Given that most of us are spending time indoors due to national lockdowns, the aftermath of COVID-19, our energy consumption (and bills) is likely to go up. According to research conducted by Uswitch, electricity usage is expected to go up by 25% a day while usage of gas would expectedly go up by 17% per day.
In monetary terms, the aforementioned increase in usage of energy accounts for £200 per year!
Looking for ways to gave energy bills amidst the pandemic? Here are a few tips!
Electricity usage is expected to increase by a greater proportion than gas. A lot of us, amidst national lockdowns, are working from home or receiving education online, which means electronics such as laptops, IT equipment, TV, and internet devices are used more often. Hence, an increase in electricity bills!
In order to mitigate the increase in electricity bills, an essential tip is to reduce your consumption elsewhere. Appliances that produce the most heat are the ones that use up the most electricity. For instance, the usage of tumble dryers, showers, kettles, hairdryers, and ovens are appliances that constitute a huge part of the electricity bill.
In order to cut down the electricity bill, steps like shorter showers, drying clothes in the outdoors instead of a tumble drier, and washing clothes at 30 degrees would definitely help.
In an average household in the UK, 13.8% of electricity usage accounts for cooking. Freezing or cooling requires a further 16.8% of electricity (Reference: City Energy). Cooking some dishes in bulk, dividing them into portions, and then reheating them earlier can help in reducing energy consumption and hence the electricity bill.
Swapping your light bulbs can be helpful too. Smart bulbs can be worth considering, as they use 80% less energy than normal bulbs. Smart bulbs can be switched off/on from smartphones as well, making it easier to keep a track of energy usage. Switching to smart bulbs from standard bills can save you £35 a year (Reference: Good House Keeping).
If a dishwasher is used quite often in your household, make sure you use yours on an eco setting to use less electricity and less water.
COVID-19 has caused uncertainty in all kinds of situations, including the questions about energy supplies and home visits for energy issues. Ofgem has published guidelines on what to do about your energy needs and are self-isolating.
The main reason behind the high usage of gas since the last few months is that the majority of us are living indoors due to COVID-19. Although the weather is getting warmer in some parts of the UK, in others the average temperature remains pretty low and a cold snap is still possible across the country.
One way to go about in order to have a reduced gas bill is to set your heating controls accordingly. Use your programmer/timer to set when the heating comes on and goes off, and use your thermostat to control the temperature in that duration. It is recommended to set it between 18-21 degrees.
To avoid overheating spaces that are unused, like spare rooms, you should use the thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) or smart central heating controls to turn down the temperature in such spaces.
You should ensure that your heating system is working efficiently. A lockdown is probably not the best time to get your boiler serviced but you can check if any radiators need bleeding. This is where air becomes trapped inside the radiator and prevents the hot water from circulating within it. In case this happens, the radiator will feel hot at the bottom but cold at the top.
It should be noted that if you feel warm and the heating is on you can always press the ‘override’ button which allows you to turn the heating off for a while without turning the timer off permanently.
Remember to check the settings on the boilers themselves. If there are further controls on the boiler to control central heating temperatures and water, you could turn these down if they are in the highest setting.
If you have a condensing boiler, the water circulating the central heating system should be set at approximately 70°C and the hot water to approximately 60°C to get the full efficiency of the boiler.
Another tip for reducing the gas bill is to stop the draughts. Draughts can make you feel cold in your home and hence, you are more likely to put the heating on. But there are some cost-effective ways of stopping draughts which can be an easy DIY job.
Draught-proofing your windows and doors by using a foam draught excluder or gasket seal to replace worn or missing seals can be very helpful. For wooden sash windows, some good options could be window and door brushes. In the case of single glazed windows, secondary glazing might be worth exploring, although it can be an elaborate job.
The use of foil panels that fit behind radiators reflect the heat away from the wall and back out into the room can make a big difference particularly for radiators on external walls.
You can find all of these things online as well, which can be a great help given the ongoing pandemic.
To save money on your energy bills, you can all switch to cheaper energy deals as well. There are a number of energy deals comparison companies' & tools available online. Such tools can help you find the most cost-effective energy deals for your own needs. The average amount of energy that you use, your budget, and your postal code are required to run an analysis.
There are also other energy saving-techniques that have significantly higher cost-saving advantages. You just need to figure out what works out the best for you!