Eco Happy (Solar Expert)

Published February 23, 2024

Energy prices and gas prices can make utility bills outrageously high! And they are also constantly on the rise. Not only does your utility usage affect your pocket, but it also affects the environment.

You may have found some ways to slash your energy bills, like modernising and replacing your boiler or other parts of your heating system to reduce your heating bills. But you don’t necessarily want to spend exorbitant amounts of money just to save money.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, over half of our energy and gas bills are spent on heating and hot water. Lowering energy bills and creating energy-efficient homes is their mission and ours. Therefore, Eco Happy has compiled some easy-to-implement, practical, and sustainable living tips to help you optimise your energy usage and bring down your energy bills.

Understanding Gas Consumption

An average-sized British household has between two and three people living in it. These people typically use approximately 242 kWh of electricity and 1,000 kWh of gas per month (which is approximately 2,700 kWh of electricity and 11,500 kWh of gas per year).

A one-bedroom house or flat with one to two people will have lower utility costs per year. They average 1,800 kWh of electricity and 7,500 kWh of gas. A larger household with 4-5 people uses 4,100 kWh of electricity and 17,000 kWh of gas per year.

During warmer months, your energy consumption will be greatly reduced as you’ll rely on your central heating less, which means lower energy costs.

During the cold winter months, the days are shorter, bringing longer dark hours and the need for extra lighting and heating. On an average winter day, a household will use approximately 36% more energy than on an average summer day.

Factors influencing gas bills

The main factors that influence your utility bills depend on how many people are in the household, the size of the home, the heating system, and the climate. There are other factors for consideration as well:

  • Appliance efficiency (or inefficiency): If your appliances are old or need maintenance, they could use unnecessary energy. When purchasing new appliances, consider the energy ratings and always opt for the ones that are the most energy efficient.
  • Home insulation: If your home is well-insulated and you eliminate draughts, it will retain more heat, meaning you will need less energy to create additional heat. Look for potential air leaks, and check that your windows and doors are sealed properly to prevent heat from escaping.
  • Heating system: It’s important to choose a boiler with a high energy-efficiency rating. Regular service and maintenance of your heating system can also ensure fewer inefficiencies. Read our guide on how often should a boiler be serviced to learn more.

Practical Tips To Lower Gas Bills

Saving on your gas bills doesn’t mean you will shiver through the next cold spell. However, it does mean saving some money that can be better spent buying a new winter coat and woolly gloves.

Here are some tips to help you lower your gas bills:

Temperature management

Lowering your thermostat settings, even by a degree or two, can help you save energy. You will barely notice the difference, but your wallet will thank you. If you have a smart meter installed, you can also use it to monitor your energy use.

It’s advised that you set your combi boiler to around 60°C for your hot water and around 75°C for your radiators. You will still get hot water and your home will still be cosy, but gas bills will be significantly reduced.

Another way you could save money is through the effective use of heating systems. How many hours a day should the heating be on? Well, it depends, but we recommend you don’t run your heating the whole day and night.

If your system has a timer, you should definitely use it. Programme the thermostat to provide heat when you need it instead of constantly.

You could also lower the thermostat during the day when the homestead is empty and increase the settings in the evenings.

One of the best ways to manage your temperature control in every room is with smart thermostatic radiator valves (make sure to read our guide on the best thermostatic radiator valves). All you need to do is replace the manual valves on your radiator with smart thermostatic radiator valves. These will allow you to control the comfort in every room according to your preferences.

Appliance efficiency

Old appliances tend to use more energy and cost more to run (we’ve got a whole guide on how much an appliance costs to run, for more information). They were created to perform a function, which they probably do accomplish. However, older appliances were not necessarily made at a time when we consciously attempted to save energy. Upgrading your appliances to energy-efficient ones can help you save on your energy bills.

A good way to control your energy use is by connecting your smart meter to your smart devices to create a more automated and energy-efficient system.

