How to save money on energy bills

Fuel bills - the facts

  • Heating and hot water accounts for over 50% of average domestic fuel bills
  • 85% of the UK’s homes currently use gas for heating
  • One third of UK electricity is currently generated via gas
  • If fuel bills and inflation rise, so will rates of fuel poverty.

The cost of living keeps rising, with energy bills topping the list of price increases. As heating and hot water accounts for over 50% of average fuel bills, key to cutting costs will be how you use your appliances and the general energy efficiency of your home. Saving energy doesn't have to mean a colder home, it just means controlling energy use better and improving the way your heating and hot water system works.

The good news is there are many steps householders can take to lower bills. From free and simple changes to how you use your appliances, to upgrading systems in your home, there's much you can do. Even older boilers can be made to heat your home more effectively, so if your property needs an energy efficiency overhaul, talk to a professional on the ways to improve performance to help lower your bills.

GoCompare, has developed an interactive energy cost calculator tool to find out how much something costs to run. Use the calculator to pick the appliances you want to compare and select how long they’ll be in use.

Keeping costs down as prices rise

The CIPHE has the following 26 tips to cut your energy use:

If you are not already using heating controls such as a boiler thermostat, room thermostat and timer, start doing so now. This will allow you to heat your home only when you need to, dropping your energy use by not heating your home unnecessarily.

Heat only the spaces you are using. Fit thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) to your radiators so you can turn off the heating in unoccupied spaces, such as spare bedrooms.

Turning your thermostat down by 1oC from 20oC to 19oC can save around 7% on your bills while still keeping your home comfortable. Turning it down to 18oC will save a further 7%. Layer up or wear a thick jumper indoors if you feel the cold.

Smart controls can make your boiler work harder for you. Not only can you pre-programme your heating, but you can turn it off and on or change the temperature while on the move via a mobile app. Some controls can even gain information from outside temperatures and weather forecasts, adjusting your heating requirements accordingly.

Don’t run appliances such as washing machines or dishwashers on a half load. While some washing machines will reduce water consumption, most washing machines and dishwashers will use the same amount of water and energy regardless. If your appliance has one available, switch to an eco-mode or use a lower temperature wash.

Take a shower instead of a bath to reduce both water and water heating costs.

Turn appliances such as TVs off rather than leaving them on standby.

Maintain your boiler. Servicing ensures it is working safely and at its peak efficiency. Annual servicing also helps expand the life of your boiler. The last thing you need is a costly breakdown on top of high energy bills.

Insulate and draught proof your home. If your roof is un-insulated, you will be losing around a quarter of the heat from your home through the roof space. Draught-proofing improvements (i.e. blocking up unwanted gaps surrounding windows, doors and chimneys) will also help you save on energy bills and keep your house warm. Free grants are available from some energy suppliers under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme.

Don’t use electric fan heaters. It will cost you several times the money to heat a room via a fan heater than it will via a central heating system

If your boiler is reaching the end of its working life, take the plunge and replace it. Modern day boilers are highly efficient, so although initially costly, an efficient model can save £££’s on your heating bills.

If you are having issues paying your energy bills, don’t ignore the problem. Please talk to your supplier straight away. They are well versed in the help schemes available and can talk you through your options.

If your network allows it, install a smart meter to see where your energy use is high.

If you are coming to the end of your fixed price energy tariff, shop around for the best deal. Don't jump into a new contract without comparing costs for the default tariff of your current supplier - this is what they will switch you onto if you do nothing. Do keep in mind that default tariffs are usually variable rates, which can rise and fall and will be subject to energy price cap changes.

Try and keep furniture away from radiators so it has the ability to freely give up its heat to the air.

Tuck curtains behind radiators.

Fit reflective foil to the wall behind radiators.

If you have a combi boiler, try operating the heating system with a lower flow temperature. Turn the boiler thermostat for heating to below halfway and see if you are still getting enough heat into the rooms, this will make the boiler condense more.

Try setting your programmer times to reflect your lifestyle on different days. It is very likely that you are in the house more or less on a weekday than you are on a weekend.

Ensure your radiators are full of water and free of air.

Try not to air or dry washing on the radiators.

Try and get into the habit when operating a mixer tap on a wash hand basin to only use hot water when you really need it. Some people automatically turn the mixer tap to a position where hot water will be drawn even if they are brushing their teeth.

If you are looking at alternatives to turning on the heating system, such as heated blankets, make sure you know how much energy it uses at full power, with its wattage. This will help you make decisions on what heating options to use when.

If you keep your heating off in very cold weather, you run the risk of frozen and burst pipes. If your boiler has a frost protection setting, make sure it is turned on.

Swap inefficient shower heads for water efficent models. This will save both on water and the enery you use to heat it. 

Most of us will be delaying turning on the heating this year, or planning on turning it off early. Stay comfortable by layering up and wearing winter clothes indoors.

If you need to improve the efficiency in your home, your local plumbing or heating engineer can help. Find a professional online via the CIPHE’s find a plumber tool.

Find a plumber

If you need to seek the help of a professional, you can find plumbing and heating engineers via our find a plumber tool.

Find a plumber tool

Read our manifesto

Our manifesto shines a light on key industry issues, and calls on parliament to understand the huge role the plumbing & heating community plays.

View manifesto

Fuel poverty

Fuel poverty is a persistent and growing problem in the UK. Fuel poverty is when a household is unable to afford to heat their home to an adequate temperature.

View fuel poverty facts