How to Save Money on Energy Bills
It’s not difficult to save money on energy bills.
In fact it takes a few simple tweaks, and often times you don’t even have to be involved!
Energy companies have a way of pulling the rug from underneath you from time to time. One sunny afternoon when everything is going well, you receive a sky high energy bill out of the blue and you don’t know what to do!
And once you’ve gone back and forth with your energy provider’s customer service over the phone and solved nothing, your next thought will be “How can I make sure this never happens again?” Or “How can I save money on energy bills?”
Which is precisely why we’ve compiled this guide to help you not only save your hard earned money on energy bills, but also reduce your carbon footprint and be kinder to the planet.
Our aim, as heating engineers is to not only guide you to buy the best boilers or new central heating systems, but also save money on energy bills.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways you can save money on energy bills over the long term:
1. Replace Your Older Non-Condensing Boiler
Potential savings: Up to £500 per year
According to the Energy Saving Trust, heating accounts for 55% of your energy bills. So, when you switch to a modern A-rated condensing boiler with a programmable thermostat and weather compensation or an internet enabled learning thermostat like Nest, you can easily save up to £600 a year on your energy bills, no matter the size of your house.
If your existing boiler is older than 12-15 years, there’s high probability it’s a G-rated, non condensing boiler with no programmable thermostats.
Boiler Repair Cost vs Buying a New Boiler
Depending on the brand of boiler you buy, a new boiler can cost anywhere between £1500 (cheap, low quality) to £3,000 (premium, high quality) for Gas and LPG boilers, and £4000-£6000 for oil boilers when you include installation and other extras. But that cost can be offset over the long term in huge energy savings.
If you currently have a broken boiler, or suffer from boiler breakdowns often, probably it’d be prudent to consider boiler replacement. What’s more, if you’ve already spent money on boiler repair through the year, chances are that boiler’s internal components may be damaged or heavily corroded. Which means it most probably will break again.
An average gas engineer call-out fee can be up to £150. If you’ve had several repairs done over a year, let’s say 5, you’ve already spent close to £750.
Old Boilers are Low on Energy Efficiency
You May be Losing Money on Energy Bills
Non-condensing boilers from 12-15 years ago do not extract extra heat and waste that opportunity through the exhaust gases. Which means even brand new, they start at fairly low energy efficiency, for ex. 80-85%. Over years of daily use and thermal stresses on internal components, that efficiency drops to 70% and even 50% in some cases due to heavy corrosion. Which is why it’s also important to have the internal components of your boiler made out of the toughest, most durable and high quality metal like stainless steel.
Below is a longevity comparison of aluminium vs stainless steel heat exchanger for condensing boilers:
How does Energy Efficiency Translate into Money?
For every £100 you spend on energy bills, you may be losing £30 to even £50 with an older non-condensing boiler. Compare that to a modern high efficiency condensing boiler, which starts at 90% and goes up to 94% energy efficiency with smart controls, the fuel wasted is minimal. Premium boilers like the Viessmann Vitodens 200-W operate at an amazing 98% energy efficiency, so you’re only losing £2 for every £100 spent on your fuel, whether Mains Gas or LPG. These modern boilers also modulate between 5kw and 30kw at a 1:10 ratio when needed, saving even more energy when not needed.
So, even if a high quality boiler costs you extra initially, it more than pays for itself in just a few years, and saves heaps of your hard earned money over the next decade.
Are All Boilers Created Equal?
We wish we could say yes, because that would save everyone a lot of time. We won’t have to spend time reviewing and comparing boilers, and you can buy whichever brand you like without doing any research. Every plumber and boiler company will obviously try to sell you the brand they’re aligned with, or are approved installers with. You do get extra support and extended warranties, but very few of them are transparent in their recommendation.
Boilerhut are aligned with Viessmann, but we still like to give you our unbiased opinion and help you save money on energy bills. We chose Viessmann over other manufacturers simply because they are hands down the most technologically advanced, reliable and energy efficient boilers available in the UK and Europe at the moment. They’ve won the “Which Best Buy” award for 2017, 2018 and on track to win it again in 2019. Without going into much detail, if you’d like to know more about the best boilers you can buy, please read the articles below:
2. Switch to Energy-Efficient Appliances
Potential savings: Up to £240 per year
From washing machines to refrigerators to small appliances like hair dryers or even light bulbs, you can save money on energy bills by simply switching to the high efficiency options. Every penny saved counts in the long run. Even if you don’t care whether you save money on energy bills or not, think about the environment. Think about your impact on the planet you’re leaving behind for your children, and grandchildren, and generations to come.
