12 easy ways for renters to reduce their utility bills

October 2017

There are lots of reasons why it makes sense to reduce your energy usage at home. Using less gas and electricity doesn’t just help you cut down the costs of those utility bills, it also reduces the level of CO2 produced.

But, when you’re a renter you might think there’s not that much you can do as installing double glazing or replacing an old boiler, isn’t really within your control. However, there are a number of easy things you can to help you save on both your gas and electricity bills.

1. Time your temperature

Turning your thermostat down by just 1°C can already make a big difference. Also, keeping your heating on constantly on a low heat could potentially save you more money than switching it on and off for big blasts of heat. So if your thermostat has a timer function make sure to use it.

2. Layer up

It’s an obvious one but it does work. Wearing socks and slippers around the house or putting on that extra jumper means you won’t be tempted as easily to turn the heating up.

3. Stop the draft

Weather stripping will make a big difference in keeping out drafts and prevent the inside warm air from escaping and are easy to add to windows and doors without damaging them.

4. Harness that extra heat

Opening your curtains, on a sunny day, will let warmth into your house, but remember to close them when it’s colder or the sun goes down. And after using the oven, why not leave the door open. The oven might give off enough heat for you to adjust your thermostat, a much better use of that extra heat than extracting it with a fan.

5. Heat with zones

Some rooms are more important to be warm than others. Where a warm living room is pretty essential, a bedroom can usually be cooler. You can zone your rooms and save energy by using the valves on your radiators.

6. Say no to standby

It’s another classic but leaving electrical appliances on standby when they aren’t in use can quickly add up. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that most homes could save around £30 a year just by turning appliances off at the plug.

7. Efficient matters

Chucking out a perfectly good appliance and replacing it with a newer, more efficient model, isn’t going to save you money. However, as you come to replace appliances it’s really worth investing in one with a high energy-efficiency rating. For example, an A+++ fridge freezer will save around £190 in energy bills over its lifetime compared to an A+ model.

8. Keep it cool

90% of a washing machine’s energy expenditure is spent on heating the water, so if you wash your clothes at 30-40 °C you’re saving significant amounts of money and with the right detergent your clothing will still be clean. Although occasionally you’ll want to run a hotter wash to keep the machine clean.

9. Be a bright bulb

Energy-saving light bulbs can easily help you cut your energy bills. LEDs are the most energy-efficient light bulbs and use 90% less energy than traditional incandescent ones. Additionally, remember to switch off lights when not in use, and use the best bulb for the size of room.

10. Fill them up

Don’t run the dishwasher when it’s only half loaded. Fill it to the brim! Additionally, keeping your fridge and freezer full means they don’t have to work as hard and therefore they use less energy. If you’re running low on food, you can add bottles filled with water.

11. Use the right ring

This might seem obvious but if your cooker has a small ring, use a small pan. Heating a small meal in a big pan wastes a lot of energy. At the same time heating a large pan on a small ring tends to be heating for longer and not save any money or energy.

12. Reduce your drying

Try to air-dry your laundry rather than tumble drying it. But if that’s not an option it’s still worthwhile to take your clothes out of the dryer before they’re completely dry. You’ll use less energy on your drier AND your clothes will be easier to iron!

And finally, don’t forget to shop around.

If you’ve been with your energy supplier for the last three years, you could probably save some money by shopping around and switching. The cheapest deals are for those who opt for dual fuel (gas and electricity from the same supplier), manage their account online and pay by direct debit.

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