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Reducing Household Utility Bills

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 13 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Reducing Household Utility Bills

The cost of our household utility bills has risen dramatically over the past few years, and long gone are the days when people have tended to stick with the same supplier with whom they’ve been with for many years.

The internet has revolutionised our perception of customer loyalty with a whole host of comparison sites for costs on a vast range of goods and services and many people have saved themselves hundreds of pounds by switching their gas and electricity suppliers. You can find out more about switching utility suppliers on the internet.

Meanwhile here are a range of other bill reducing methods you may care to consider. Some of them are free, others will initially cost you money but you’re likely to reap the benefits over time. And, with regards to those which do cost money, you should check out whether any energy saving grants or loans are available from your local Department of Work and Pensions office for the work you’re looking to have carried out.

Other Energy Saving Initiatives You Can Take
Having your loft insulated is one of the best ways of reducing your home heating costs and could save you around £200 per year. It’s estimated that around a third of the heat lost in your home comes through your walls. By having cavity wall insulation put in, you could save around £160 per year.

If you only have single glazed windows, you could be losing up to 20% of your heat even through closed windows so it’s worth looking at installing double glazing and, even if you can’t afford to have the whole house double glazed, consider having it installed in the lounge, kitchen and bathroom areas or the other rooms which you use the most, excluding bedrooms.

Make sure you check under your doors for signs of draughts and look to plug those gaps. Likewise with hot water tanks and pipes – if you insulate those, you’ll keep your hot water hotter for longer and save money. Energy saving light bulbs may cost a little more than conventional ones but over time, they’ll last far longer and save you money and you might also want to consider converting your boiler to an energy efficient one and actively opt to buy other energy efficient appliances such as fridges, freezers, washing machines and dishwashers when your existing ones need replacing. These are usually marked with an ‘A+’ symbol and, although they may cost a little more to buy, they will more than repay that extra cost over time.

Replacing Bad Habits with Good Ones
Whilst all the previous initiatives mentioned will cost you money initially, unless you’re able to obtain a grant for some items, there are many other ways of reducing your household utility bills which just require you to replace some old habits with new ones. These include:
  • Not leaving appliances on standby
  • Turning your thermostat down
  • Only boiling the amount of water you need
  • Waiting until you have a full load before using your washing machine
  • Turning off lights when they’re not being used
  • Using a watering can not the hose pipe
  • Taking more showers than baths
  • Recycling water to use for washing your car or watering the garden
In fact, much of our expenditure on household utility bills could be cut if we simply got into the habit of adopting good practice around the house. And, in retirement, taking many of the steps above could be used to save quite a considerable sum that could be put towards other enjoyable things like a new car or an extra holiday and, as well as being a ‘money-saver’, you’ll also be helping to reduce your ‘carbon footprint’.

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