Most people dread opening their power bills, especially after winter having had the heater turned up, enjoyed longer hot showers and baths, and used electric blankets. It is however possible to maintain a good level of comfort in your home whilst decreasing your power bill all year round. Some small and mostly unnoticeable changes will make a difference.
Did you know that water heating is one of the largest power or gas users?
- Check your hot water taps and hot water cylinder for leaks.
- Washing your clothes uses a huge amount of water – with so many excellent cold water laundry detergents on the market there is very little need for hot washes.
- Look at what temperature your water is set at – do you really need it that high?
- Take showers instead of baths – and resist the urge to linger.
Stop your heat escaping
- When building or renovating, plan ahead and install insulation wherever you can around your home.
- Make sure your curtains and blinds are closed when the heater is on.
- If purchasing new window dressings, the thicker your curtains and the closer fitting they are to the window the less heat you will lose.
- Seal drafts around doors, and if you aren’t using a fireplace, seal or cover that up as well – you’ll be surprised at how much heat can escape up the chimney.
- It sounds obvious but only heat the rooms you are using – shut the doors to the other rooms.
Control your appliances
- Whilst you may think you’ve turned the television off, it might just actually be on ‘sleep’ mode, which means it’s still consuming power. Using the ‘off’ button on an appliances remote control won’t turn it off completely. When you are not using your television, stereo, video, computer or other appliances, turn them off at the wall. Walk around the house and you will be surprised at how many appliances are still on and therefore using power.
- Plan ahead when you use your oven and try to cook more than one item at once.
- If using a clothes dryer, make sure it is filled well, but not to the point where the clothes will take too long to dry. Be consistent about emptying the lint collector too, as the build-up of fluff can inhibit the expelling of moist air, and the clothes will stay wetter for longer as your power bill increases.
Use your lights wisely
- As it gets darker earlier in the evenings and later in the mornings our lights inevitably stay on a lot longer and chew up a lot more electricity. Make sure you turn the light off in rooms you are not using. You can always turn it back on every time you re-enter the room.
- If you have an older-style home, it’s a good idea to invest in energy-saving bulbs which also reduce costs. Newer homes will most probably already be using these, but they can easily be purchased from hardware stores, and even supermarkets.
Following these tips can help reduce your costs, and help stop the shock when opening your bills!
- Mark Forde