If you’re replacing an appliance, you can save money on electricity by choosing the most energy-efficient model. For example, running costs for washing machines vary between £20 and £100 per year. You can either find brochures for the appliance you’re going to buy, or do your own independent research to find out how much those appliances cost to run, and which ones will be the cheapest.
By switching to energy-efficient models, you can save money on energy bills, up to:
- £80 Annually for a Washing Machine
- £70 for a Tumble Dryer
- £89 for a Refrigerator
Combined with other energy efficient kitchen appliances, your total energy-savings for the year could go up to £239! That’s enough money to afford yourself a small vacation. What’s more, many modern appliances modulate energy usage.
3. Change Your Energy Supplier or Switch to Cheaper Tariff
Potential savings: Up to £250 per year
If you’ve stuck with the same energy supplier for more than 3-4 years, chances are you could save money on energy bills by switching to another energy company or a cheaper tariff.
Clients who switched energy suppliers are now saving an average of £230 a year on their energy bills. That’s just an average figure. You could save much more depending on who you choose, and what type of plan you choose. If you’ve already switched to another energy supplier, do ensure that you’re on the cheapest tariff. The best way to save money on energy bills is by choosing an online tariff and managing it over the internet.
Generally that might be a cheaper way than going with the same supplier for gas and electricity.
4. Cavity Wall & Loft Insulation
Potential Savings: Up to £300 per year
By insulating both your loft and cavity walls, you can save money on energy bills, up to £300 per year. Laying 270mm thick insulation in the loft of an average UK house could slash about £180 a year straight from your energy bills, because less heat will escape through the roof.
Insulating cavity walls can save up to £150 a year. Insulation for solid walled properties is more expensive to fit, but can still save you up to £280 in the same type of house. If you already have 120mm thick insulation, you can save more money by topping it up to 270mm thickness.
5. Programmable and Smart Internet Enabled Learning Thermostats
Potential Savings: Up to £100 per year
By actively monitoring and reducing temperatures of the room you’re not in, even by just 1º C can save you up to £85 a year on energy bills in an average UK home, as per the Energy Saving Trust. There are different types of thermostats.
If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, we recommend getting one, so you can schedule it to turn the heating off when you leave for work in the morning, and turn the heating back on as you’re coming back. We recommend EPH (pictured above) as it’s not only cost effective, get the job done, but is also Boiler Plus Legislation 2018 compliant. Viessmann boilers are compatible with weather compensation, which is a sensor installed on your north facing wall, and depending on the temperature outside, it talks with the boiler to adjust the temperature inside your home automatically, helping you save money on energy bills without you moving a muscle!
If you’re already using a programmable thermostat and the program you’ve set is working for you, you can further save money on energy bills by turning down the radiators in rarely used or empty rooms. It helps if you have TRVs (Thermostatic Radiator Valves) installed on each radiator. That way you can turn radiators down to zero for rooms you rarely visit.
Internet Enabled Smart Learning Thermostats
With technology evolving at rapid rate, and almost everything done online these days with focus moving to mobile, there’s no reason not to use it for your home heating either. Which is where internet enabled, smart learning controls like the Nest Learning Thermostat come in. Nest triangulates with up to three nearby weather stations and adjusts the temperature inside your home. It also learns from you when you’re at home, the temperature that you set and what you’re comfortable with. So that when you walk in your home, it lights up and sets that temperature. Over time it learns from your behavior and controls the temperature automatically, to save money on energy bills, up to 60%!
Another good thermostat in this space is the Tado Smart Thermostat which uses your phone’s location to control your heating, ensuring no energy is wasted.
6. Put on a Sweater to Save Money on Energy Bills!
When you’re at home, putting on a sweater instead of turning on the heating not only saves you money, but is kinder to the planet. You can be smart about this and put on layers on your body instead of cranking your heat up. Like we said above, a temperature change of even 1 degree celsius can save you up to £85 per year on energy bills.
So, have a hot cup of tea and put your sweaters and socks to good use. Remember, every little bit counts.