With gas prices soaring, we’ve put together this list of 22 tips to help you to reduce your gas bill.
A perfect storm of factors from a global pandemic to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have caused gas prices to soar.
Electricity and gas bills are set to rise by 54% in April, with fears that the Ukraine crisis could increase them even further from October.
With home heating (mostly fueled by gas) accounting for around 60% of your energy bills, optimising the energy efficiency of your heating system is more important than ever.
One of the most effective ways to reduce your gas bill is to replace an aging boiler with a new, energy efficient model. But there are other lower cost ways you can reduce your gas usage.
If you’re looking for ways to reduce what you’re paying out on your energy bills, read on…
Why are gas prices increasing?
If you’ve read our blog: The Gas Fuel Crisis, you’ll know that a culmination of different factors has led to a record rise in global gas prices over the last year.
Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, wholesale gas prices had quadrupled!
Consumers were initially protected from these rises by Ofgem’s price cap. This cap limits what companies can charge per unit of gas.
Because gas companies were having to sell gas to consumers for much less than they bought it for, 29 of them went bust.
Ofgem announced that the price cap would rise by an eye-watering 54% in April 2022.
But not long after this, Russia invaded Ukraine. Since Russian gas accounts for about 40% of the EU’s gas imports, the price of gas has increased even further!
Wholesale gas prices are currently around £4 per therm, which is more than ten times the level a year ago when it was around 35p.
How much more will I be paying for my gas?
The energy price cap will increase from the 1st of April for approximately 22 million customers.
According to Ofgem, those on default tariffs paying by direct debit will see an increase of £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 per year (difference due to rounding). Prepayment customers are facing an increase of £708 from £1,309 to £2,017.
But the price cap is updated twice a year, and there are now fears that the war in Ukraine may result in another price cap increase in October.
Experts say that if the price of gas remains at its current levels, household gas bills could reach more than £280-a-month or £3,000-a-year by the autumn.
With households feeling the squeeze as the cost-of-living soars, understanding how to take control of your energy usage at home is vital.
Can I switch energy providers?
Previously, a good way of saving money on energy bills was to check your bills and switch to a different (and cheaper) energy provider.
But unfortunately, switching energy providers to get a cheaper deal isn’t possible now, as there are no deals that are meaningfully cheaper than Ofgem’s price cap.
So, the best way to save during the current energy crisis is to use less. Let’s look at some tips for reducing your energy usage, and therefore your bills.
Tips for reducing your gas bill
As gas prices sky-rocket, you’ll need to be savvy with how you use your gas. Thankfully, there are some simple things that you can do to save money on your gas bill:
1. Reduce your gas bill with a smart meter
The first step in reducing your gas bill, is to keep a watchful eye on how you’re using your energy.
Understanding where your costs are coming from, allows you to make little changes or adjustments to save money.
Smart meters are gas and electricity meters that come with an in-home display that shows you how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence in near real-time.
Smart meters make it easy to keep an eye on how much you’re spending. This can help you to make small changes to your habits which will reduce your household costs.
Another advantage of having a smart meter is that they send readings to your energy provider automatically. This means you’ll get more accurate bills without having to take readings yourself.
2. Reduce your gas bill with heating controls
Heating controls are vital in keeping your home comfortable, without wasting energy. So hopefully you’re already using them!
But if you’re not… installing a room thermostat, programmer and thermostatic radiator valves, could save you around £75 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
It will also cut your home’s carbon footprint by 320kg a year, which is important in our quest for net-zero by 2050.
3. Reduce your gas bill with a programmable thermostat
If you only have a basic room thermostat, it’s worth upgrading to a programmable thermostat.
Programmable thermostats have a built-in timer which lets you schedule your heating to come on and go off automatically at different times of day.
Unlike the standard room thermostat, you won’t have to manually adjust the heating. This means that your property will be heated up when it needs to be, and you can save money when you don’t need the heating on.
You could go one step further by installing a smart thermostat…
4. Reduce your gas bill with a smart thermostat
A significant step-up from the programmable thermostat, is the smart thermostat.
A smart thermostat is a thermostat that can be controlled by an internet-connected device, such as your phone, tablet, or smart speaker.
A smart thermostat will let you view and monitor how much energy you’re using, making it easier to see where you could save money. Nest even uses a green leaf symbol to help you to choose more energy efficient options.
Smart thermostats are more flexible than other heating controls because you can control your heating system remotely. This is handy because you can turn your heating off from your phone if you’re stuck in traffic or have had a change of plans. So, you never waste energy heating an empty home.
But the energy savings don’t end with having remote control of your heating. Smart controls offer a huge range of different features that can help to save you money, such as:
- Hot water control;
- Multi-room control or zonal heating;
- Motion sensors and GPS tracking;
- Weather compensation;
- Intelligent self-learning for automatic scheduling;
- Holiday modes;
- Voice control.
Manufacturers of smart controls make bold claims about how much money you can save with a smart thermostat. Tado claims you could save up to 31% on your energy bills!
But these savings will only apply if you previously left your heating on at a single temperature constantly; or didn’t fully utilise your programmable thermostat. If you’re already quite energy conscious, you’ll see lower savings and a longer payback period.
Check out our related blog: Does smart heating save money.
5. Reduce your gas bill with thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs)
If your radiators have basic valves that only let you turn them on or off, you should consider upgrading them to thermostatic radiator valves.
Thermostatic radiator valves or ‘TRVs’ are a heating control that attach to the side of your radiators. They control the air temperature of your rooms by automatically adjusting the amount of hot water that enters the radiator they are attached to.
This means that you can have different heating zones throughout your home, so you’re not wasting energy heating rooms that you don’t use very often.
