Energy Saving Guide

WOWCOMPARE® – Energy saving guide, find out how you can cut your family’s energy use to reduce your electricity and gas bills and save money.

‘Cost of Living Crisis’ or #CostOfLivingCrisis is trending online as the spiralling cost of living impacts on households across the UK. The huge increase in electricity and gas bills is concerning  for many families, figures from the ONS (Office of National Statistics) show electricity prices rose by 19% and gas prices rose by 28% during the last few months of 2021.

Throughout 2022 energy prices have risen sharply. In April 2022 Ofgem increased the energy price cap by 54% in one go to £1,971. In August Ofgem announced that it will increase the energy price cap further this October to £3,549 for a dual fuel tariff. It is believed there with be another increase in March/April 2023, raising the average annual tariff for electricity and gas somewhere between £5,000 and £6,000.

For many hard working families across the UK, Europe & USA constant increases in household bills has become unsustainable, many low income families may have to choose between heating & eating this winter.

At WOWCOMPARE we have complied our top tips to help you reduce your household energy consumption and lower those bills.

WOWCOMPARE - Energy Saving AvatarTop tips to reduce household energy bills

You can take a few steps to reduce your household energy consumption and lower your electricity and gas bills.

① Replace windows with double or triple glazing and fit draught proof entrance doors

Whilst the initial outlay for window and door replacement is costly, installing new energy efficient windows and doors can help reduce draughts and prevent heat leaking from your home, saving you serious amounts of money during colder winter months.

As window replacement is costly it might not be affordable for low income households. Many local authorities have schemes and can issue grants to help struggling families to access money to cover the cost of window replacement (most grants are non repayable,  however access to funding is dependent on individual circumstances and successful application for grants is based on individual circumstances and proof of household income).

② Install more insulation in loft space, insulate cavity walls and super insulate water cylinders

Insulation is key to saving on heating costs, all but the best insulated homes suffer from heat loss, poor insulation in your roof, walls and around your hot water cylinder (if you have one). Here’s how you can better insulate your home:

  • Install new, more efficient loft insulation, or even add an extra layer of insulation, this can drastically reduce heat loss making it cheaper to heat your home.
  • Install insulation to internal or exterior walls, or get your cavity walls professionally insulated. Wall insulation helps to keep your home warm in the winter and cooler in the summer.
  • Install an insulating jacket around your hot water cylinder if it’s an old copper cylinder, extra insulation will help your water cylinder retain heat and use less energy.

The Energy Saving Trust estimates that an annual saving of £250 can be achieved by effectively insulating the average detached house in the UK.

③ Turn down your central heating and water heating

If you have a digital boiler with temperature controls, you can save on gas and electricity by reducing your central heating & water output temperatures by just a few degrees.

  • Central heating for wet radiator systems works efficiently at around 60°C, setting the temperature any higher will make your boiler work harder and therefore use a lot more gas. Reduce your central heating temperature for instant savings.
  • If you have a room thermostat set it between 19°C -21°C for comfortable heating.
  • Turn down your heating on your thermostat if it is getting too hot – don’t open windows, opening windows means your heating will carry on working even when it’s not needed, wasting gas and electricity.
  • If you have a combi boiler you can adjust your on demand hot water temperature, ensure your water temperature output is set at 45°C – 50°C for energy efficiency.
  • Hot water cylinders – IMPORTANT hot water stored in a cylinder should be heated to at least 60°C to effectively kill legionella bacteria.

④ Turn off heating when you are at work or out

Why heat your home when you are out? Ensure you are not throwing money away heating an empty home:

  • Program your boiler or heating system to remain off when no one is at home.
  • Install a smart home thermostat – a smart thermostat provides ultimate control over your heating. Nest, Hive and other solutions are simple to fit, smart thermostats even  allow you to login and turn your heating on or off while you are out. You will never have to return to a cold home, at the same time you can eliminate wasted gas and electricity use by turning your heating off when you are out.

⑤ Reduce hot and cold water use

You can easily reduce water consumption by implementing some quick changes. Reducing hot water use also helps decrease energy costs as most households still heat water using electricity, gas boilers or hot water cylinders.

