Is your gas bill flaming mad? We’ve got 7 ways to reduce your gas bill – one tip can save you over £200 a year, while another can save you 10% and literally takes seconds.
1. The right boiler
If your boiler is more than 10 years old you could be losing as much as half of the gas you pay for. A new condensing boiler will be 90-95% efficient, which means it converts over 90% of the fuel it uses into heat, compared to 70% for a conventional boiler. In cash terms, that can save you over £200 a year.
Look for the Energy Saving Recommended logo and get it serviced regularly – you’ll be less likely to fork out for emergency repairs later. You can compare the energy efficiency of different boilers at boilers.org.uk.
2. Heating controls
Get the right controls, however, and you could make your existing boiler more energy-efficient. Thermostatic radiator valves may sound like something from Dr Who but in fact they simply allow you to control the temperature of individual rooms by regulating the flow of hot water to the radiator. Also consider time controls, and room thermostats which switch the heating off when the room reaches a set temperature.
Make your radiators work a bit harder and according to uSwitch you could save up to £140 a year. A radiator booster uses a small fan to circulate heat more efficiently, while a simple reflector bounces heat back into the room that would normally be lost through the wall. In fact you can reduce heat loss from radiators with reflector foil for under £13 – which can result in annual savings of around £20 per heater. Also try an automatic radiator bleeder, which releases trapped air saving you both energy and cash.
4. Toughen up!
Do you really need to stay in a T-shirt year round? Turning down the heating by just one degree could save you up to 10% on your bills. That’s quite a saving – so put on a jumper before you reach for the controls.
Cooking with gas is cheaper than electricity, but there are still ways you can reduce the amount of energy you use in the kitchen. A hob energy saver means you’ll use less gas to cook, while the kettle will boil water more quickly than the stove.
Glass and ceramic dishes heat up the quickest and can even reduce the temperature needed to get the same results.
Use the right sized pan for the job, put in just enough water to cover your veg and always put the lid on to keep the heat in. And if you can, cook in batches so you get the most bang for your energy buck. You can always freeze food to use at a later date (which as a bonus gives you a night off from cooking!)
6. Insulate your loft and cavity walls
The average home loses around one third of its heat through the roof and walls, but increasing your loft insulation to a depth of 270mm could save you £150 per year, while cavity wall insulation could shave a further £100 from your bill. Both are inexpensive and quick to do, and if you’re on a low income you could also be eligible for a grant or discount. In fact, you may be able to get your home insulated for free!
Windows are the enemy of central heating, but a few simple measures could save you up to £50 a year according to the Energy Saving Trust. If double glazing isn’t an option, head to your local hardware store for self-adhesive draught excluders to seal windows and doors. A great thrifty alternative to expensive double-glazing is this Tesa Insulation Film, which costs less than £12.
Little common-sense steps like shutting curtains, closing doors between rooms and sealing up gaps between your floors and skirting boards can make a surprisingly big difference, too.
Finally, remember that switching energy supplier could save you £100s per year.