brilliantly in conjunction with underfloor heating systems. It’s also likely that you won’t need planning permission to install this kind of system, although you should always check with your local authority.  

Night storage heaters 

If you have a night storage heater installed, this will work in tandem with your ‘Economy 7’ meter. They work by storing heat and releasing it during the day, and only use electricity at night when the rate is lower. 

To set your night storage heater up correctly, you need to check that the ‘input’ and ‘output’ controls on the system are in the right position. The ‘input’ dial controls how much heat you want to store and the ‘output’ dial controls how quickly it is released.

During the winter, set the ‘input’ dial to maximum, and set it to the midway point during the spring and autumn. Turn the ‘output’ dial down to as low as possible before you go to bed. It will still provide heat in the morning, and you can gradually increase the heat output rate during the day. 

How to lower electricity and gas usage 

There are several ways you can make some simple changes to reduce the amount of gas and electricity you use at home. This includes:

  • Replacing old lightbulbs with LED or other energy efficient alternatives 

  • Setting the fridge to between 3-5 degrees and defrosting your freezer at least once a year

  • Turning off plug sockets at the wall when they are not in use 

  • Setting your washing machine to run at 30 degrees and trying to wash a full load where possible 

  • If you have a tumble dryer, try to dry your clothes by an open window or outside 

  • When it’s cold, close your curtains in the evening to retain the heat inside the room 

  • Use draught-proofing around windows and doors if there are any gaps letting out heat 

Install a smart meter or energy monitor 

A smart meter gives you real time information about your energy usage. This will help you gauge how much you are spending to have better control over your budget. 

And perhaps the best part is that smart meters are free to install. The cost is inbuilt into everyone’s energy bills, so slowly repaid over time. The meter will automatically send meter readings to your provider, so you never overpay for energy and only pay for what you use.  

Alternatively, you can use an energy monitor to measure and display your energy usage in real time. If you have a smart meter installed, you should already have been offered an energy monitor by your provider.  


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