11 ways to keep home energy bills down

Harvey Jones 22 November 2021

As gas and electricity bills are set to go through the roof this winter, here’s how to keep your costs low

Politicians' attempts to keep a lid on price rises, such as the energy cap, have failed. Estimates suggested could hit £1,700 a year in April, up from just £1,042 in October 2020. Many households could pay a lot more, so it pays to do all you can to cut your home energy consumption. Here are some options.

Turn down your thermostat

Many of us have got used to living in overheated homes but turning down the temperature by just one degree could save £55 a year, depending on the size of your home, according to the Energy Savings Trust (EST). This winter, you could save even more. Do you really need your home so warm that you can walk around in a T-shirt all winter?

Go unplugged

Leaving electronic devices on standby mode when not in use costs around £35 a year on average, the EST reckons. Again, it could be more this year. Check your house for those tell tale red lights and unplug appliances where possible.

Small savings add up

Doing one less washing machine cycle a week saves £8 a year, as could doing one less dishwasher cycle. Many do not realise their dishwasher heats the air to dry dishes. Turning off this setting cuts usage.

Only filling the kettle with the amount of water you need saves around £6 a year, the EST says. Keep lids on pots and pans while cooking and turn off your hob or oven shortly before food is ready, as the heat build up will complete the cooking process.

Do not overfill your fridge and freezer as it has to work harder to keep food and drinks cold.

Cut out those draughts

Draught-proofing your home saves around £40 a year but materials cost just a few pounds. Don’t forget to block draughts from letterbox brushes, chimney balloons and even keyhole coverings, too.

Insulate your home

It costs around £285 to insulate the loft of a mid-terrace house, the EST says, but saves around £100 a year in normal times, and more today.

If you do not have cover for your hot water tank, buying one for around £20 can pay for itself in a year.

Liberate your radiators

Make sure curtains or furniture aren’t blocking your radiators, as this prevents them projecting heat into the room.

A bright idea

Installing LED bulbs, which last twice as long as a standard bulb, could save you around £150 a year, the EST says. Consider installing dimmer switches while you’re at it.

Get your boiler checked

The Gas Safe Register is urging Brits to look after their gas appliances to minimise energy bills and stay safe. A boiler service can pay for itself by boosting your system’s efficiency and reducing the chance of a breakdown.

It costs £72 on average, according to Which?, but a breakdown costs around £200. A new boiler can cost from between £1,500 and £4,764.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

If you’re on a low income or have reached state pension age and claim pension credit, you could get £140 off your electricity bills under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. This is paid as a one-off discount on your electricity bill. 

The UK Government's website lists every energy supplier that offers the discount. You may still qualify if yours has stopped trading.

Cold Weather Payment

You may also qualify for a Cold Weather Payment, if you receive any of the following state benefits: Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Support for Mortgage Interest.

This gives you £25 for each seven-day of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March, where the average temperature in your area is zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days.

Winter Fuel Payment

If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 towards your heating bills, via the Winter Fuel Payment.

State pensioners and those who have previously received the payment do not need to do anything, as payments are made automatically in November or December.

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