ALREADY overstretched budgets were hit hard when energy bills went up in October, and many are now worried about the cost of heating and lighting their homes this winter.
Consumers across the UK are looking for quick and easy ways to trim their bills as they battle with the cost of living crisis.
The average energy bill is currently capped at £2,500 by the energy price guarantee (EPG), but it’ll rise from April next year.
The good news is, some simple tricks can help save you hundreds of pounds.
The Sun spoke with Sam Barwell, who is an electrician at SB Electrical and also a Help me Fix engineer.
Below are his top tips to cut your electricity bill.
1. Add motion sensors to your lights
First and foremost, Sam suggested adding a PIR (passive infra-red) sensor to the lights in rooms in your house.
A PIR light is activated once movement is detected.
Sam said: “By installing a PIR, your lights won’t be on when you’re not there.
“This is a simple way to save energy and money.
“It also means you don’t need to remember to turn your lights off when you leave a room.”
You can install a motion sensor into an existing lighting circuit, as long as you have access to the wiring.
Sam said adding a motion sensor is just like adding a switch – it will break the circuit until the motion is detected.
Just keep in mind that sensors will need to be fitted by an electrician, and you’ll have to fork out cash for them too.
A specific indoor motion sensor light typically sets you back from £30, while adding a motion sensor to an existing light costs from £10.
Sam added that smart heating systems, such as Hive or Nest, can also make good sense.
These can help control energy by remotely switching lights and heating on and off.
Again, note that there are considerable set-up costs to consider.
Equally, if you’ve already got one of these systems, make sure you’re using them properly so you can reap the benefits in terms of savings on your bills.
2. Change to LED fittings
Research from Currys shows that lighting comes in at around 16% of the total electrical use in the average home.
While it’s hard to be conservative with lighting in the winter, there are simple swaps you can make.
Sam said: “It’s worth changing every light in your home to a more efficient LED fitting.
“This means you will only be using a fraction of the energy of a normal bulb.”
According to the Energy Saving Trust, if you replace all the bulbs in your home with LED lights, you could save £55 a year on electricity bills.
One savvy mum recently revealed how she got LED lights from a local pound shop, costing her just £1 each.
3. Unplug the charger, not just the phone
We may have grown familiar with the idea of not leaving our mobiles charging all night, but Sam said we also need to unplug our chargers.
This will save on wasted energy.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to switch off other electronics, such as TVs and game consoles.
Unplugging all these items will help you save – and especially if you’ve got a lot of older devices.
By not leaving electronics on standby, you could save up to £40 a year on your bills.
4. Invest in a heat pump tumble dryer
Sam said it’s worth spending money on a heat pump tumble dryer, with prices starting at around a few hundred pounds.
“There will be an upfront expense, but you’ll be able to go from a 2kW machine to a 400w machine, meaning you’re using 80% less energy,” said Sam.
“It will take a little longer to dry your clothes, but it’s worth it.”
You can make further savings by emptying the dryer filter regularly.
This will stop your machine from being inefficient.
According to Which?, the average heat pump dryer costs around £68 per year to do three loads a week, with the additional energy used due to blocked filters adding around £34 to the annual cost.
It’ll save you £102 a year compared to a condenser dryer, meaning it’ll take a few years for the investment to pay off.
5. Get familiar with energy labels
Sam pointed out that as power-consuming items have become more efficient, energy labels have changed.
Under the old system, products were rated from A+++ to G.
However, as most products were falling into the top two or three classes (A+ to A+++), it got difficult to identify which ones were most efficient.
Under the new system, which appeared in shops and online from March 2021, there is a new, simpler range, from A to G.
This should make it easier to understand the features of any new appliance you purchase.
In addition, energy labels will feature a QR code, giving you access to product information.
When upgrading or trading your tech in, be sure to check the labels.
Findings from Currys show that by choosing products in the best available energy class, households can save up to £145 a year on electricity bills, compared to using older models.
6. Safety first
Always tread carefully when taking steps to try and cut costs.
Sam said: “Ensure you and your family are safe when trying to save money on the leccy bill.”
Make sure you get an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) which ensures all electrical installations in your home are in safe working order.
And, for all but the most basic of electrical jobs (such as wiring a socket), get the work carried out by a professional approved through a scheme, such as NICEIC.
Equally, rather than spend hundreds of pounds on a callout for something which might not require an electrician actually making a trip to your home, use Help me Fix, a service that connects you to tradespeople over video.
An electrician has also revealed the 10 most dangerous DIY mistakes lots of people make at home.
Plus, a plumber has shared an easy boiler trick that will help you save money.
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