The UK government is encouraging everyone to stay at home and engage in social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Social distancing can be defined as the practice of reducing close contact between people. In order to do this, most of us will spend the majority of our time in our homes; with many employees now working from home.
Although this can be viewed as good practice for combating Coronavirus, the extra time spent at home is likely to impact our home energy usage and could potentially cause energy bills to rise.
Below we list 7 handy tips that could help you keep energy bill increases to a minimum.
Don’t worry if your property doesn’t have some of the appliances mentioned. Once Government rules regarding social distancing are lifted, you may be able to add some of these appliances and methods to your home if you desire to do so.
1. Turn appliances off standby
It’s inevitable that you’ll use some appliances more than usual whilst self-isolating at home; your home heating and lights for example. However, you could reduce the impact that this has on your energy bills by ensuring that you use them efficiently.
Turning your appliances off completely could be a great way of reducing energy wastage as energy is still used when they are left on standby. According to the Energy Saving Trust, switching your devices off completely could help you save approximately £30 on your annual energy bill*.
2. Turn down your thermostat
This should be easier to do now that the colder season has passed. It is estimated that heating and hot water constitutes to over half of our energy bills*, so heating your home more efficiently could help to reduce the amount you pay. If you feel that you need the heating on whilst at home, try turning down your thermostat to the lowest comfortable level. It is claimed that lowering your thermostat by just one degree could help you save up to £80 on your annual energy bill*. So it’s certainly worth a try!
3. Use a smart thermostat
Smart thermostats have become increasingly popular due to their easy and convenient use and their energy efficiency. The Wi-Fi control may not be as useful whilst you are actually in your home, but it can still be helpful to be able to control your heating using an app (smartphone or tablet).
These intelligent devices also learn your heating habits so they will adjust to your new schedule and could help you set an efficient heating routine that works for you.
According to smart thermostat manufacturer Netatmo, their smart device could help you reduce your energy usage by 37%**.
4. Use a smart meter
Another smart device designed to help you take control of your energy usage, smart meters digitally send meter readings to your energy supplier to make your bills more accurate. If you have one of these gadgets, you could easily monitor your energy usage whilst at home and see the exact impact that social distancing is having on your energy bills.
According to government estimates, a smart meter could help to reduce a property’s gas use by 2% and its electricity use by 2.8%*.
5. Use water more efficiently
According to the Energy Saving Trust, around 20% of your home heating bill is spent on heating water; that’s approximately £135 a year*! Therefore, using water efficiently could help you save money on more than just your water bill.
Here are some examples of measures you can take to reduce your water usage whilst practicing social distancing:
- Instead of running the tap whilst washing the dishes, use a bowl – this could save you around £25 a year on your energy bill*.
- You could save £6 a year by only filling up your kettle with the water you need.
- Having a 5 minute shower instead of a bath or reducing your shower time could help you save*.
- Turning off the tap whilst you brush your teeth will also help to reduce water usage.
- Installing an energy-efficient shower head could help some households save as much as £70 yearly on gas for water heating, along with a further £115 a year on water bills (if they have a water meter)*.
Visit our saving water page to find out more.
6. Ensure that your appliances are energy efficient
Using your appliances efficiently is likely to have little impact if the appliances themselves are not energy-efficient. Investing in appliances that operate in an efficient manner will help you reduce your energy wastage and bills in the long run. It has been claimed that although some energy-efficient appliances may have cost more, their operating costs can be 9-25% lower than conventional models.***
Here are some examples of energy-efficient appliances that can help you reduce your household energy consumption:
Light emitting diodes require less electricity to provide effective light in comparison to CFL or Incandescent light bulbs. Switching to LED light bulbs could allow you to save around £35 on your annual energy bill*. Here’s another handy tip: try to avoid excessive use of your lights whilst at home!
A-rated boiler system
If you have an energy-efficient – A-rated boiler could provide your home with a great standard of heating and hot-water without using excessive energy. The government has made it a legal requirement for all gas boilers installed into homes to be A-rated for efficiency. Installing a brand new A-rated boiler into your home could help you save up to £200 off your annual energy bill*.
A+++ fridge freezer
Over its lifespan, this appliance could help you save an estimated £320 in energy bills****.
7. Insulation & draught-proofing
When you insulate your home, you create a barrier between your inside temperature and the temperatures outside. Doing this helps you maintain your ideal temperature and can allow you to rely less on your home heating. Popular places for home insulation include your loft, cavity wall, floor, tanks, pipes and radiators. Double glazing is a popular form of insulation and could save you as much as £110 per year****.
The Energy Saving Trust deems draught-proofing as one of the cheapest and most effective methods of saving energy and money; it can also help you maintain your ideal temperature at home*. You can get your draughts blocked professionally or you can do it yourself. Tasks such as using self-adhesive foam strips on your windows and getting a letterbox flap could help you save.
Find out more about energy saving by visiting our page on How to save energy in your home.