The winter is rapidly approaching, with the temperatures decreasing and sunshine hours getting shorter on a daily basis. As a result, energy consumption is on the rise as more people crank up the thermostat for a toastier, more comfortable temperature at home.
All of this comes at a cost, however — energy bills have been rising fast over the course of the year, meaning a warm and comfortable living room could end up costing you more than you’d expect.
Luckily, there are several ways you can lower your energy bills and enjoy a comfortable home without the usual cost this winter. Below, we’ve listed five techniques that you can use to lower your energy bills, all without sacrificing any comfort this holiday season.
Compare prices and consider switching providers
Think you’re spending too much on energy? You could be right. Many UK households pay more than they need to for energy not due to any mistakes or usage habits, but because they haven’t taken the time to compare prices and shop around.
If you’ve spent years (or in some cases, decades) with the same energy provider, you might be able to get a better deal by making the switch to a new supplier.
Even if you don’t end up making the switch, simply calling your energy provider to let them know you’ve found a better deal elsewhere can be enough to help you shave a small amount off your monthly energy tariff.
Lower your thermostat (just a little bit)
Turning down your home’s temperature to save money might seem like overly simply advice, but it can save you a surprising amount of money. Information from the Energy Saving Trust shows that even a tiny 1ºC decrease in temperature can lower your bills by as much as £85 per year.
That’s a significant saving, all in exchange for a not-so-significant reduction in temperature. If you feel like you’re living room is just a little too toasty this winter, try lowering the temperature by a degree or two to enjoy the same level of comfort at a lower cost.
Or, if you don’t mind a slightly lower home temperature, try decreasing the temperature by two to three degrees for a bigger saving, all while making up for the difference with an undershirt or wooly jumper.
Switch over to energy-saving light bulbs
While heating is the biggest energy consumer for most British households, “small” energy-using items like lightbulbs and appliances can add a large amount to your household’s total monthly energy consumption.
One way to save electricity and reduce your energy bills is by replacing your old lightbulbs with energy-saving bulbs. Newer bulbs that use LED and CFL technology only require a fraction as much energy as older models, all while providing equal or superior lighting.
Don’t think it’s worth making the upgrade? Although you’ll need to spend a little bit to replace your existing light bulbs, you could save as much as £60 per bulb in the long term.
Pay your energy bills in installments to avoid sudden costs
Tired of paying massive winter energy bills? By switching over to direct debit, you can avoid the excessive energy bills that seem to define winter and instead spread your energy spending over multiple smaller payments.
As well as switching to direct debit, there are several other ways you can reduce the total cost of heating your home in winter. One tactic is to ask for a meter reading — if you’ve spent more than you need to for energy, your provider should be able to provide a credit to your account.
Use credits and heating discounts to your advantage
Are you on a Universal Credit or Jobseekers’ Allowance benefit? If so, you might be entitled to a discount on your energy bills. Government-provided discounts like the Warm Heating Discount Scheme make it easier for people on limited incomes to pay for energy during winter.
Under the scheme, you could save up to £140 on electricity in the form of a one-off energy bill discount. If your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity bill, you may also be able to receive a discount on your gas bill.
The discount is also available for people on low incomes, meaning you might not need to be on a government benefit in order to apply. There are also other schemes designed to reduce winter energy costs, such as the Winter Fuel Payment for people born on or before 5 August 1953.