  • Fit aerating inserts to taps and showers – Aerators can be screwed into existing faucet spouts or taps. For hand held showers you can switch to an aerating water-saving shower head, or fit an inline aerator. Water aerators can help reduce your water use by 1000s of litres each year, so this simple step can help you make big savings on your water bill as well.
  • Fit a water softener – In hard water regions a water softener helps protect water heaters and pipework from calcium build up, this helps to both maintain your boiler or immersion heater and keep them running more efficiently for longer. Plus, soft water makes cleaning easier (less shower gel, less detergent and less soap).
  • Turn off the tap when brushing teeth – Leaving the tap running whilst brushing means money is going down the drain literally. Only turn the tap on when you need to rinse.
  • Switch from baths to showers – Showers use much less water than a bath, that’s if you don’t spend ages in the shower! You can save even more money by limiting each shower to around 5 minutes max, make sure your family washes and goes.

⑥ Switch to energy efficient LED light bulbs

Nearly all light bulbs are available in LED versions. LED light bulbs can emit as much light as filament, fluorescent and halogen bulbs but they only use a fraction of the energy.

E.g. if you replaced all 40 – 120 watt bulbs with 4 – 12 watt LED equivalents you could reduce your lighting energy consumption by around 85%. LED bulbs last up to 20x longer, so you can make more savings by not having to replace bulbs so often.

LED bulbs use up to 85% less energy
(*Amazon have a huge selection of LED Bulbs including bayonet, screw in, GU10 etc. plus smart bulbs for automated colour changing, dimming and mood lighting effects). 

⑦ Turn off lights when you leave a room

Incorporate simple routines to reduce energy waste. Turn off lights when you leave a room, one of the simplest things to do but surprisingly many households waste £s annually by leaving on lights unnecessarily. Get your whole family into the habit of turning lights off in empty rooms.

⑧ Turn off appliances at the wall, don’t leave appliances on standby

Whilst the energy consumption of many appliances on standby mode is low, leaving multiple appliances on standby overnight, every night, can result in energy costs adding up. Over the course of the year leaving your appliances on standby overnight can waste £s.

Items like TVs, CD and DVD players, dishwashers, washing machines, tumble dryers can all be switched off at the mains when not in use without effecting their programming. A great way to automatically switch off appliances is to use standby savers or smart plugs & energy controls these can be set to automatically turn off appliances overnight.

⑨ Eco wash, use non-bio laundry products, wash on shorter cycles at 30 degrees

New eco detergents are designed to be both kinder to the environment and to wash clothing at lower temperatures. Most washing detergent manufacturers have introduced eco & plant based laundry products, these often work as well as biological enzyme based detergents but can be used to clean at really low temperatures, saving money each time you wash.

  • Save up to 50% electricity just by washing at 30°C on a short cycle wash.
  • Always ensure you wash a full load – washing individual items or part loads is hugely wasteful in water and energy use.

ECOegg environmentally friendly laundry
Why not try using an ECOegg?
  Eliminate the need for expensive detergent, add the ECOegg in your washing machine with your clothing, let the cleaning pellets inside the egg get to work for amazingly clean, fresh washing every time.

ECOeggs help to reduce plastic waste, they are chemical free, vegan & allergy friendly (* Laundry ECOeggs cost £9.95 refill pellets are just £4.99 – each refill provides up to 70 washes – use the link for 15% off your first order).

 

⑩ Limit tumble dryer use

You can save money by drying clothes naturally, always dry clothes and bedding outside in dry weather during the spring and summer. Limit using your tumble dryer in the winter by drying clothing on an indoor airer, conservatories or sun rooms are perfect for drying washing indoors.

  • Finish off drying in an airing cupboard if you have one.
  • Only use a tumble dryer for a short time, perhaps only to finish drying items that are already almost touch dry.
  • Remember to clean your tumble dryer lint (fluff) filter each time before use, this will ensure your dryer works as efficiently as possible. Lint and fluff build up can drastically increase the time needed to dry clothing & bedding, you can waste hundreds of pounds a year by failing to clean the fluff from lint filters before each use.

⑪ Fully load your dishwasher and run on a hot, short cycle

If you have a dishwasher, always make sure you have a full load before putting it on. Most dishwashers have a number of program cycles:

  • Wash on a quicker 45-50°C setting using a premium branded dishwasher tablet for perfectly clean and sanitised kitchen ware and cookware.
  • Turn off your dishwasher at the mains or on/off button between each use.

⑫ Upgrade old and inefficient appliances with ‘A’ rated appliances, or best in class when top ratings are not available

It would be costly to replace all appliances at once but as old appliances break down or need replacing consider buying energy efficient brands or models to replace them.

