(ENG only) One of the payments that you have to make every month is your energy bill. But unlike rent or a mortgage, it is a payment that you can have an influence over and can take steps to help not only to reduce how much you pay but also the environmental impact of it. As we go into spring, here are some of the things that you can do to cut the costs of your energy bill at home, and help to make savings, but still not have to compromise on comfort or damaging the Earth.
Use electricity and electrical appliances mindfully
While turning on the light or the tv is as simple as pushing a button, make sure to make it mindfully. Do you really need all of your lights turned on when you’re at home or leaving the tv on as you chat with a friend on the phone? No. Try to stick to this simple principle: if you don’t need it, don’t turn it on at all; if you no longer need it, simply turn it off. Don’t open your fridge very often, especially as the days get warmer; wash your clothes less and, when you do wash them, only full loads and on lower temperatures; cook bigger batches and eat the leftovers on the next day; when using a kettle (even and especially an electric one), only boil the amount of water that you actually need; unplug what’s not in use; be mindful with the water usage when taking showers, brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, washing your hands. Also when possible, rely more on natural sources of energy (e.g. natural light instead of electrical light or air drying your clothes instead of using the dryer).
Turn off appliances that are on standby
If you want to save some money on your energy bills, then start by switching off any chargers or appliances that are plugged in, but are left on standby. Standby is when an item like your TV is still switched on, as there is a red light indicating that it is on standby. This still uses up electricity! By fully switching appliances off, instead of leaving on standby, you could save some money and prevent any waste of energy.
Have your heating system serviced
Your boiler or your heating system is like anything else in the home that gets a lot of use; it will need to have services, proper clean ups and checks from time to time. This can help it to work more efficiently and that can help to reduce how much you pay for your energy bill. If you have an HVAC system, then it is worth looking into HVAC repair or service, depending on the condition of the system. Although there is an up-front cost to these things, long term they can be worth it to make sure that your heating system is working efficiently.
Turn down your thermostat
As nice as it can be to have a toasty warm home on cold or chilly days, it really isn’t necessary all of the time. When heating your home, turn the thermostat down. Even one or two degrees cooler can save you a significant amount of money on your heating bill each year. A lot of your energy bills are used for heating water and heating the home, so if you make it slightly cooler, it won’t have to work as hard and won’t have to use up as much energy. If you don’t have an automatic thermostat, set an alarm on your phone when turning the heat on so you won’t forget to turn it off later. Also remember that you can always wear a thicker sweater when hanging out at home during those chilly days. Another favorite frugal tip of mine to heat my home “for free” is leaving the oven open after I used it, so that all that warmth won’t go wasted.
Draught-proof your home
If you stand by a window or a door and can feel a slight breeze coming through, then it is a good idea to prevent cold air from coming in and warm air from getting out. Anything that you do to heat your home will instantly get out through the gap, and cold air can come in too. Draught excluders or getting a draught-proofing kit can be a good way to help to eliminate this problem, which means that you are less likely to want to crank the heating up. If you are low budgeted, you can also make your own draught excluders as an upcycling project out of leftovers materials. Flooring and skirting boards can also be an area to draught-proof which you might not have thought about before.
Switch to energy saving light bulbs and appliances
This is an initial investment that will pay off in the long run. If you still have old lightbulbs, change them into energy saving ones, that will last longer, need less energy to work and therefore will save you money and be more gentle on the planet. The same goes for the electrical appliances such as refrigerator, washing machine, oven and stovetop, dish washer. When in need to buy one, look for energy efficient appliances that work more smartly energy wise. While buying second hand is always a great option to save on precious resources (and money), it might be worth it to look for new appliances that are surely going to last longer and are more energy efficient.
A few simple changes in and around the home can go a long way to impact your heating bill and make sure that you are paying less overall. When you look at the yearly savings, it is definitely worth doing.