Get set to save on your energy bills

Wednesday 17th January 2024 07:45 EST


Winter is fast approaching, resulting in increases in our energy usage and bills as we go back to heating our homes and using hot water more frequently. But if you are looking to save money this winter while staying warm and safe, some small changes to your daily habits can help. You can prepare your heating system by taking some efficient no and low-cost actions that can help save on your energy bills this winter.

The Government has launched the ‘It all adds up’ campaign featuring some simple suggestions (as outlined below) that households can take to get ready for this winter.

Ensuring safety, warmth and a family’s well-being

Ketan Dattani is an entrepreneur and environmental health expert with 25 years of environmental health recruitment experience. A father of young children who is preparing for winter, ensuring safety and staying warm during the colder months is crucial for him and his family’s well-being. But as a climate change expert, he is also particular about saving energy, not just for the cost factor but for environmental reasons as well.

Ketan told us, “The UK Government’s tips on saving energy and lowering winter bills can be valuable and practical, and they align with broader energy efficiency and environmental goals. Implementing these recommendations can lead to cost savings, improved comfort, and a reduced environmental impact. “The effectiveness of the tips mentioned on the Government website may vary depending on an individual’s specific circumstances and the extent to which they can implement them. But it’s essential to consider factors like the type of heating system used, the condition of the property, and the budget for home improvements. Some tips may require an initial investment but can lead to longterm savings, while others may involve simple behavioural changes. “Saving energy is a crucial step in mitigating the negative environmental impact associated with energy production and consumption, and it plays a significant role in addressing climate change and promoting the overall health and sustainability of our planet.” Sharing some tips that he follows to keep his home energy efficient and bills low as winter approaches, Ketan said:

  • “Check your heating system: Replace filters and clean ducts if needed and consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient heating system if your current one is outdated. You can reduce your boiler flow temperature to 60 degrees Celsius to save up to £70 per year. Lowering the temperature of your boiler means that it doesn’t have to work as hard to heat your home. This reduces energy consumption and can result in lower energy bills.
  • “Insulate your homeand bleed your radiators: Proper insulation can make a significant difference in keeping your home energy efficient. Over time, air can accumulate in your radiator system, creating pockets of trapped air. This trapped air prevents hot water from fully circulating and heating the radiator, which leads to cold spots or uneven heating in your home. “Install draught stoppers or use draught excluders at the bottom of doors and install a programmable thermostat to regulate the temperature in your home more efficiently.” He further added:
  • “Get your boiler serviced: Regular servicing can help maintain your boiler’s efficiency. When a boiler is not working efficiently, it may require more energy to produce the same amount of heat, leading to higher energy bills. An efficient boiler uses fuel more effectively, reducing operating costs.
  • “Lower the radiators in unused rooms: Heating the rooms you’re in and turning down the radiators in unused rooms is generally good practice and can lead to energy savings. This approach is often referred to as “zone heating” and has several benefits, including reduced environmental Impact. Using less energy for heating helps reduce your carbon footprint, which is beneficial for the environment, especially if your heating source is based on fossil fuels.
  • “Use less water by using energy efficient showerheads: Energy-efficient showerheads are designed to reduce water flow while maintaining adequate water pressure. By using less water, you contribute to water conservation efforts and help preserve this precious resource.
  • “Lower your washing machine temperature: Lowering washing machine temperatures not only saves money, but it also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with water heating, contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle.” “In addition to the above, preparing for winter for older relatives is particularly important to ensure their safety, health, and well-being during the colder months,” said Ketan. “For my parents, who are in their late 70’s, I have a daily routine for check-ins or visits to ensure their well-being.”

How to save energy and lower your bills this winter

  • Reduce your boiler flow temperature to 60°C to save up to £70 per year: If you have a Combi boiler, its efficiency can be improved by adjusting its ‘flow temperature’ dial setting to 60°C. Turning down the thermostat entirely is not the same as reducing the boiler flow temperature. Reducing your boiler flow temperature means it will not reduce the temperature of your home per se, but it just takes longer to heat up. However, if you are over 65, or may have a preexisting health condition, you may want your home to heat up more quickly. So, set the temperature flow to 65°C instead.
  • Bleed your radiators for a warmer home and lower bills: Bleeding radiators helps remove air pockets and reduces pressure in your radiators, so that you don’t need to turn the heating up much. This can make your home warmer and keep the cost of energy bills under control.
  • Get your boiler serviced to keep it running efficiently and avoid repairs: Boilers, if faulty, can be quite dangerous. So, an annual service is important to keep it running safely. A Gas Safe registered engineer can also check for leaks, to save you money on sudden breakdowns and avoidable costs on emergency repairs.
  • Heat the rooms you’re in and turn down the radiators in unused rooms to save up to £50 per year: When you are not using a room, you can turn the radiator valves down to a lower setting, but do not turn them off completely. If you do so, your boiler will need to work harder to maintain the temperature of a room that you are trying to heat, as the surrounding cold rooms will inadvertently lower its temperature. Moreover, it can also cause mould and damp issues. If you have elderly people (over 65) or children under 5 living with you or anyone with pre-existing health conditions, then make sure you have a minimum indoor temperature of 18°C (setting 2 or 3 on your radiator valves), as they are more vulnerable in cold temperatures.
  • Install an energy efficient showerhead and save up to £40 per year: Available at any home improvement shop and fixed independently, these shower heads reduce water quantity either by regulating the flow or aerating the water. They are sometimes available free through your water supplier. However, they are not suitable for electric showers, as you can turn them to eco mode to save money.
  • Reduce your washing machine temperature to save up to £20 per year: Modern technology allows washing machines to wash clothes effectively at lower temperatures without the use of hot water. For example, changing wash from 40°C to 30°C means you could get 3 cycles using the same energy spent otherwise for 2 cycles, depending on your machine.

For more energy saving tips, visit GOV.UK/SaveEnergy

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