The energy regulator Ofgem has recently announced that periodic changes to energy price caps will now be updated every three months, increasing from twice a year. This could result in your utility bills increasing more often as the energy crisis in Europe is expected to worsen.
Analysis published in the Times forecasts the annual energy price cap to rise as high as £3,359 from October 2022.
There are a range of actions you can take to limit the effect that rising energy prices have on your bills. Some solutions will be more expensive than others, while a few require nothing but a bit of DIY.
Either way, it’s important that you start to consider what actions to take now, so you don’t get caught out once winter arrives.
1. Install a smart thermostat
A smart thermostat will give you a flexible way to monitor and use your heating appliances.
Allowing you to control your heating remotely from your phone, tablet, or computer means you can turn radiators on or off in specific rooms, remotely and immediately, rather than manually doing one at a time.
Some smart thermostats will tailor the heating cycle to your lifestyle as well as adapt to the weather forecast, saving you time and money.
Prices for smart thermostats at start around £150.
2. Seal draughts
Blocking any unwanted gaps in your home is one of the most effective ways to reduce your heating costs this winter. It’s a small, inexpensive task that requires nothing but cheap materials and a few hours of your time.
You should target places in your home such as windows, doors, chimneys, and floorboards. These areas are likely to be letting in cold air that your heating must then compensate for. The best way of doing this is to buy draft exclusion tape and use it to seal any gaps or cracks throughout your house.
There is a range of products tailored for different areas of the house, such as those listed above, with prices rarely exceeding £10 each.
3. Service your boiler
One important step before sending your boiler into overdrive this winter is to make sure it’s working properly. An inefficient boiler could cost you needless pounds once you boot it up when the cold arrives.
Servicing your boiler requires a qualified engineer. Using the Gas Safe register, you can easily check which tradesmen are certified to service your boiler. Some providers even have summer deals that charge much less for a service, adding further incentive to tackle your heating problems sooner rather than later.
The average boiler servicing fee in the UK is £75, according to heatable, whereas taking advantage of summer deals can reduce the price tag. For example, British Gas has a summer deal offering boiler services for just £45.
4. Replace your boiler
With lifespans of around 10 to 15 years, it is quite possible your boiler may need to be serviced or replaced.
Boilers become more inefficient over time and, while yours may seem to be working, it could be causing unnecessary increases to your bill.
In the event that your boiler needs replacing, it’s worth doing so before prices start to rise around winter as the demand for energy increases. This can allow you to shop around for the best deal and could also save you from some very cold evenings while you wait for your new one!
5. Ditch the bath
Opting for a shower over a bath can save you money on two fronts this winter. So, get into the habit now before the price of your morning routine increases again.
As well as using less water, you’ll also use less energy to heat the water. In fact, a five-minute shower uses one-third of the water a bath does.
As long as your showers aren’t too long, switching your habits to rinsing instead of soaking can help to reduce your bills in the face of price increases.
6. Check your plugs
Annoyingly, leaving things on standby uses energy. In fact, around 10% of household energy usage can be attributed to electronics left on standby.
This means that turning appliances off at the socket when you’re not using them – most importantly during the day and overnight – is a critical way to reduce needless energy consumption.
Chargers are often the main culprit of this issue. Before the price cap rises, get into the routine of making sure the sockets are switched off once your devices are charged.
7. Go solar
Installing solar panels during summer will leave you well-prepared to start saving on your bills by the time winter comes around.
The panels on your roof will use solar energy to create electricity that is used to offset the amount you pay for. The Energy Saving Trust has an online calculator that can show you how much you could save with solar panels.
It’s worth installing them before winter arrives to take advantage of the long summer days, but also to be confident you’ve done all you can to reduce your bills.
8. Insulate your home
There’s little use in upgrading your boiler if your house can’t keep in the heat it provides.
Ensuring your house is sufficiently insulated in time for winter is a crucial step to keep costs down when it really counts. As the heat your boiler creates travels throughout your house, without proper insulation you will find yourself spending more as you try to replace the heat that is being lost.
Floorboards are a good place to start when considering where to insulate as this could save you £40 every year. As well as the floors, checking your walls, roof, and loft have the necessary amount of insulation can save you from high bills.
9. Switch to energy-saving appliances
Older models of household appliances could be bumping up your energy bills without you knowing.
Retailers have a wide selection of energy-saving appliances. Things like your dishwashers, tumble driers, washing machines, or even fridges that can cut down your bills over the long term.
Each year, using a more efficient tumble drier could save you up to £137. You could save £69 with a more efficient washing machine, and £138 from a better fridge-freezer.
10. Use radiator reflectors
Simple but effective, radiator reflector panels allow you to maximise the heat you pay for.
They can reduce your energy bill when placed behind your radiator to reflect any heat that may otherwise be wasted through an external wall.
Radiator reflectors are useful in that they offer another energy-saving method at a low cost. Expensive panels are available, however, they start at around £5.
This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.