How To Save Money On Your Energy Bills
The amount you pay for your home energy makes up a significant percentage of your household budget. With energy costs continuing to rise, many people are looking for ways to save on their bills. There are a whole host of things you can do to reduce the amount of energy you use in your home. Even small, simple steps can make a big difference to your overall consumption, so it's worth you and your family trying hard to get into good habits.
Reducing Your Consumption
Here are a few things you can do around the house which will help save you money in the long term.
- Keep track of your consumption - always check your bills carefully in case a mistake has been made. Submit your own meter readings, so that you are not given an estimated bill which could be very different from your actual usage.
- Get an energy monitor, so you can see how much energy you are using as you go along. Some energy companies supply them, but you can buy one for as little as 40 Euros.
- Could you make use of a night tariff? If your electricity is cheaper at night, do things like washing and using the dishwasher overnight.
- Turn down your thermostat. Even reducing it by one degree can make a difference to your bill.
- Switch off unused appliances and equipment. Gadgets on standby can use up to 20% of their full consumption and mobile phone chargers still draw energy even when not plugged in. You could save 50 - 100 Euros annually.
- Switch off unused lights, and change to low energy bulbs. They have a longer life and are ultimately cheaper to run.
- Use appliances efficiently - make sure washing machines, dishwashers and freezers are full when bring used. Do batch cooking when you are using the oven and freeze the extras. Try to dry washing outside rather than use the tumble drier.
- Have showers rather than baths - a bath uses five times as much hot water as a shower.
Adapt Your Home
When you are paying money to heat your home, it makes sense to conserve as much of that heat as possible. Proper insulation will help you to do this.
- Insulate your loft to at least 8cm in depth. This could save you as much as 20% on your bills. Cavity wall insulation can also have a big impact on your energy consumption.
- Make sure your windows and doors keep the heat in. Double glazed units are by far the most efficient.
- Eliminate draughts by using draught excluders to keep your rooms warmer.
- If you have a water tank, make sure it is well lagged.
- Older boilers are not always very efficient and can end up costing you a lot more than necessary to heat your home. Consider investing in a modern condensing boiler. This will be cheaper to run and more efficient.
Create Your Own Energy
Nowadays, many people are looking to find ways to create their own energy, which of course saves them money. When you produce your own electricity through micro-generation, e.g. solar panels, wind turbines or heat pumps, you only pay for any electricity you use over and above that which you have created. If you generate more electricity than you use, you can sell the excess back through your provider.
Shop Around for the Best Energy Provider
It is surprising how great a variation there can be between different energy providers and their tariffs. This can make a big difference to your bills, so it's very important to make sure you are getting the best deal from your supplier, or swap to a new one if you can get a better deal elsewhere. There are four main providers in Ireland: Airtricity, Bord Gais, Electric Ireland and Flogas (gas only).
A comparison site is the easiest way to check if you are getting the best value. Sites such as Bonkers, uSwitch Ireland, and Freetocompare will allow you to compare providers. All you need to do is enter a few details, such as your recent usage, and you can see which tariff and company is best for you. Switching is very easy and straightforward, and can often be done directly from the comparison site.
Why Pay More than You Need?
These day no-one can afford to spend more on energy than is absolutely necessary. By following these tips, and by showing a determined attitude towards reducing your consumption and getting the best deal, you can reduce your energy bills quite considerably.