We have just had the worst snow in twenty years last month which brought some parts of the UK to its knees. The Bank of England is trying to control deflation by reducing interest rate to one percent and still the prices for certain imported foods and energy costs are rising. Everybody is now feeling the fallout of the credit crunch and the recession is starting to take victims. Last month I noticed the biggest jump in my gas and electricity costs so I called my provider. They informed me that the costs were about right for the size of house although my gas was a bit high. My Gas and Electricity bill had jumped to £282 per month. (Ouch!)
Am I being mugged by my utility provider?
It certainly feels as if I am being mugged by my utility provider and the gas and electricity that is being supplied to my home is providing free gas and electricity to the rest of the homes on our development. At least Dick Turpin wore a mask when he was robbing the public. So faced with increasing utility costs I put on my money saving expert hat and started to investigate how I could reduce my gas and electricity costs.
Government Grants website
You could use the Government Grants website which provides a source of information for UK grants for gas central heating, loft insulation and cavity wall insulation. Government grants from 40% to 70% are available to homeowners and tenants for loft and cavity wall insulation. These grants are funded by the utility companies and are non-refundable. These grants will not be around forever and once the funding that has been allocated is exhausted they will finish. They also offer a solar heating grant of £400 towards the cost of installation of solar panels which cost around £4,000 depending on the size of your home. If you do not meet their eligibility criteria for free insulation, then grants from around 50% are available for loft insulation and cavity wall insulation, so you can still achieve a massive saving on the normal cost.
The Governments’ Energy Saving Trust Website
I also discovered that there were grants available to help us implement energy saving measures and help reduce our carbon foot print. The Governments’ Energy Saving Trust website provides grants and they have a wonderful search tool to help you find grants or offers that are available for you in your area. All you need do is complete the questions asked on their search for grants and offers page. You will then be presented with a list of providers offering discounted prices or grants in your area. This is a brilliant site and is packed with great advice and help for saving energy, saving money and reducing your carbon dioxide emissions from your home.
What Savings can I expect from loft and cavity wall insulation
Our homes lose 35% of their heating through the walls and 25% through the roof. At the Governments Energy Saving Trust website they have an Energy Saving House where they show you a full range of energy saving measures. For example by insulating the loft and having cavity wall insulation with a grant you could reduce you’re heating bills by around £365 a year and reduce your home’s carbon dioxide emissions by up to 1.5 tonnes.
You can complete their online Energy Savers report which allows you to understand your homes energy efficiency performance to reduce your energy use and how to save money. The average cost seems to be between £225 to £249 for either cavity wall insulation or loft insulation depending on the size of your home. Although I did find that B&Q the DIY store was charging £199 for either cavity wall insulation or loft insulation depending on the size of your home. If you are over 70 years old you can receive loft insulation and cavity wall insulation for free from the Energy Saving Trust or the Government Grants website.
Old central heating boilers are inefficient
Changing you’re a central heating boiler that is over ten years old will reduce your gas bill as it is thought that these older central heating unit are only 70% efficient. This means that for every £1 of gas that you buy your old unit wastes 30pence of the money you pay for your gas. Add some heating controls taps to your central heating radiators and they could help save you a further 17% of your heating bill when fitted with a condensing boiler along with an upgraded heating control and you could be looking at a total saving of as much as 40% of your heating bill providing a saving of £275 a year depending on the size of your home.
Sixteen ways to save money on your monthly utility bill
To summarize here is a list solutions and other money saving tips that are available to help you reduce your gas and electricity bill. The grants and discounts available will vary according to the size of your home, your location, your annual income and your age.
1. Grants for gas central heating depends on age and benefits being claimed
2. Grants and discounts for loft insulation from £199
3. Grants and discounts for cavity wall insulation from £199
4. Grant of £400 towards the installation of Solar panels
5. Replace existing light bulbs with Energy Saving Lightbulbs, they cost around £2 per bulb and you could expect to save around £45 before it needs replacing. These bulbs use 80% less electricity and will last ten times longer than a standard light bulb. Count the number of bulbs you need and see the savings.
6. Update your Central heating unit if older then 10 years. Consider either a condensing boiler along with an upgraded heating control unit or replace it with a Combi Boiler as this will do away with a conventional hot-water storage cylinder and water tanks in the loft. Costs from £2,000
7. Add heating controls tap to all your radiators, they cost from £7.99 each
8. Switch Utility providers for a better deal.
9. Switch your gas and electricity providers to a duel fuel provider if you have not already done this for further savings, save around £115
10. Pay your utility bills monthly by direct debit for a further discount from your provider.
11. Switch to an online account with your utility provider. You can now read your gas and electricity meters monthly and update the information for an accurate bill. This will prevent over billing from estimated assessments of your usage.
12. If you are on a coin operated meter for your gas and electricity then consider switching as you are paying a premium for this facility.
13. Switch off all light switches and plugs when the appliances are not in use.
14. An estimated £910 million is wasted in the UK every year by people leaving televisions, computers, TV set-top boxes and radios on standby.
15. Use a timer to turn your central heating on and off as required.
16. Consider switching to Energy Saving Recommended household appliances as they could cut your energy consumption by up to a third compared to your old appliance. Obviously only do this as you replace broken or old appliances.
For further ways of reducing your gas and utility bill then you should visit the Energy Saving Trust website where you will find a mountain of further money saving ideas and help.
Anyone can reduce their Gas and Electricity bills
Anyone can reduce their Gas and Electricity bills by at least 20% following the sixteen ways to save money listed above. Unfortunately, like most things you need to spend some money to save money; but the rewards will return each month. By implementing a few of these money saving tips at home you will certain reduce your gas and electricity bills in the future and save money. You’re thinking I cannot afford to make all these changes. Start with the changes that cost the least and then work your way through the list above. Remember by making these changes you will not only save money each month but you will be helping our planet HOME by reducing your carbon dioxide emissions.