Why is my electricity bill so high?

We all know that feeling of dread when the electric bill comes in and you have to face up to exactly what your household has been using recently. What’s worse than a huge electricity bill, though, is not knowing why your electric bill is so high.  

Are you using your appliances properly?

Nine times out of ten, you will find that rogue energy bills are the result of what you’re running and how you’re running it. Laundry is a big culprit – underfilling your washing machine, running it hotter than necessary, and for longer than necessary. Making sure that you know how to best use your washing machine and which settings you should wash at to optimise its performance is an easy way to save energy, water, and ultimately money.

If the washing machine is bad, the tumble dryer is worse. Dryers are huge energy vampires, using an enormous amount of energy for a job that ultimately can be done with air-drying alone. Getting rid of the tumble dryer, or at least limiting its use can make a significant difference to your bills.

It’s this kind of thoughtful use of your appliances that can have a big effect. Make sure your fridge and freezer seals are intact and don’t leave the door hanging open for extended periods of time; try to turn off lights when not in use; think seriously about the size of freezer you actually need; and consider turning off any rarely used TV’s, consoles, or other electricals at the socket. Small changes can add up.

Are you using your heating and hot water controls properly?

If you turn your thermostat up higher, does you house heat faster? NO. All it does is keep the heating on longer in order to get the house to that higher temperature. But your thermostat is smart! If you turn it to 21c, it will heat the room to 21c and then maintain it  – you do not need to turn it up to 30c only to end up opening a window later because it’s too hot. Use your head and trust your heating system to work the way it’s supposed to.

Equally, use your thermostatic radiator valves. Most people have them, and if not then you can pick them up here for a few pounds. TRV’s allow us to control which rooms are being heated and how quickly/how much. If you have an empty spare room, make sure the TRV is turned all the way down.

For electric heating, it can be a little more complicated. Storage heaters are commonplace, but a lot of people fall down when it comes to controlling them properly. It takes a little trial and error to get the balance of input and output right if you’re new to storage heaters, and especially if it’s an older system. Just bear in mind that the ‘boost’ function will always cost you a significant amount of money, and if you use it regularly then it could be responsible for your high electricity bills. You can find out more about Economy 7 and storage heater controls here.

If you have an immersion hot water, be careful how you use it. It effectively works like a big kettle, and if you keep it on more than necessary then it could be draining all the energy. If you can keep your immersion off unless you really need it, you may be able to save yourself from a very high electricity bill.

Are you on the best electricity tariff?

We’ve all seen the adverts and heard that switching is important, but why?

Just like with your mobile phone contract, when your energy contract comes to an end, you are automatically switched over to a new rolling tariff with the same company. The problem is that this tariff, known as the standard or standard variable tariff is almost always one of the most expensive tariffs that the energy company offers. Therefore, unless you switch your supplier/plan regularly, you could be paying far more than you need to. If you are worried about your high energy bills and can’t figure out why, then this is very likely to be the culprit.

Using a comparison website is the best way to check your options and find out how much you could save.

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