Reducing household energy bills is one of the key priorities many homeowners are faced with right now. Electricity and other household bill prices have been on the increase for the majority of the last decade, but the recent spike in prices we have experienced is something many were completely unprepared for.
Electricity prices have increased by a whopping 7% this year alone, a number much higher than originally predicted. Alongside rising electricity costs, we are now also paying much more for food, petrol, and common household items due to inflation hitting an all-time high.
It comes as no surprise that all of these factors have put immense pressure on homeowners and tenants alike. The majority of the UK’s population is looking for ways to cut down costs and reduce their monthly outgoings. As much as everybody is likely to feel a pinch following the sudden rise in prices, there are certain things we can do to try to keep costs at bay.
Our monthly outgoings can normally be split into 4 main categories; bills, rent/mortgage, transport, and leisure. If you are a tenant, it is likely that the price of your rent is non-negotiable, and might actually be more likely to increase, as landlords are looking for ways to make some additional income.
If you are a house owner, your monthly mortgage repayments should remain the same unless you are on a standard variable rate (SVR) mortgage. If that is the case, or your fixed rate term is coming up to an end, your best bet in the current circumstances might be to remortgage, to lock in another fixed rate deal.
Interest rates have been rapidly increasing which is one of the main causes of concern for homeowners. Those who are on a fixed rate term will not be affected unless close to the end of their term, however, individuals who are on a standard variable rate are likely to see an increase in their mortgage repayments.
The majority of us are likely to feel the effects of the current economic situation and look for solutions or ways to cut corners to reduce our costs of living to fit our previous budgets. We have outlined some of the main things you can do to slash your bills and regain control over your monthly payments below.
How to reduce your energy bills
The average family home occupied by four people is said to use 13 electronic appliances. Our reliance on technology has increased further since 2020, and has probably reached an all-time high as working from home becomes more common. We no longer use our electricity in short bursts in the mornings and evenings, many households now remain plugged in throughout the day - which probably makes it one of the worst times for the electricity to surge in price as it has.
Below, we have outlined some of our main tips that will help you keep your electricity costs down:
- Look out for ‘A’ energy rating - All of your appliances should have an energy rating, particularly ones you are likely to use recurringly such as your fridge, washing machine, dryer, kettle, or toaster. As much as each device on its own may not appear to use up a lot of energy, multiple appliances combined can have an impact on your annual bill. By looking out for ‘A’ energy rating you know that your appliance is as energy efficient as it can be, which can cut down your bills by a significant amount every year.
- Get a smart meter or energy monitor - A smart meter can help you understand your energy use and when you use the most electricity giving you an idea of how to cut back and help you keep your bill smaller.
- Use LED or other energy-saving devices - This one is a no-brainer. In the current day and age, you should aim to use energy-efficient lighting across your house to keep energy costs at bay. Compact fluorescent lamps use around 70%-80% less electricity than equivalent traditional bulbs, and last even up to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs helping you save money further. It’s also worth taking into consideration any outdoor lighting you may have around your property, which can be easily switched to solar panelled lights, taking them off your energy bill altogether.
- Use your tumble dryer less - Tumble dryers are well known for hiking up energy bills, both because of how frequently they tend to be used as well as their exceptionally high energy consumption. Of course, your best bet will be using your tumble dryer less by putting in bigger loads less frequently, or only using it when necessary, however, if that’s not possible, make sure your tumble dryer has an A energy rating to ensure it’s efficiency.
- Wash your clothes at lower temperatures - Hot washes require more energy to heat up and maintain water temperatures throughout the wash cycle. Keeping your washing closer to the 30-degree mark can help you save a couple of pounds on your washing and keep your clothes in better condition too.
- Upgrade an old boiler - You might be surprised to hear that your boiler can account for up to 55% of your household energy consumption! Not only is it responsible for heating your water & home throughout the day, but you also most likely keep it on 24/7. Investing in a new energy-efficient boiler will pay off in the long run.
How to reduce your heating bills
Cutting down heating bills may not be as easy as it would be with electricity. It’s hard to keep your heating use at bay, especially during the winter months. The most simple approach is to keep your heating switched on for a set amount of time daily, no matter the temperature outdoors or circumstances, as well as take quick regular showers instead of long hot baths. Having a warm house or being able to indulge in long hot baths is not something many people are willing to give up. If that sounds like you, you will be pleased to hear that there are other ways you can reduce your heating costs;
- Draught Proof your property - Draught proofing is essential when trying to keep your home warm. Cracks and gaps in doors and windows can double your heating bills if they are particularly significant and let a substantial amount of cold air into your home. Have a look around your home and feel for any signs of drought or cold air coming through. Some other places you may want to consider checking also include keyholes, letterboxes, and vents.
- Switch off radiators in unused rooms - It’s as simple as it sounds. Why keep your heating on in your guest room or spare bedroom? Turn your radiators off in the rooms normally not in use across your home and watch your heating bills plummet.
- Install a smart thermostat - A smart thermostat can control your use of heating in a way that will keep it optimised to keep your space warm as efficiently as possible.
- Add insulation to your attic or floors - Adding additional insulation to your home can seem like a daunting task, however, it is an investment that will pay off for years to come. There are certain forms of insulation that are both affordable, and quick to install such as cavity wall insulation that can be done by a professional in just a couple of hours. There are also smart products out there that claim to keep your home warmer by adding a waterproof layer to existing brick walls and can be applied just like paint or any other liquid-based product.
How to reduce your mortgage repayments
Your Mortgage/rent payment is likely to be one of the biggest payments each month. If you are renting, there is very little that can be done to reduce your rent. In the case of mortgage repayments, however, there are multiple things you can do to keep your costs down;
- Remortgage to lock in a fixed rate - With interest rates rapidly increasing since 2020, those who are coming up to the end of their fixed rate deal might be faced with significantly bigger interest repayments. Remortgaging can help you lock in a new fixed rate, in order to protect yourself from further interest rate spikes.
- Reduce your mortgage payments - Remortgaging will also allow you to reduce your monthly mortgage repayments, may you find so necessary. If you are in a position where your monthly outgoings are too much to handle, there is a possibility of bringing your mortgage payments down and increasing the length of your mortgage, to help you deal with any additional costs.