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The following is a guest post. Enjoy!
During the summer months, our energy bills (non-natural gas at least) are obviously a great deal lower than in winter. This, arguably, makes the summer perfect for preparing your home to make it as energy efficient as possible, which will in turn help you keep a handle on your energy bills when the temperature does drop later in the year.
Here are some simple, yet effective ways that you can keep the cost of utilities down:
1. Check Your Insulation
Old or poorly laid insulation in your walls and roof could be costing you a significant sum of money each year. Hire a contractor to check the condition of your cavity wall insulation or contact your local authorities to see if they employ a dedicated team they can send to advise you.
2. Turn Lights and Appliances Off
A huge proportion of the energy we produce is wasted on television sets, stereos, and computers being left on standby. By simply turning these appliances off when you are finished using them and remembering to switch off lights when you leave the room, you could shave a considerable amount from your electricity bills.
3. Invest in Green Energy
Solar panels are a great way of cutting down on electricity costs and providing an extra income stream. While purchasing and installing solar panels is not cheap, thanks to feed-in tariffs, you could start selling energy back to the suppliers immediately and within a few years, have recouped your investment. Stick with this form of renewable energy long enough and you could find that electricity bills become a thing of the past.
4. Consider the Age of Your Boiler and Heating System
Older models will simply not run as efficiently as newer ones. If your heating system and boiler have been in use for more than twenty years, chances are its energy efficiency is low. A new system may be expensive to install but combi-boilers take up less room and run on less power, meaning the savings soon outweigh the costs.
Simple acts like cleaning the condenser coil on your refrigerator can improve the energy efficiency of the appliance. It is usually located under the door; perfectly situated for sucking up dust and grease. Got a filter attached to your heating system? Clean that regularly too to make sure your boiler will not breakdown due to blockages or dirt in the system.
6. Turn the Thermostat Down
Not that you should have your heating on during the summer anyway. Just turning your heating controls down a notch or two ready for winter and heading for your sweater drawer, rather than the thermostat, when you’re feeling a little chilly can have a noticeable effect on your bills when winter does roll around.
7. Close Curtains in the Evening
More than simply used to close out the world and provide a snug, relaxing environment to unwind in the evening, your curtains or blinds actually help keep heat in. If your radiators are under the windows, make sure your curtains don’t channel the heat to them.
8. Be Aware of Timings
Energy demand increases in the morning and then again in the evening but energy suppliers typically only offer discounted rates in the evening, when demand is at its highest. If you run your dishwasher while you are at work during the day, try setting it to run exclusively overnight for a set period of time (at least a month) then compare your next bill with a previous one. You could find that adjusting the time that you undertake certain energy-dependant tasks could also benefit your pocket.
9. Find and Fix Drafts
The caulking gun could be your best friend if your windows are old and rattily. Attaching draft-excluders to the bottom of doors could also help prevent heat from escaping. If you feel a breeze in your home, block it: it is costing you money.
10. Use a Comparison Site
Don’t just stick with the same energy provider because it’s convenient. Instead, actively seek out a cheaper deal. If there is a cheaper supplier out there, price comparison websites are a great way to find them. By entering your address, you can learn which providers offer services to your local area and how much the monthly, quarterly, or annual cost would be. What could be simpler?
Take these tips on board and you could find that this winter has little impact on the contents of your wallet.
How about you all? What techniques do you use to keep your energy costs down during the cold season? Do you know a specific amount that you save by using these strategies?
Share your experiences by commenting below!
***Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/tolomea/6028106937/sizes/l/in/photostream/