Appliances now come with energy ratings from A to G. You can check an appliances energy rating online at manufacturer websites or with a retailer prior to buying a new appliance online or in store.

How much could you save?

Energy consultancy Cambridge Energy have compiled a list of top energy savings based on average modelled UK household use and current energy prices:

Behaviour

Energy Savings (kWh per year)

Annual cost saving (UK gas 7p kWh / Electricty 28p kWH

Turn room thermostat down by 2 degrees from 20°C to 18°C (gas central heated homes)

3,093

£217

Turn thermostat down by 1 degrees from 19°C to 18°C (gas central heated homes)

1,528

£107

Air dry laundry instead of tumble drying (electric dryer)

360

£100

Install water reducing shower heads and take shorter showers (gas heated water)

810

£57

Use dishwasher on lower heat program / or eco cycle

180

£50

Delay heating home for a month from October to November (gas boiler)

670

£47

Turning off lights when not in rooms

130

£36

Use smart radiator valves to turn off heating in unsed rooms (gas central heated homes)

530

£37

Replace damaged poor fitting fridge/freezer door seals

130

£36

Put lids on saucepans when cooking to reduce energy (electric ovens)

124

£35

Here is the link to the full Cambridge Energy Saving Report complied for BEIS (Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy).

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UW or Utility Warehouse is a UK multi-service provider, UW can provider energy (gas & electricity), broadband, home phone and mobile phone plans. All services services are managed via a single account and all services you choose to sign up for are billed in a single monthly bill.

UW currently have some great offers on energy, plus when you add additional services like broadband and phone you can maximise your discounts and savings.

Read our article on UW – Utility Warehouse, see how you could save on your bills and help friends, family and others to save, and how to earn fantastic commissions by becoming a UW Partner.

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What help is available if you are struggling with energy bills?

If electricity & gas bills are becoming a struggle, there are several things you can do to access help. The most important step is to acknowledge your difficulty and work out a plan to try manage your bills.

Contact your supplier to discuss your situation

First off it’s always wise to contact your supplier, your supplier can look at your monthly usage and they might be able to suggest a payment plan that is more affordable.
Switch tariff – they might be able to switch your tariff, to a tariff with better pricing based on your use & needs. If you are on fixed rate that’s ending soon your supplier will be able to advise on what options are available going forward.

Your energy account is always in credit but your supplier has increased your direct debits what can you do?

If you are in credit with your supplier you can request that they re-assess your usage and bring down monthly payments inline with your average monthly use. If you are struggling with bills it is not in your interest to be paying more each month than your bill total.

A small amount of credit on your energy account/s can be helpful as it provides a buffer when bills come in higher than expected on a given month. Households generally use more electricity and gas in the winter than in the summer, so it is usual to build some credit over the summer which is offset against increased energy use during winter.

Find out if you can access an energy grant

Supplier energy grants – some suppliers are able to offer temporary energy grants to customers who are really struggling, accessing a grant does require you to provide household financial information to check eligibility, suppliers offering grants include:

Local authority grants – Some local authorities offer energy grants for certain households or low incomes these are mainly grants for improving home insulation not financial assistance with bills – You can check what grants are able in your postcode using the Simply Energy Advice website.

Government grants / schemes – The government offers 2 schemes ‘winter fuel payments‘, providing annual payments of £100 – £300 for over 65s to assist with winter heating costs. In addition there are also ‘cold weather payments‘ available to more households when the weather remains cold at 0 °C, or below for 7 consecutive days or longer. You can apply for £25 for each 7 day period where the temperature does not rise above 0.

Still struggling with energy bills, these charities & organisations can help

If you are still struggling there are some charities and organisations you can contact for free, independent advice on debt, energy bills, and cost of living issues, these include:

Citizens Advice

In larger towns you can find local Citizens Advice branches, you can also access Citizens Advice by website: England and Wales or Scotland. Advisers are available online or, in person and over the phone: 0800 144 8848 (England), 0800 702 2020 (Wales), and 0800 028 1456 (Scotland).

National Debtline

National Debtline is available to discuss household and personal debt, they can be contacted on 0808 808 4000 or you can visit the National Debtline website for more information.

Step Change

Step Change is a UK charity who are there to help with debt. They can provide help answer your questions on debt. Plus they are able to provide assistance with Debt Management Plans, IVAs, DROs and other courses of action:  Call 0800 138 1111 or visit Step Change website.

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