How to save money on your energy bill

How to save money on your energy bill

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The money you’re spending out on utilities can soon add up without you realising.

However, if you take a little time to re-think certain areas of your holiday let, you can save yourself potentially hundreds of pounds and make your cottage more eco-friendly in the process.

Here are the 10 best ways to save money on your energy bill.

Switch energy supplier

1. Switch energy supplier

It may sound like a strange suggestion but if you haven’t switched your energy supplier in the last three years, there’s a good chance you could save on your energy bills.  

You’ll likely be on an out-of-contract rate, which is a deal for those who have not specified an energy tariff or whose fixed deal expired, and are often more expensive than many energy products on the market. According to Ofgem, nearly 12 million customers are on (often more expensive) standard variable tariffs, with 60% having been on those tariffs for more than three years – so there are lots of potential savings to be had.

Changing energy supplier is really easy and can reduce your energy bill by hundreds of pounds. There are many online price comparison sites, such as Compare the Market, Money Supermarket and Uswitch, which can help you in finding the best deal. Plus, many suppliers offer bonuses to new customers, such as account credit or gift cards, which is a nice little extra.

If you don’t wish to change your energy supplier, then make sure you are on the cheapest tariff available to you – a quick phone call to your supplier should be all it takes.

Direct debit

2. Pay by direct debit

Whether you’ve changed your provider or not, suppliers often offer savings and discounts to customers who are willing to pay their energy bills by direct debit, meaning it usually works out cheaper. Plus, as the payments are taken automatically, you won’t ever have to worry about late payments or missing post!

Paying your energy bills by direct debit is a safe and secure way to make payment whilst also allowing you to choose exactly when you want the regular payments to come out of your account.

However, it’s always worth taking meter readings throughout the year and checking them against your bill to ensure you’re not automatically paying for more energy than you – and your guests – are using. Alternatively, you could install a smart meter which will do this for you.

Turn down the thermostat

3. Turn down your thermostat

One of the easiest ways to save money on gas and electric is by making sure you programme the heating and thermostat to turn off when the property is not booked or in use.

There are an ever-increasing number of ‘smart’ heating controls on the market which allow you to operate your heating remotely over the internet – this can be a great investment if, like many of our property owners, you live away from your holiday let.

Whether you have a smart heating control or old-fashioned timers, by setting your heating and hot water to come on only when you need it, and only heating parts of the house that need heating, you could find the savings soon add up.

In fact, reducing your home temperature by only 1°C could cut a massive 10% off your heating bill; with the average annual gas bill being £557, you could be looking at an extra £55 in your pocket for very little effort – and it’s better for the planet too.


4. Switch to energy-saving light bulbs

Lighting accounts for approximately 3% of electricity usage, so reducing the amount used where possible can save you a lot of money on your overall bill. The first thing to think about when wondering how to reduce your electricity bill is swapping out your standard bulbs for energy-saving or LED bulbs – switching just one bulb can cut up to £180 from your energy bills compared with an old-style bulb over its lifetime.

Another thing to consider is the room you are lighting and if you can do anything differently. Remember to light the room according to its size; if the room is small, you can use dimmer light bulbs and where possible provide lamps to discourage turning the main light on.

And no matter which type of bulbs you use, turning the lights off when you leave the room is one of the best ways of reducing your energy bill – why pay for energy you’re not using?

Heavy curtains reduce draughts

5. Cut draughts

Keeping warm air in and cold air out is a quick and affordable way to reduce your energy bills. Easy fixes such as filling in gaps around pipes to insulating your loft hatch could help save you up to £50 a year.

Obvious places to check for draughts include windows, chimneys, fireplaces, floorboards, skirting boards, loft hatches, pipework and cracks in walls. Any gaps can be filled with draught-proofing strips, draught excluders or silicon filler depending on the area, all of which can be bought at a DIY store for a matter of pounds.

If your windows are the main culprit, then it may be worth considering switching them up for double glazing. If your property is listed and you’re unable to replace the windows, you can achieve a similar effect with thicker, high-quality curtains.

