The news is full of gloom about the costs soon to be faced by energy consumers. Energy prices are skyrocketing, with gas, electricity, home heating oil increasing throughout the year with more increases likely on the way.
In the face of rising prices many people are asking what Government, energy suppliers, and consumer organisations can do to support people...but it is also important to know what we can all do to save on our energy costs this winter?
Sometimes to save money, you have to spend money. Fortunately for our bank accounts, there are often grants to help people make the improvements they need to have a more energy-efficient home.
If you are looking for details on different grants you may be entitled to, review the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) website which lists any current grants available. These may include grants to install solar panels, update boilers, or even add new insulation to your home. It might be that you qualify for support and you could save yourself a few euros and some worries, too.
You can also check in with your energy supplier about any assistance they may be able to provide. Increasingly suppliers are offering grants and assistance to help improve the energy efficiency of your home or even upgrade your heating system.
Heat leaks from your home through windows, walls, doors and even your roof, and in poorly insulated homes, these heat leaks can be a real problem, ramping up energy bills and leaving your home drafty. It’s important, therefore, to make sure that your home is well insulated and secure.
Firstly, most heat is lost from your roof, so you may begin by checking the insulation in your loft or attic, and seeing if you need to replace it or add another layer.
Your windows are another place where heat will seep out, and upgrading to double glazing is a great way to save energy. If this is a stretch in terms of cost, thick curtains at windows can reduce heat loss by 20%.
Finally, lagging around your boiler can keep the water temperature higher for longer, reducing the energy needed. It is such small details that, when added together, can make big differences.
According to the SEAI “You can reduce your heating bill by 10% by lowering your room temperature by just one degree” - a vast amount of saving for the sake of a single mark on your thermostat! It’s doubtful anyone would even notice a difference between 22C and 23C, so make sure to change that notch.
You might also think of updating to a smart thermostat. These handy devices allow you to set temperatures in different rooms and at different times too so that you get the most use out of your heat.
We mentioned earlier that we often waste energy by poorly insulating our homes, but we also waste lots of energy through our appliances.
Simply put, when we leave devices on standby, they’re not truly off, but more running at a low level, and that requires energy and money - even if a much smaller amount. In fact, Electric Ireland has indicated that we could save around €46 a year if we simply turned our devices, such as laptops and televisions, off standby.
Sometimes cutting our bills is as simple as being more aware of the energy we are using on a daily basis. Shorter showers, running full loads of washing and dishes, and even simply remembering to turn off lights and devices we aren’t using can all add up to generate savings. You might even think to swap your bulbs to LEDs in order to cut back on unnecessary energy usage when you need your lights.
Change your boiler More than half of the money spent on fuel bills goes towards heating your home. So, making sure your heating system is efficient and cost-effective is important for your pocket, and the environment. For example, an old (15yrs +) oil boiler may often be only 60%-65% efficient, which means for every €100 spent on oil, €35–€40 is wasted.
If upgrading your oil boiler, moving to gas or installing a heat pump is not for you just yet, then even servicing your existing boiler can help it run more efficiently.
You do not have to go without heating to be able to afford your energy bills. While costs are going up, you have a lot of power to reduce your usage. While each of these tips won’t make a massive difference, you can make your bills more affordable when added together.
For more information visit www.powertoswitch.ie