Saving money on household bills

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Category: Home Sweet Home

At a time of rising living costs, we are all looking for ways to save money. A family home can be expensive to run, with gas and electricity a significant drain on finances. The energy cap has been increased, and prices are set to almost double. At the same time, petrol prices are high, food prices are going up, and the interest rates are increasing.

The strain on the family purse is heavy for most of us, and we need to make savings where we can. Sometimes the best thing we can do is compare and switch to a new energy deal, but if you already have a new deal or are still in a contract, you might think of other ways to take control of your bills. Fortunately, we can do much to reduce our energy use while keeping the family warm and comfortable. Part of these savings comes down to sound investments in the right technology, part is down to educating the children, and the other half is how we keep costs down.

Here we offer some simple steps you can take now to make a difference to your annual outgoings.

Beware the vampire energy suckers!

Let’s face it, telling the kids there are vampires in the house could be amusing for a moment or two. While the toothy, bat variety of vampires is a thing of legend, energy vampires are a reality. There are items in your home that continue to suck up energy even when not in use. For instance, your toaster or computer monitor is likely to use as much energy sitting there plugged in as when you are browning bread or checking social media. 

Making it a family habit to walk around the house and switch items off at the wall can make a 20% difference in your electricity use. A harder habit to instil into the home is to avoid charging mobile phones overnight. A mobile phone takes about an hour to charge, but over eight hours will continue to suck energy. Therefore, getting the household out of the habit of plugging in before bed will do a decent amount towards reducing your bills.

Maintain energy-efficient appliances

When replacing appliances in the home, it is important to check their energy rating. The A +++ device is the most energy-efficient. If you buy a B rated dishwasher instead of an F rated dishwasher, you will save about £11 a year. A dishwasher is an essential item in a family home, and the more efficient, the higher the savings. And, despite popular opinion, you use a quarter less water with a dishwasher than hand washing your dishes. 

Maintaining the efficiency of your appliances is also essential. Your boiler is a good example of the increasing cost of use due to poor maintenance. An annual service of your boiler costs £80 a year but will a) elongate the life of a boiler, when average replacement costs are about £1200, and b) make the heating of your home much cheaper.

Go smart!

One degree change in your heating can save you around £80 a year on your gas bill. Most of us heat our homes at about 21 degrees, which is cosy. However, a change to 20 degrees offers little difference in comfort levels and saves a significant amount. If you encourage the kids to wear jumpers, you could bring this down another degree.

To be precise in the heating of your home and so prevent waste, a smart thermostat is a wise investment. First, it will allow you to set a precise temperature to be sure to turn the heating down by 1 degree. Second, you can change the temperature of each room separately.

Change to LED bulbs

Another easy decision to make is a change in lightbulbs. Halogen bulbs are bad for the environment in many ways and cost more to switch on. They also don’t last as long, so you end up replacing them more often.

An LED bulb is more expensive to buy but will last up to three times as long. An LED bulb will also save £10 a year on energy. While one £10 is small fry in a family home, when you count the number of bulbs in your house, you will realise the savings soon add up.

Every little helps

When running a family home, the small savings will make the pay packet stretch. Encouraging the whole household into good habits with gas and electricity devices can make a significant difference to your utility bills over a year – and help the environment in the bargain.