Another week, another energy price hike. Our money expert, Harvey Jones, has eight ways to keep energy bills under control.
1. Check your bill
Check the meter readings on your bills are accurate and avoid estimates. If you pay by monthly direct debit and have built up a credit balance, ask for it to paid back now rather than offset against future bills. If you frequently build up a credit balance, get your monthly payment reviewed.
2. Switch supplier
You can compare tariffs from the major energy companies and switch online within a matter of minutes. The average person saves £200 a year by switching, one on 10 saves more than £400.
3. Get a free new boiler
Some 2.5 million low-income households are eligible for a free energy efficient boiler, under the government-backed Feel the Benefit scheme. Yet just 14,000 households have taken up the offer. To check whether you or a family member are eligible, call 0800 068 4948 or visit www.diy.com/freeboiler.
4. Wrap it up
Fitting draught excluders, can save you around £55 a year. Draught-free homes allow you to turn down your thermostat, which could save £65 per year. Insulating your boiler typically saves around £45 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust. It all adds up.
5. Buy energy efficient appliances
Electrical appliances make up 18% of the average energy bill. So when your old dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer or fridge freezer packs up, replace it with an A-rated energy efficient version. An energy-efficient fridge freezer, for example, will save you around £23 a year.
6. Go low energy
Lighting typically accounts for about 20 per cent of your electricity bill. You will save around £5 a year each time you replace a 40W traditional bulb with an 8W low energy bulb. The price of energy-efficient light bulbs has fallen to around £1, and even better, they last up to 10 years.
7. Invest in solar panels
Furniture chain IKEA now sells low-cost solar panels and claims it can save the average semi-detached home around £750 a year through energy savings and government feed-in tariffs. The typical cost is £5,700 and should pay for itself within seven years. And yes, they come flat-packed.
8. Install loft and cavity wall insulation
The average three-bed home could save £180 a year on energy bills by fitting proper insulation. Cavity wall insulation will cost up to £500 and loft insulation around £300. You should get your money back in less than five years.
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