Working from home? How to save money on your energy bills
Winter is just around the corner and for many of us, 2020 will be the first year spent entirely working from home. While for some that’s the perfect chance to get cosy with blankets and hot chocolates, many are worrying about the price of their energy bills with most of their household at home almost 24/7, not to mention keeping a home office habitable in the colder months. Not only is it just heating, but the smaller things like boiling the kettle for a cup of coffee or microwaving your lunch - unfortunately it all adds up.
Based on research from energy provider, Utilita, we now know that a home office costs £10.80 per week on average to power. While many people are saving money on travel, that’s not always the case and that additional £40+ a month or more can be tough for many families, especially those who have suffered pay cuts since lockdown. Since none of us want to pay more than we have to on energy - or harm the planet with our energy consumption - we’ve rounded up the best tips to keeping that energy bill small.
Undoubtedly, this will be the biggest change you can make. It’s pretty likely that you haven’t changed energy suppliers in a while, and if you don’t even remember when, you’re probably overpaying right now. Loyalty is rarely rewarded with energy companies, so you’ll want to regularly shop around to find the best deal for you - you never know how much you might save.
Draught proof everywhere
If heat is money (and it is) you don’t want a single bit of it escaping. Walk around your house and search for any potential draughts that are slipping through. This will most likely be through your windows, doors, floorboards or chimneys, so check them for any cracks or holes that heat might escape through. If you do find them, make sure to plug them up with draught excluders or really anything that will work. Curtains are also useful.
Unplug not standby
See that red dot in the corner of your eye? You’ve left your electrics on standby, as usual. We’re all guilty of it, wondering just how much energy something so small can actually save and then deciding it’s just too much hassle. Make this winter different, try unplugging anything you aren’t using (including your TV) and see if it shaves a few pounds off your bill. While you’re at it, shut down your laptop when you’re done with it, not only will it save power but it’ll help them perform better too.
Turn the heating down
Hear us out, we’re definitely not suggesting you freeze. Try turning your thermostat down by just one degree. There’s a good chance you won’t even notice the difference of such a small change, but with the amount of time you have your heating on for, that one degree can save you money. You’ll also want to set timers on the thermostat so the heating isn’t constantly on - think about your home situation, does it need to be on all day and night long?
Turn the lights off
This one is simple and one of the first tips anyone will ever give you to reduce your carbon footprint. Just turn off the lights when you leave a room. It’s easy to do and only takes a split second - you can even get the kids involved.
Another classic tip is to shorten your showers and encourage everyone else in your house to do the same. Yes, a warm shower on a freezing cold day is nothing short of a blessing, but so is the right blanket or dressing gown and you don’t have that moment where you step out into the cold outside world (your bathroom). A study by Harvard Health claims “showering several times per week is plenty for most people” rather than everyday, and will help boost your skin and immune system. Oh, and of course, less baths.
Recharge at night
Your body uses the night to recharge, so why shouldn’t your devices? Remember, using electricity at off-peak times is cheaper, so if you have several things that need charging, the middle of the night is going to be the cheapest time to do that.
Be smart and cool while washing
Washing clothes can use a lot of water and energy, after all, it’s a whole process. Naturally, that means there are several hacks to bring down the costs of all your essential washing if you’re smart about it. Firstly, wear less clothes. While working at home all day, do you really need to make several outfit changes? Do your kids? This will reduce your laundry piles to begin with.
Only do the washing when you have enough for a full load, and when you finally do, turn down the temperature in the settings. Many types of material actually do better in cooler water. To dry it all off, consider avoiding the dryer and hanging your clothes instead - this isn’t for everyone, but it will definitely make a difference if you do.
Work with natural light
Set up your home office in a place that’s filled with natural light. Not only will it improve your mood and productivity, bringing in the warm daylight on a cold winter’s day, but you won’t need any other lighting until the evening. That means no desk lamps or ambient lighting, just good old-fashioned sunlight. Plus, if you need a reminder to stop working at the end of the day for your work-life balance, the sun is the perfect solution.
Meal prepping isn’t just great for a healthy lifestyle, it can also help you save money on your energy bill. Cooking one big meal to eat over a few days will save much more energy than cooking every time you need something. As an added bonus, you’ll also save money on your food shop as ingredients are often cheaper when you buy in bulk.
Replace your boiler
Not everyone can afford to replace their boiler, especially after this year, but if you can, it’ll make a big difference. Older boilers are inefficient and are likely losing you money, so upgrading to a newer, more energy-efficient one will reduce your bill and mean you won’t have to upgrade again for years.
With all these different ways, saving money on your energy bill isn’t difficult even with a few small changes. It doesn’t require a whole lifestyle overhaul, it’s just about paying attention and making smarter decisions as a household.
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