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The fact that winter is coming to an end should do a lot to reduce household energy bills. With that said, the cold seasons will come around again only too quickly.
That being so, it may be prudent to spend the warmer months taking steps to reduce your energy usage.
Here, Rio Heating, specialists in smart electric heating, share their tips to help.
Start By Auditing Your Energy Usage
There may be multiple options for reducing your energy bills. Some of these may only require lifestyle changes (i.e., developing new habits). Others may require you to spend money upfront so that you can save it later.
In either case, however, you want to prioritize the changes that will make the biggest difference to your bills. This means you need to understand your energy usage. Think about your daily, weekly, and monthly activities.
Start by making a list of every activity you do that involves using energy. Your initial list is very unlikely to be perfect. That’s fine. You can update it as you go along.
It will, however, probably include the activities you do most often. These will be the ones you’re most likely to remember.
Then Audit Your Home Itself for Energy Efficiency
Doing a top-to-bottom, wall-to-wall audit of your home may seem intimidating. In actual fact, however, it’s fairly easy. The main points you need to check are:
- The condition of doors and windows
- The condition of your heating system (and air conditioning if you have it)
- The energy efficiency of your appliances
- The energy efficiency of your lighting
If there are any issues here, you need to address them as quickly as you can. You may be able to get help with higher-cost items such as insulation.
If you can’t, there may be stopgap measures you can put in place until you can afford the proper update. For example, the sealant may stop air leaks until you can afford to get a window properly repaired or replaced.
Low-Cost Ways to Get Smarter Heating
It may also be worth noting that you may be able to retrofit a smart thermostat to an existing heating system. This can get you the core benefits of smart heating without the cost of a full heating upgrade.
Retrofitting a smart thermostat is unlikely to get you quite the same level of energy efficiency as you would get with a fully updated system. It will, however, probably be a significant improvement to your existing system.
Another option would be to invest in freestanding smart electric radiators. These can be great ways to heat parts of a building.
For example, if you work from home, you could run a stand-alone radiator instead of the full central heating. Alternatively, you could leave the central heating on low. You could then use the radiator to boost it in your workspace.
Common Energy Drains and How to Fix Them
Although each home and household are different, there are some common issues that lead to wasted energy. Here is a quick rundown of what they are and some economical options for fixing them.
Step number one in reducing your laundry costs is to think before washing your clothes. Some types of clothes really do need to be washed after each wear (e.g., underwear).
Often, however, clothes can be worn at least twice before being washed. You might even be able to wear them at least three times if you steam them.
The real cost of laundry, however, is generally linked to drying rather than washing. The most economical option of all is to air-dry clothes. Realistically, however, that is not always practical. The next-best option, however, is to use a dehumidifier.
Set up a regular indoor clothes dryer and spread your clothes on it as you usually would. If possible, put the dryer in a small space. If that’s not possible, try to section off the drying area.
Then turn on the dehumidifier and leave it to work. It will take longer than a tumble dryer but it’s much quicker than air drying. It also removes condensation.
As a bonus, both of these steps will help to preserve the life of your clothes. This will save you even more money.
Air fryers are the must-have cooking gadget of the moment. If you learn how to use them, they really can save you money. Using a microwave, however, is even more economical.
With that said, both air fryers and microwaves tend to be best suited to cooking in small quantities. If you want to batch-cook, your best option is likely to be to use a standard over. You can then use a microwave to reheat portions later.
Appliances On Standby
Appliances on standby are sometimes called “vampire appliances”. This is because they drain your electricity supply but give you no benefit.
In theory, you can deal with appliances on standby by turning them off at the wall. In practice, this is likely to be too much hassle for most people.
Fortunately, there is an easy and affordable alternative in the form of smart plugs. Essentially, you fit the regular plug to the smart plug and put the smart plug in the wall socket. You can then turn your various appliances on and off from your phone or tablet.
Most homes have a plethora of gadgets that need to be charged. You can buy solar-powered chargers to charge them using the power of the sun. These work even in winter.
Obviously, there’s a limit to the size of the battery these devices can charge (although you can use more than one of them). They can, however, be very useful for small devices such as phones and tablets.
This suggestion may not be to everyone’s taste but if you really want to reduce your energy bills, it may be worth considering. Switch regular duvets and blankets for sleeping bags.
If you share a bed, get a double sleeping bag. Sleeping bags trap body heat much more effectively than duvets and blankets. This means you need less (or no) external heating.