Ever heard of marginal gains? It’s the philosophy the Sky cycling team use to get more and more efficient by changing small things. It’s surprisingly easy to use the same approach to save money on your utility bills. Here are 10 simple things you can do now to save money in 2017.
1. Switch Your Energy Supplier
If you haven’t switched in the last three years, the chances are you’ll save money by doing so now. Use a trusted comparison site to get the best deal for you. Already switched? Then make sure you’re on the cheapest tariff. Utility companies have a legal obligation to make sure you get the best deal, so contact them today to find the best deal for you. There are also savings to be made if you shop around for the absolute cheapest deals on electricity and gas separately rather than opting for dual fuel.
2. Replace Your Light Bulbs
This is such an easy switch to make and can save you a packet. Switching just one 60W incandescent for an energy-saving LED bulb could save you almost £7.50 per year, so you can multiply that saving out around your home. If you already switched, make sure lights are turned off when you leave a room, and try to use a bulb that’s appropriate to the size of the room and the frequency of use.
3. Be Airtight
Sealing up all those little gaps around doors and windows can save on average £50 a year. Make sure you use draught-proof strips round doors and windows, block up unused chimneys and use a flexible silicone filler around skirting boards and between floorboards.
4. Turn Your Thermostat Down by One Degree
What could be simpler? You won’t even notice the difference – or you could put a jumper on – but this simple trick can save an astonishing £90 a year. If you’re already wise to this one, then try turning down radiators in rooms you rarely use (fit radiator valves if you don’t already have them), and use a smart thermostat to control your heating from wherever you are – handy if you work all day and forgot to put the timer on before you went out.
5. Go for A-Rated Appliances
Switch all your appliances for A-rated ones and you’ll save nearly £300 a year. If you’re on a budget, replace them when you can with the highest energy ratings you can afford, as the savings can really mount up. Obviously, the higher the efficiency rating, the bigger the energy saving – A+++ is best.
6. Overhaul Your Heating System
There are big savings to be made by replacing an old boiler with a newer, more energy-efficient model. However, this can be a very costly procedure, running into thousands of pounds, so is only recommended if your boiler is on its last legs or you can afford it. Otherwise there are several energy-saving steps you can take to make sure your system is running as efficiently as possible.
– Have the boiler serviced and check all the components of your heating system like pumps and the expansion vessel. Replace if necessary with more energy-efficient models.
– Fit radiator valves to allow control of heating in seldom-used rooms.
– Bleed your radiators to make sure they’re working at maximum efficiency with no cold spots.
7. Up Your Insulation Game
The major loss of heat from your home comes through your walls (35%), roof (25%) and floor (10%). There are plenty of free grants available to help homeowners retrofit less energy-efficient properties with loft and cavity wall insulation. Have both of these home improvements done and you could save, on average, £300 a year. If you already have insulation in your loft, check that it conforms to the recommended 270mm depth.
8. Invest in Energy-Efficient Windows
Replacing your windows with energy-efficient ones is a big undertaking and a large investment, but you will reap big energy-saving rewards. If you’re just looking for a quick fix, or you already have double glazing, then invest in some heavy curtains for winter – add blackout lining and you’ll help block sound and get a better night’s sleep, too. If you don’t have double glazing, secondary glazing solutions can be a cost-effective solution.
9. Switch Off Standby
It might not save you a fortune, but every little helps. By switching off appliances instead of leaving them on standby, you could save another £30 a year. Get yourself a standby saver that can be programmed to respond to one remote control and will cut the power to all your appliances. Get one that has an always-on socket for your broadband or Sky box so you don’t lose the internet and recorded programmes.
10. Get an Energy Monitor
Gas and electricity companies often give away these clever little gadgets for free, and they’re excellent for monitoring your overall energy consumption. Keep track of yours and it’ll tell you where to cut back, giving you even more savings on your utility bills.
Are you ready to start saving?