Once you’ve identified any large areas which need draught proofing, you can turn your attention to smaller areas such as keyholes and letterboxes – your guests will be snug as a bug, your holiday home will be more energy efficient and you’ll be paying less too.

Energy-efficient appliances

6. Choose energy-efficient appliances

If you’re furnishing a new holiday let, the list of appliances can get fairly long. Ovens, fridges, freezers, hobs, dishwashers, washing machines and tumble dryers all need to be considered, so the potential for saving both money and energy is high.

Choosing energy-efficient appliances can result in long-term financial savings, and often they’re eco-friendlier too. When shopping around, you need to look out for the energy ratings label and consider the size of the appliance you require. Energy ratings are typically given to products based on their size category: A-rated appliances are the most efficient of all.

To put it into perspective, a new A-rated oven can consume 40% less energy than a B-rated oven. And, according to Which, using an energy-efficient washing machine, tumble dryer and fridge-freezer can save you £48, £96 and £69 respectively per year. It’s really worth doing your research, as this is one of the best ways to save money on utilities.

Replace your boiler

7. Replace the boiler

If you’re wondering how to reduce your gas bill, take a look at your central heating. Heating accounts for 53% of your yearly energy bills, according to the Energy Saving Trust, so ensuring you have an efficient boiler is very important.

Investing in a modern boiler can be a good idea – the main advantage being that they are all condensing boilers with larger heat exchangers than older boilers, meaning a more efficient process.

In fact, the Energy Saving Trust says that, by replacing a G-rated condensing boiler with an A-rated one in a semi-detached house, you could save up to £195 per year. While new boilers can cost upwards of around £2,000, this could be an energy-saving swap that will end up paying for itself.

Replace single-glazing with double-glazing

8. Look at home insulation

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to improve the insulation of your holiday let. If you have a hot water tank, then buying a British Standard Approved jacket for your hot water tank, or increasing the insulation to a total of 80mm, is a good place to start.

You can then start thinking about insulating other areas, for example adding insulation to your pipes, your loft, the walls and the floor. According to Which, insulating both your loft and your cavity walls can save up to £315 a year, with almost half of that coming from insulating your loft to a thickness of 270mm.

If you have single glazing, another way of insulating your home is to replace your windows with double-glazed panes. The Energy Saving Trust says that installing A-rated double glazed windows in a semi-detached home could cut up to £110 a year from your energy bills.

Energy monitor

9. Get an energy monitor

As mentioned above, energy monitors – or smart meters – are portable gadgets that can give you a real-time estimate of the amount of electricity you are using and feed readings back to your supplier. They can be in the £40 range to purchase, however, many energy suppliers now install them for free, so it’s best to double check with your provider before splashing the cash.

Having a smart meter in your holiday home will enable you – and your guests – to view how much electricity your property is using in units of energy (kWh), cost or carbon emission. This can help you keep track of the average amounts being used, giving you a better insight into how different appliances affect your energy bills and eventually help you to cut back.

Eco-friendly holiday let

10. Make your holiday let more eco-friendly

As well as reducing the negative impact your property may have on the planet, taking steps to make it more environmentally friendly will also help to cut your energy bills significantly in the long term.

Being ‘green’ doesn’t require spending loads of money on fancy gadgets either; some initial simple pointers include laying rugs on wooden floors, using organic bed linen and laying bamboo instead of traditional hardwood flooring – all of these can help in reducing your energy bill by 4-6%.

Look into the cost versus savings of installing solar panels and other renewable technologies. You may find that you'll get your money back in savings quite quickly and continue to save money long into the future.

It is also worth carrying out some research into the Government’s Green Deal, as this initiative can help some qualifying home owners to make energy efficiency improvements without having to pay all the costs upfront.

With more and more customers searching for eco-friendly accommodation you could also be creating a new selling point for your property. Other guest-pleasing eco-friendly features include electric car charging points, rainwater harvesting and biomass heating. You could also leave out some information for your guests on how to save energy in your holiday home – for example, tips could include not leaving gadgets like TVs on standby, taking shorter showers, and only running the washing machine when it’s full.

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