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5 Easy Ways To Tackle Soaring Home Energy Costs

It goes without saying that times have been tough in recent years, and it’s had an enormous impact on household finances. One area that seems to have particularly spiralled out of control is energy costs – with a rising dependence on foreign resources, we’ve seen a 131.1% rise in costs over the last 10 years.

Prices have risen way about the RPI (retail price index), causing so called ‘fuel poverty’ amongst millions of UK households. But what can we do about it? This latest guest post runs through some very real ways to slash money from your annual energy bills – with some significant savings on offer.

1. Carefully Monitor Your Usage

We’re not just talking about walking round your house and turning off lights and unplugging chargers – although that level of energy thriftiness can help! The premise is simple – you get your hands on one of these energy monitor devices for around £20-£30 (or free from some energy companies) and plug it in to a wall socket in your home. That’s it!

Then you get a detailed, real-time readout of the number of watts/KW your home is currently using. What this allows you to do is see when you’re using higher-than-normal amounts of energy, and do your best to switch unnecessary appliances off. According to the UK Energy Saving Trust, you could see a 5-15% drop in usage in your first year, which makes a big difference to those rising bills.

2. Switch Energy Tariffs or Providers

This could make an even bigger difference to your next year’s energy bills; simply shop around with different energy suppliers and see which company is willing to give you a better deal. Using one of the countless big price comparison sites can deal with all the legwork for you, so you’re simply provided with a list of providers and what their costs are. Some claim savings of up to £350 or more after switching, which can make an enormous difference to a household’s energy expenditure.

Of course, those won’t be your savings year on year, but by switching to a cheaper tariff you will end up with lower bills for the same usage each time a bill drops onto your doormat.

3. Invest in Boosting Your Home’s Energy Rating

Now, this is quite a broad one so bear with us, but the fact is there are a whole plethora of ways you can improve your homes overall energy efficiency without having to tear down walls and build new structures. For those not aware, an energy rating is given when an Energy Performance Certificate is drawn up, rating your home from A (most efficient) to G (not efficient at all).

Some of the more significant improvements you can make include loft insulation (potential savings of £250 per year), general draught proofing (£10 to £50 a year) and high-rated double glazing (up to £175 a year). Ensuring quality is important, though – make sure you go with a reputable installation firm for any insulation, and buy double glazed windows and doors from a BFRC-registered firm.

4. Consider Renewable Energy Sources

This is somewhat of a more complicated one, since it involves installing new systems to your home and connecting these up to the National Grid, but the results (particularly long term) can be really worth the investment. Solar PV panels can save you up to £750 per year, and also benefit from the Feed-In Tariff scheme, which can provide income based on electricity generated by the panels – whether you use it or not.

Ground source heat pumps are another fantastic renewable resource, simply drawing heat retained in the ground – saving up to £600 (according to the Energy Saving Trust) and also becoming eligible for the finally-rolled-out Renewable Heat Incentive.

5. Upgrade Old Appliances

This is something which does require a certain amount of investment, but newer appliances will certainly be more energy efficient and also potentially have a longer lifespan.

You can look to upgrade outdated TVs and power-hungry computers with more modern energy efficient models, but an area to make larger gains is with your boiler.

The Energy Saving Trust say that a new A-rated boiler could save you up to £490 over an old G-rated model; improvements in efficiency and the addition of room controls and thermostatic radiator controls also help ensure you only use the energy you really need.

This guest post was written by Tom McShane in association with UK Trade – one of the UK’s leading suppliers and installers of energy-efficient windows, doors and conservatories.

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