What can you do to reduce your energy bills to fit your budget?
During the summer, turn off the central heating entirely, set the hot water temperature to 60 degrees C and reduce the times of usage.
To prepare for next Autumn stick foil behind all radiators that are on external walls. Make sure your hot tank is well lagged. If the tank has just a 1” red jacket, wrap old blankets around it to keep the heat in. If you have a combi boiler get into the habit of turning the hot water thermostat up for showers and baths and down the rest of the time so that wash basins etc only get warm water. Choose showers rather than baths.
Decide whether you can afford to heat all the rooms. Turn off the radiator and close the door to unused rooms. In most homes there is no danger of frost in unheated rooms unless the outside temperature dips below minus 10 degrees C, but do monitor the situation.
Keep all the doors closed all the time. Lean a rug or draught excluder along the bottom of doors to stop draughts. Make sure all the windows are tightly closed. The hinge side of modern plastic window frames can be a weak point. During strong winds see if you can feel a draught – if so, tape up the gap or insert sticky backed foam into it. Tape over the unused side of external keyholes, fit a letter box draught excluder and check your loft access hatch for draughts.
A home does need fresh air, say once a day. A small window open for a few minutes is enough on a windy day, 10’s of minutes on a still day. Do not leave windows open for hours or days.
Block up unused chimneys. A chimney is a cold route directly into the heart of your home. There are inflatable ‘balloons’ designed for blocking up chimneys, or just stuff newspaper or insulation up there.
Use a power monitor to check the power consumption of your plug in devices and decide whether you can afford to maintain them, eg pond pumps.
Turn off lights during the daytime particularly if you still have incandescent bulbs. Only use dishwashers and washing machines on full load and at lower temperatures and avoid using tumble dryers since they use a lot of power. Don’t overfill the kettle. A microwave uses a lot less power than an oven or hob.
Turn down the boiler temperature and all the room and radiator thermostats in the house to between 18 and 21 degrees and reduce the ‘on’ times of any timers. Get a couple of thermometers and monitor your progress. If you cannot live with any of these constraints turn them back up individually and progressively while recognising the trade-off between comfort and energy bills.
Finally close all curtains at dusk and buy a thick jumper!
These measures will help reduce climate change as well as your bills!