How to cut your energy bills – MoneyWeek

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Themainculpritofenergyuseandwastageisheating:heatingaccountsfor58%oftheaveragehousehold’senergyconsumptionandthisheatisconstantlybeinglost,mostofit(35%)throughthewallsofourhouse,butalsothroughtheloft,windowsanddoors。

Thereisplentyyoucandotoimprovetheinsulation。

Ifyouhavecavitywalls,youcangetinsulationblownin,whichtakeslessthanadaytodo,causesminimumdisruption,andislikelytocostaround£300。

Loftinsulation,whichideallyshouldbe350mmthick,ischeaper,andcanusuallybedonebythehouseholder。

Theloftinsulationwillhavepaidforitselfinayearorso;thewallsinaroundthree。

Tominimiseheat-losselsewhere,checkfordraughtsusingasmokingincensestickandseeingwherethesmokeblowshorizontally。

Youshouldthenuseasealantpastetosealgapsaroundskirtingboardsandbetweenfloorboards,andfitwindows,catflaps,doorsandletterboxeswithcompressionandwiperseals,availablefromironmongers。

Ifyoudon’thavedouble-glazing,heavylinedcurtainsshouldbehungwherepossibleandtheyshouldbedrawnatdusktokeepoutdraughts。

Energyisoftenlostthroughthehotwatertank。

Insulatingthetankandwrappinghotwaterpipesinfoamwillreducewastage,andifyouneedtoreplaceyourboiler,acondensingboileristhemostefficientandwillsaveyouaroundathirdonyourheatingbills(seewww。

boilers。

org。

ukforefficiencyratingsonindividualmodels)。

Solarwaterheating,nottobeconfusedwithsolarheatingpanels,whicharemoreexpensive,maybeanoption。

Solarwaterheatingrequireswater-filledsolarpanelstobeinstalledonasunny,south-facingroof。

Oncethewaterishot,ittravelseithertoacoilinahot-watercylinder,ordirectlyintothecylinder。

InBritain,solarwaterheatingpanelswilltypicallysatisfyabouthalfyourhotwaterneeds。

Youcanaddthemtomostexistinghot-watersystemsandpricesstartataround£2,000。

Youmaybeabletogetagranttohelpyouinstallthesystem。

TryClearSkiesorcontactyourLocalEnergyEfficiencyAdviceCentreon0800-512012fordetailsoflocalgrants。

Ifyouarekeentobegreenandsavemoney,switchtoagreenelectricitysupplier,whichusesenergyfromarenewablesourcesuchaswind,solar,wave,tidalpowerandevenwaste,producedfromtheincinerationofrubbishorfrommethanecapturedfromlandfill。

Waterconservationisbecominganotherbigissue。

Demandfromhomes,industryandagriculturehasbeensteadilyincreasingoverthepast20yearsandthisislikelytocontinue。

Muchofwaterconservationisdowntocommonsense;showerinsteadofbathing,turnofftapspromptly,collectrainwaterinabuttforuseinthegarden,doyourwashingupinabowlanduseabuckettowashyourcarinsteadofahose。

Thenextstepistoinstallwater-efficientappliances。

GreenBuildingStoreisjustonecompanyofferingthese。

Productsincludeultra-efficientloosmadebytheSwedishfirmIfoSanitar,whichsetsthestandardforwater-efficientWCs。

Finally,makesureyouaren’tpayingtoomuchfortheenergyyoudouse。

Millionsofhouseholdsstillpayafewhundredpoundsovertheoddsbynotswitchingutilitysuppliers。

Tomakesureyouaregettingthebestdeal,contactoneoftheswitchingspecialists,suchasuSwitchorSimplySwitch,withyourlastfourbills。

Youmayalsofindyoucanreduceyourbillwithadual-fueldeal,orbysettingupadirectdebit。

Somefuelproviders,includingBritishGas,evenoffercashbackincentivestocustomerswhoreducetheirbills。

Eightenergy-savingtips

Turnofflightsandapplianceswhennotinuse。

Leavingthemonstandbycontributestoaround6%ofyourbill。

Turningyourthermostatdownbyjust1Cwillsaveyouaround£30ayear。

Closedoorstoretainheatandturndownradiatorsinhallwaysandemptyrooms。

LookfortheEnergySavingTrusts’sEnergySavingRecommended(ESR)logowhenbuyingappliances:ittellsyouwhicharethecheapesttorun。

Fitenergy-savinglightbulbs。

Eachbulbwillcutaround£7offyourannualbill;overthelifetimeofthebulb,youwillsavemorethan£30。

Fridgesusealotofelectricity:makesuredoorsareproperlysealed,keepthemdefrosted,anddon’tleavethedooropen。

Hangyourwashingouttodryinsteadofusingthetumble-drier。

Takeadvantageofnaturallight:sunpipesusemirrorstobringdaylightintoeventhedarkestbasement。

Theyareeasytoinstallandcanknock75%offyourlightingbill。