As energy prices are at record levels, you can either produce your own energy from sources such as wind or solar power or consume less energy to lower your energy bill. This article lists below some products you can buy or home improvement projects you can take to cut your energy bill. Before splashing out, it is worth checking if a government grant is available for some of the suggestions below.
Not all appliances are the same in terms of energy usage. If you have an old electrical appliance that you want to replace, make sure you replace it with an energy-efficient one to save energy. When buying a new electrical appliance, you should look for its energy label. How energy efficient an appliance is, is rated in terms of a set of energy efficiency classes from A to G on the energy label, with A being the most efficient and G the least efficient. Some appliances may still have the older scale of A+++ to G, with A+++ being the most efficient. It is best to look for the best energy rating for the size of appliance you require. An A-rated appliance may consume more energy because of its bigger size than a smaller B-rated appliance. Therefore, you should only compare the energy rating of appliances of the same size. According to Which, you can make the following savings per year by buying energy-efficient appliances:
- Fridge Freezer – £138
- Tumble dryer – £137
- Washing machine – £69
- Dishwasher – £44
- Built-in oven – £37
These are the maximum savings based on the difference between the highest and lowest annual running costs and are based on the April 2022 energy price cap.
Research by Which also shows that swapping all the most power-hungry kitchen appliances for energy-saving models would save you up to £425 a year on energy costs.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, loft and cavity wall insulation can save you as much as £290 a year.
As warm air rises, a quarter of a home’s heat can be lost through poorly insulated roof space. Laying insulation to a thickness of 270mm in the loft of a typical non-insulated three-bedroom semi could save you £135 a year as it will lose less heat through the roof. If you’ve got loft insulation that’s been there a while, you could still save an extra £100 a year by topping it up from 120mm to the recommended 270mm. You may want to check if a government grant is available for this.
You could be losing up to a third of the heat your boiler generates through external walls if your house was built before 1990. Cavity wall insulation can save up to £155 a year in a semi-detached house. Solid-wall insulation can save you £210 in the same type of house, but it is more expensive to fit than cavity wall insulation.
Central Heating is responsible for around half of all energy bills in most households. It is a good idea to ensure that your boiler is in good working condition and running as efficiently as possible. A yearly boiler service is recommended. The boiler service engineer can tweak your boiler settings, so it runs as efficiently as possible. He may also identify and fix any issues that may result in costly repairs later.
You can make substantial savings by replacing your old, inefficient boiler with a modern energy-efficient condensing boiler. For example, if you live in a typical semi-detached house, replacing an old G-rated boiler with a new A-rated condensing boiler with heating controls can save you £ 195 a year, according to the Energy Savings Trust. The savings are even more at around £ 300 a year if you live in a detached house. Replacing a boiler isn’t cheap; it can cost around £ 2000, including fitting. So, you should only consider replacing your boiler if your current one is really old and energy hungry.
Solar panels installed on your roof allow you to generate electricity. You can cut your energy bill by using the electricity you produce and exporting excess energy to the national energy grid under the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme. The average cost of installing a typical 4.2 kilowatt-peak solar panel system is about £6,500.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, the payback time for a typical home in the middle of the country, and based on the upcoming October energy price cap, is between 11-15 years. This depends on what you are paid under the SEG scheme, as rates vary from 1p to 15p for each kWh, how much electricity you use and when you use it.
Using thermal curtains during the evening and night help stop heat from leaving the house through the windows and save you money. They are also inexpensive to buy.
These are most effective on radiators placed on external walls. They reflect heat back into your room and keep it from being absorbed by the wall. They are easy to install as these panels hang from the wall brackets and are relatively cheap to buy online or from any DIY store.
Adding a shelf above your radiator helps push warm air forward into the room where it is needed.
An electric clothes airer dries clothes quicker than an ordinary airer. It is also a better alternative to drying clothes on a radiator, which makes the boiler work harder to generate heat. Good electric airers can cost upwards of £ 100 but are relatively cheap to run at around 6p an hour.
If you only have single panes in your windows, you may consider investing in double glazing. It is costly to install, and it is probably best to concentrate on the lower-cost measures in this list and see what difference they make to your energy bill before looking into higher-cost measures like this.