The number of people in the UK finding it difficult to afford their energy bills has increased throughout this year, according to new figures from the ons.gov.uk/”>Office for National Statistics (ONS). The data, released this week, shows almost half of adults (45%) who pay energy bills are finding it difficult to keep up with payments.
ofgem.gov.uk/”>Ofgem figures have also revealed the number of UK households in arrears on their energy bills soared to record levels in the second quarter of this year. It comes after the government’s announcement that the cap on energy unit costs would last only six months instead of the planned two years.
As we head into winter, Quotezone.co.uk has shared recommendations for reducing the cost of energy bills - including watching out for ‘vampire’ appliances this Halloween. Helen Rolph, price comparison expert at Quotezone.co.uk, said: “Energy is an incredibly confusing topic right now.
“As the clocks go back this weekend and evenings become darker and colder, many people are wary of turning the heating on, out of fear that household bills will continue to skyrocket. Our recent survey shows the biggest financial worry people have right now is the cost of energy, with 73% of people noting it as their top concern.
“We’ve researched a few hacks that could be handy to try but the best way to save money is to look at long-term change.”
Watch out for vampire devices that suck up extra energy
‘Vampire’ devices are appliances which suck up a lot of energy to do very little. An example would be some smart TVs which can use a lot of energy on standby just because certain features are enabled, like “wake up via WIFI” which is thought to use almost as much as having the TV turned on.
Insulate your home
When it comes to losing heat, the biggest offenders are usually the walls (35%) and the roof (25%). If you don’t already have these well insulated then look out for support schemes to help reduce the costs of these upgrades.
Get savvy with your energy meter
Smart meters let people see when they are using energy, but you can still track your usage with a standard meter. Set regular reminders to read your meter more often to see what you’re using. Make sure your bills are correct by sending meter readings to your supplier to ensure you are being billed for the correct usage.
Look after your radiators
Heating is the biggest energy use in homes – there is a lot of debate around how best to save money, but there are some key considerations:
- Maintenance – annual servicing keeps the boiler running efficiently (and helps ensure it is safe)
- Bleed radiators – air can get trapped in radiators and that causes corrosion and reduces efficiency
- TRVs – most homes have thermostatic radiator valves, adjust these to the right levels for each room – when the room gets too warm and the boiler is still on, they shut off the radiator and save you money (set them to lower levels for less frequently used rooms, but don’t turn them off completely or you risk causing other problems like damp in the room)
- Boiler temperature – all gas and oil boilers fitted after April 2007 must be condensing. These boilers stop the heat going up the chimney, but only if they are correctly configured – keep the temperature dial on the boiler under 75 degrees or this cannot happen.
- Plan ahead – if you are not going to be home, remember to change your heating settings – smart controls allow you to do this from anywhere, so if your budget can stretch you could save a lot**
Stay fresh and ventilate your home each day
Open the windows a little for a short period to let moisture out in the mornings and after showering or cooking. Dry air is heated faster than humid air, so this can help save money. If you dry clothes indoors, try to do it in an unoccupied space (like a bathroom or garage) and increase the ventilation in this area.
Use energy saving bulbs
Even after the government’s new Energy Price Guarantee, a standard 40w bulb running for a day would likely cost homeowners £1.86 a month. Replace just one bulb with an energy saving bulb and that cost could drop to as little as 37p a month. If you have 20 light bulbs in your home that’s a saving of £30 a month.”