Martin Lewis warns 'people will die' as energy prices go up
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You may already have tried every possible way of cutting energy usage, but if just one or two of these are new to you, they could make a difference this winter. Remember, as charges rocket, even minor changes can reap major savings.
1. If you can, use the summer months to catch up on any arrears you may have with your energy provider. Lee Griffin, of GoCompare Energy, said: “Provide regular meter readings so that your bills are up to date and to avoid a shock at a later date.”
2. Only heat the hot water you need. Many people set the combi-boiler temperature at 80C but between 50C and 60C should ensure you only heat the hot water you need.
3. Wash clothes on a colder cycle. Running your washing machine on a 30C cycle can save around £28 on your annual bill – maybe double after October.
4. Defrost your fridge and freezer. This makes your appliance work more efficiently.
5. Unplug devices. The Energy Saving Trust (EST) has calculated you can save around £55 a year just by unplugging them when not in use. Savings will rise from October.
6. Bulky furniture absorbs heat. Move sofas and armchairs away from radiators and other heat sources.
7. Shut that door. Close rooms in your home that are not used during winter and turn off the radiators.
8. Lights out. Get into the habit of only lighting rooms that are being used, which the EST reckons saves £20 on energy bills. Again, that saving will soon double.
9. Put your curtains to work. Open them early in the day to let daylight warm your room, but shut them at night to keep the warmth in and the cold out.
10. New boiler models are more efficient with energy and can save you up to £580 a year, according to the EST. Consider upgrading yours if you can afford it.
11. Only using a full load in the washing machine can help save you money.
12. Replacing all the bulbs in your home with energy-efficient alternatives cuts £40 a year off the typical electricity bill.
13. Fit reflector panels behind your radiators. These will bounce more of the infra-red heat rays back into your room.
14. Insulate your loft. A quarter of the heat loss in your home is through the roof and insulation can save you £250 a year.
15. Turning down the temperature by just one degree will save a further £55, depending on the size of your home.
16. Draught-proofing is cheap and effective, saving around £40 a year at a cost of just £3 a roll, according to Norton Finance.
17. Don’t forget to block draughts from letterbox brushes, chimney balloons and even keyhole coverings, too.
18. Cut your water bills too. The average shower lasts eight minutes and costs 60p. Cutting that to four minutes can save up to £100 a year after October 1.
19. Use the microwave. This saves energy because it is quicker than using the oven. Consider buying a slow cooker too, as they’re one of the most energy-efficient kitchen appliances, British Gas says.
20. Use your tumble dryer less. This is the most expensive appliance in your home, so air dry where possible, do one large load rather than two small ones and use your washing machine’s spin cycle to remove excess water first.
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21. Tumble dry similar fabrics together. This should mean that all your garments will be dry at the same time.
22. Many do not realise their dishwasher heats the air to dry the dishes. Turning this setting off cuts energy usage.
23. Consider installing a smart meter to keep an eye on your energy usage, said Nick Drewe, a savings expert at discounts platform WeThrift.com. “It can tell which appliances consume the most energy, and help you make informed decisions about, say, how high you can afford to have your heating on.”
24. Go solar. An average solar panel set-up will cost £6,500 all-in, and save more than £1,028 a year. You’ll break even after six years and make a tidy profit over their 25-year lifespan.
25. Brean Horne, personal finance expert at comparison site NerdWallet, said think twice before cancelling energy bill direct debits in protest at rising prices. She said: “You could face a non-payment charge, higher estimated bills, growing arrears and credit score damage, making it harder to borrow money in future.”
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