How can we save on energy bills? Tips to make our home more energy-efficient
- Published on Wednesday, 28 January 2015 12:15
- Last Updated on 29 January 2015
- Monica Costa
- 0 Comments
As energy bills continue to rise, understanding how to save on energy bills becomes more important. Figures from the Energy Saving Trust highlight this, as they show that British households could save more than £325 in energy bills per year in the form of gas, electricity and petrol. This leads to potential savings of £8.6bn across the country and more money in our family pocket. In a city like London, though, it is very difficult to find a reliable firm to help out with energy efficiency around your own home. After a long search I believe I have found the right people to help me.
A recent study “Unexpected Costs of Winter” reveals that millions of UK homeowners are concerned about unexpected costs hitting strained family budgets this winter. HomeServe commissioned an online survey conducted by Consumer Intelligence on 8th and 9th December 2014 among a representative sample of 2,050 UK homeowners. The results are quite worrying actually:
More than half (51%) of UK homeowners polled reveal they are concerned by boiler breakdowns, expensive car repairs, or burst pipes – examples of unexpected winter costs that can rise into hundreds of pounds.
Strained household budgets (26%), the costs of Christmas and high seasonal spending (20%), rising household bills and outgoings (17%) and a lack of savings (11%) are leading to homeowner concerns, according to the representative survey of 2,000 UK homeowners conducted by Consumer Intelligence.
Unexpected costs topping this year’s list of concerns are boiler breakdown (chosen by 36% of those polled), car breakdown (32%), frozen or burst pipes (27%), appliance breakdowns (23%) and plumbing problems (21%). Storm damage (18%) and unplanned energy bill hikes (13%) also featured highly in the survey.
Millions of UK homeowners are believed to have experienced at least one unexpected cost in 2014 (a total of 64% of those polled) and almost three in ten (29%) had problems paying for it. The research also reveals a stark generational gap, with almost half of 18-24 year olds (49%) struggling to fund their unexpected costs, compared to just 8% of over 65s.
Of those polled, almost two thirds had to dip into seasonal savings or pay by credit card (37% and 30% respectively) to cover the costs. Surprisingly, only 12% had a policy or insurance to cover the expense, with many turning to borrowing from friends or family (7%), overdrafts (4%), loans (2%) or payday loans (1%).
If hit with an unexpected cost of £250 this winter, almost half suggest they would turn to credit cards or borrowing from family or friends (40% and 9% respectively) and, if the unexpected cost rose to £1,000, this would rise to 42% and 13% respectively.
One of the most worrying findings of this survey is the stark generational gap in preparedness for the unexpected costs that can strike us all, but which can have a particularly strong impact during the higher spending winter season. Almost half of under 25s just aren’t prepared, it seems, for these unexpected costs when they hit. Compare that to just 8% of over 65s – who have probably experienced many of these costs during their lives – and it’s concerning
How to save on energy bills – Tips to make our home more energy-efficient
There are many simple steps people can take to protect their homes in the weeks and months leading up to the peak of winter. By taking care of a few things now, homeowners and landlords can limit their chances of facing potentially more expensive or unexpected costs later on. Boiler servicing is the simplest step or at least so it seems.
However it was quite challenging for me to find a local boiler service company in South West London to do a simple but yet highly important job. I was quite concerned for my boiler and I researched a bit more until I found a reputable business nationwide to have piece of mind. HomeServe Heating sent a local boiler person from RightGas came along and reassured us after checking our heating system ahead of the cold winter.
The majority of people (86%) want to become more energy efficient but they don’t know what to do (I am one of them, for example). One of the simple ways to improve energy efficiency is to be aware of the household appliances that we are using and also the cars that we drive. By opting for a more energy efficient option, one can stand to make significant savings over the course of the year.
Last year Bosch commissioned some research on energy efficiency and published an extensive guide. Here is a summary of the tips to make our home more energy-efficient:
Use your degree. We often have our heating higher than we need; try turning the thermostat down by a degree. Still warm enough? Turn it down again. Every degree that you turn it down could save around £65 a year on your heating bill
Waste not, want not. Think about how much you need, e.g. kettles – don’t fill to the top – only fill up your kettle with the amount of water you need.
Max your load. Dishwashers – do fill up – make sure you have a full load, but also ensure you know how to stack correctly.
Light the path to cheaper bills. Replacing traditional bulbs with energy-saving light bulbs could save more than £400 over the lifetime of the bulbs.
Match them up. Use the burner that is the closest match to the pot size. Heat is lost and energy is wasted if the burner size is larger than the pot size.
Change your driving style. A third of motorists admit they drive in an inefficient manner. Smooth driving means less fuel consumption, so avoid harsh braking and acceleration. Stick to speed limits – driving 85mph on the motorway uses a quarter more fuel than driving at 70mph.
To coincide with the above survey, HomeServe has launched a new interactive Seasonal House which highlights potential problems in the home this winter and offers a range of useful tips for UK homeowners and landlords.
To help people save energy, Bosch UK has created a guide featuring a range of tips and advice to improve efficiency. The guide looks at five key areas to consider when tackling energy waste and to help people make cost savings; Heating, Hot Water, Electricals, Around the home, and In the car. It is available from www.bosch.co.uk/newsroom
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums