Managing a household budget has become more challenging in recent months. The cost of weekly shopping and filling the car has risen at an alarming rate. The fear of rising costs is exacerbated by mortgages going up with the raising of the base rate by the Bank of England. While we may be in the summer months now, the energy cost to our homes will add to this burden much more in the winter.
As a parent, we feel responsible for providing the home and security for our children. Therefore, we need to make every effort to make savings. As our electricity and gas bills will be a significant cost that we have some control over, we will focus here on ways you can reduce these bills.
Improving daily habits
One of the simplest ways to save money is in the family attitude and use of energy in the home. As we don’t hear a cash register or immediately see our bank account go down when we switch something on, we struggle to link the action to the pain. However, we should imagine the dials of our bank accounts going down each time we put a light on, use the kettle, leave a plug switched on, and put a product on standby.
Therefore, as a parent, training our children to link the action to the consequence is one of the most important jobs we can do. Encouraging your family to switch off a light when they leave the room and not to keep a television on standby are easy beginnings. It can also mean closing doors to prevent drafts and drawing curtains to keep heat seeping out of windows.
Avoiding vampire energy suckers
There are varying estimates of between 15% and 20% of energy bills accrued thanks to items plugged in when not used. To save this money means countering the effect of these vampire energy suckers!
It sounds like a horror movie, but it is simpler and more manageable than this suggests. Our home items continue to draw energy from the grid even when not in use. The best example is your toaster. You might assume that it only uses energy when making toast, but it always draws energy. Therefore, to avoid this 15% to 20% addition to your bill, you need to switch these items off at the wall.
Change your lightbulbs
Another simple option is to change from halogen to LED lightbulbs. When running a household, you need the opportunities for savings to be cheap and accessible. An LED lightbulb may cost more but will last three times longer. Therefore, they are cost-efficient even without energy savings.
The estimate from the Energy Saving Trust is £10 for each lightbulb per year, so imagine how much you would save over a household.
Making sure your products work efficiently is also an important measure in saving energy costs. Your boiler, for instance, costs £80 a year to service, but you will save this in efficiency costs on your bill. Added to this, the chances of getting an unexpected repair bill reduces, and you could extend the boiler’s life.
Good maintenance of pipes around your home and the blocking of potential flows of air are also useful ways of maintaining the efficiency of your system. If there is a leak in a pipe, it might take more power from the boiler to keep your home at the temperature of your thermostat. The same is true of radiators that need bleeding. If you do not remove the air blocking the flow of water, your boiler will take longer to reach the required temperature.
And then there are the hard decisions to make, where you make life a little less convenient to save money. For instance, you can save £80 a year by reducing your thermostat by a degree. You will make savings if you choose to charge your phone and laptop before going to sleep and not let them charge overnight. And if you only put the water you need for your cup of tea in the kettle; you will cut your costs.
Nowhere do we suggest you invest in expensive technology to make your home energy efficient. There are smart technologies that can do this but feel out of reach in our expensive world. So, here we suggest lots of small actions that add up to make a big difference and so make it feel achievable.