Home insulation

Insulation is a clever way to stop heat escaping and keep more heat where you need it most—inside. Insulating your roof, walls, and floors will not only keep the heat inside but also mean that your central heating system needs to provide less energy, thus lowering your energy bills.

Some homes have solid walls, so you can insulate the inner side of the walls. With others, you can add cavity wall insulation and heat them from the inside.

Check your home for heat-escaping areas. One way to do this is with a candle test. If you put a candle near a door or window, for example, you can check for draughts. A good investment would be draught excluders (also known as draught guards). These are the long, sausage-like cushions that cover the gaps at the bottom of a door. Seal any gaps, and your home will automatically start retaining heat better.

In winter, you may want to insulate your heat pumps and pipes. A thermal jacket can also keep a water storage cylinder warmer for longer.

Behavioural changes

You may think you are doing everything to save energy and reduce your gas bill. But did you know that even when an appliance isn’t used, it still uses power? For example, if it’s in standby mode, it uses energy. So what can you do about it?

While keeping appliances plugged in might seem convenient, it’s slowly adding to your energy bill. Unplug chargers, TVs, and other devices and appliances when not in use.

Some other behavioural changes you can make to bring down your gas costs include:

  • Take a look at your daily routine to see when you need and use gas the most.
  • Set timers so you have hot water for showers and washing dishes.
  • Open the curtains during the day. Let the natural sunlight warm rooms.
  • Close doors to unused rooms so you use less energy to heat up the remaining living areas.

Technological solutions

It may be time to start looking at smart home technologies for energy savings. The best smart thermostats allow you to control the temperatures in your home. You can set different heat settings for different rooms or set timers for optimal use. This can help lower your gas and energy bills.

Some of the more popular models are:

  • The Tado Wired Smart Thermostat works through your WiFi and gives you multizone control.
  • The Google Nest Learning Thermostat learns your preferences and creates customised heating solutions.

Another solution is to upgrade to an energy-efficient boiler. In the UK, the Boiler Plus initiative indicates that all new boilers that are installed in homes should meet a minimum efficiency standard. They should also have smart heating controls. Not only will you have reduced energy consumption, but it will also mean fewer CO2 emissions and, thus, a greener future.

Further considerations

Compare your energy company with other energy companies and their offerings if you find the gas bills a tad high from your current provider. Your usage, the area you stay in, and the provider’s tariff all affect your gas bill, but you can shop around for the most cost-effective plans and compare the prices on a per kWh basis.

You could also use a heat recovery system that reuses waste gas and energy. According to the Energy Saving Trust, you could save up to 40% of the lost energy. A low-carbon heating system would further reduce carbon emissions and energy requirements.

There are also great government support programmes to assist anyone trying to save energy. One of these is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), which aids property owners with the cost of installing an air-source heat pump, water-source heat pump, or biomass boiler.

FAQs

What uses the most gas in a home?

Your central heating system and boiler usually use the most gas in your home.

Why is my daily gas and energy bill so high?

Some of the main reasons you may be using excessive gas and energy include:

  • Check your boiler and heating system for any maintenance issues.
  • If you have old, outdated appliances, replace them.
  • Check your radiators and bleed them.
  • Check for draughts and a lack of insulation.

Does an air conditioner use natural gas?

Most air conditioners use energy to create hot or cold air. However, some air conditioners can be gas-powered systems that use propane gas. If there are gas pipes leading to the air conditioner, it probably uses gas.

Conclusion

You won’t know exactly how much energy is being used until you start implementing these simple tips. You could save a whole lot of energy and money and still keep your home warm and cosy.

Each tip we’ve provided is easy to implement. Some of them mean changing basic habits, and others may need a little bit of outside input. Call in a Gas Safe registered engineer to service or upgrade your boiler and install energy-saving smart technology to help you control your energy usage. If you want more tips and tricks on how you could save energy and money, reach out to Eco Happy for our expert advice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *