Household bills, specifically energy bills, are expected to rise by at least 45% for UK households in 2022. This means the average family bill, which according to the ONS Family Spending report was £2548 per month in 2021, will dramatically increase.
Matthew Jenkins, a heating expert from MyJobQuote presents how to save £462 on household bills in 2022.
Heat your home efficiently – reducing bills by £55 a year
It is estimated that over 20% of heat escapes the average household every winter season. Not only is this clearly terrible for the environment, but this can also cost households an average of £55 extra per year. “Before putting the heating on, firstly identify ways in which the heating can easily escape,” Jenkins advises. “The most common ways for draughts to escape is through gaps in poorly glazed windows and doors. However, heat can also escape through unused chimneys, unused vents and uninsulated walls.”
Jenkins continues “the best way to help your home retain its heat is to install adequate insulation, however, this can be expensive. In fact, depending on the size of your home, you can expect to pay upwards of £5000 for internal insulation.” If your budget won’t allow for such a job, then there are DIY methods to try instead. “Buy draught excluders to cover up any gaps between your window and door frames, which will prevent heat escaping and cold air entering.”
Open and unused air vents are more challenging to find a quick solution for, however, they can be scaled up at a relatively low cost. “The only risk with sealing up any ventilation is this means rooms are unable to ‘breathe’ and this can create further issues such as damp, which is a costly issue to solve,” Jenkins warns. “To avoid problems like this, leave internal doors open during the day, as this will allow air to properly circulate your home, rather than retaining heat in one room. Again, the best way to avoid dampness is to improve the overall insulation of your home.”
Dispute your council tax – if you have a claim, you could save at least £150 a year
Council tax bills increased by 5% in 2021 and are expected to increase even further by 2022. This is made even worse by the fact 100,000s properties are in the incorrect band, with many paying hundreds of pounds more than they need to every year.
To determine whether you are in the correct band, you will need to determine the value of the property now. You should then compare it to what it was worth back in 1991, which was the year council tax bands were introduced in England, and which band it should be in now.
Jenkins warns, while disputing can save you money, it can have the opposite effect and increase the band you and your neighbours are in. “This is why it is crucial to do your research and check the property’s value before asking for a reassessment,” Jenkins explains. “If you are confident that you are overpaying for your council tax, then challenging is relatively straightforward and involves contacting the Valuation Office Agency, and explaining why you believe your bill is incorrect.”
Check your boiler – saving up to 30% on energy bills
As 60% of the average household’s yearly energy bills are spent on heating alone, it is crucial to ensure your boiler is working efficiently. “An older and inefficient boiler can cost you up to 30% more than necessary and, on average, can cost you £350 more than a newer boiler model,” Jenkins explains. “There are tell-tale signs to spot your boiler may need replacing to a newer, more efficient model.”
- You have noticed your gas bill has increased significantly recently – “normally caused by an older boiler. If you have noticed your gas bill has significantly increased recently then this is a sign your boiler is using more gas than it should be to heat your property,” Jenkins explains. “Make sure you keep an eye on your bills as although bill increases are likely, anything which seems too drastic should be checked out.”
- Check your boiler pressure – “every boiler has a pressure gauge which is usually located on the front of your boiler, which clearly notes what level of pressure the boiler is currently at. The ideal pressure for a boiler is usually between 1 and 2, although this can vary with different boiler models, with anything under 1 meaning low pressure and anything about 2.75 meaning high pressure. Both low and high pressure can mean problems with heating your home efficiently, resulting in cold spots across the home and costing more money than necessary.
Switch your light bulbs – up to £232 a year
“Switching light bulbs to more energy-efficient bulbs is one of the easiest ways to save money and avoid wasting energy,” Jenkins explains. “Although LED bulbs are slightly more expensive than normal bulbs, they use 80% less electricity and can save homeowners £232 a year. Not only can you save money, for every traditional bulb you switch to an LED bulb, but you also save 5kg of CO2 emissions for that bulb’s lifespan, which is typically 10x more than a traditional halogen bulb.”
Reduce your room’s temperature – savings of £55 a year
One of the simplest tricks which can save at least £55 a year on your heating bills is to reduce your thermostat by just 1 degree. “If your boiler is working efficiently then reducing your thermostat by just one degree will save you money without compromising on your comfort indoors,” Jenkins advises. As a rule of thumb, for every degree you increase the temperature, your heating bill will increase by 10%, so this is significant to keep in mind. The average household sets their thermostat at 21 degrees, which is the upper end of the ‘lowest comfortable temperature’ range, which is between 18-21 degrees.
“If you find that turning down the thermostat makes a significant difference to the warmth of your home, then there are ways to help optimise your heating and radiators,” Jenkins advises. “One simple idea is to place a shelf just above a radiator to help throw heat into the room rather than letting it simply rise to the ceiling.”