The Greenage says that the use of TRVs has been linked to energy savings as significant as 40%. But this will vary greatly depending on factors such as the performance of your radiators, insulation and how many rooms they are installed in.
6. Reduce your gas bill by turning your thermostat down
One of the simplest ways to save energy is by turning your heating down a single degree.
Although one degree might not sound like much, Government research has shown that turning down your thermostat by just 1 degree can save up to 10% on your heating bills.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, this one simple tip could reduce your energy bills by around £80 a year, and would you even notice the difference?!
7. Reduce your gas bill by rescheduling your heating
As well as turning your thermostat down by one degree, you should think about whether you can alter your heating schedule without affecting your comfort.
Could you switch your heating off a little earlier, and turn it back on again a little later?
If you’ve got decent insulation (more on this later) your home should generally retain heat for an hour after the heating has been turned off. So, you might not need your heating on for as long as you think. It’s certainly worth trialing a slightly shorter schedule!
8. Reduce your gas bill by using less hot water
As well as heating the rooms in your home, your boiler is also using energy to give you hot water.
And unlike with the heating, which we might switch off in the winter months, we use hot water all year round.
The average person in the UK uses a whopping 145 litres of water a day.
The Centre for Sustainable Energy says that around a quarter of the water we use is for showers and baths, and this accounts for about 10-20% of a typical household’s energy bills. And this doesn’t include heating water for washing-up or doing the washing.
So, it’s not surprising that hot water can make up a significant part of your gas bill!
Here are some simple ways you could reduce your hot water usage:
- Take a shower instead of a bath;
- Spend one minute less in the shower (The Energy Saving Trust says this can save £4 per person per year);
- Fit an eco-shower head on your power shower;
- Wash up in a bowl, rather than running a tap;
- Only turn on washing machines and dishwashers when they are full;
- Wash clothes at 30 degrees wherever possible;
- Fix any dripping taps;
- Insulate your hot water cylinder if you have one, and make sure it is set to the correct temperature.
9. Reduce your gas bill by using your boiler rather than an immersion heater
If you have a hot water cylinder with an electric immersion heater, you should use your boiler to heat your water, even in the summer.
Heating water with an immersion heater is more expensive, and you should reserve this for use as an emergency back-up if your boiler breaks down.
10. Reduce your gas bill by turning down your water temperature
If your hot water is extremely hot, you’ll be wasting energy (and money) by heating it past a comfortable temperature.
You can reduce the temperature of the hot water which comes out of your taps by adjusting a dial on the front of your boiler.
11. Reduce your gas bill by turning down the flow temperature on your combi boiler
A recent report by the Heating and Hot Water Council (HHIC) found that households can save around 6-8% on their gas bill just by turning down the flow temperature on their condensing combi boiler.
This doesn’t mean turning down your thermostat. It means that your home is heated to a comfortable temperature while running the water in your heating system at a lower temperature.
To find out more about this, check out our related blog: The benefits of low temperature heating.
12. Reduce your gas bill with regular boiler servicing
Booking an annual service with a Gas Safe engineer is not only vital in keeping you and your family safe; but also keeps your boiler working at maximum efficiency.
A well-maintained boiler will work more efficiently than a neglected one.
This is important because an efficient boiler uses less energy to heat your home, which means regular services can help keep energy costs lower.
During a service, your engineer will clean up any dirt and debris that has collected in your boiler. This improves the heat transfer, allowing your boiler to light more easily and burn efficiently.
Regular servicing helps your boiler to run optimally, using only as much energy as is necessary to heat your home.
Skipping your annual service could lead to faults, higher energy bills, and your warranty ending early – so get booked in!
13. Reduce your gas bill by bleeding your radiators
Although they’re often overlooked, your radiators are just as important as your boiler in keeping you warm.
Over time, pockets of air can build up in your radiators, preventing the hot water from circulating properly. These pockets of air result in cold spots on your radiators and reduce the surface area for heat to be transferred to your room.
This reduces the efficiency of your heating system because your boiler will be burning more energy trying to get your rooms up to temperature.
The good news is that there’s a simple fix to remove the unwanted air from your system – bleeding your radiators.
Bleeding your radiators not only makes your home warmer but can also help to reduce your energy bill. Check out our step-by-step guide on how to bleed your radiators, here.
If after bleeding your radiators, they still feel cool, ask your engineer about a power flush.
14. Reduce your gas bill by rearranging your furniture
Another simple tip to help your radiators do their job, is to check that they’re not being obstructed by any sofas or big pieces of furniture.
Move your furniture an inch or two away from your radiators to allow the air to circulate properly. And don’t hang your washing on them, use a clothes airer instead!
15. Reduce your gas bill by improving your home’s insulation
The last thing you want when you’ve paid a premium for your gas, is for your heat to be pouring out of your house as quickly as you’re producing it. But without decent insulation, that’s precisely what’s happening!
And unfortunately, Britain has some of the worst insulated housing stock in Europe, leaving households extremely vulnerable to spikes in gas prices.
All buildings suffer from heat loss, but insulation slows this process down. The longer you can hang on to your heat, the less gas you’ll have to burn to keep warm. And this will save you money on your bills.
According to the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group, better insulation could save UK households more than £500 a year on energy bills.
Research by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) revealed that by upgrading the Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) of homes from a band D to a band C reduced gas demand in homes by 20%. This equated to an average saving of £194 per year from April 2022.
So, you should consider whether you can improve your insulation in any of the following ways:
16. Reduce your gas bill by insulating your walls
According to the Energy Saving Trust (EST), an average semi-detached house can expect to save approximately £225 per year on their energy bills and reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 930kg by insulating their walls.
17. Reduce your gas bill by insulating your loft
The EST says that where an average semi-detached house goes from having no insulation, to 270mm of insulation, energy bills will be reduced by up to £150 per year, and carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by up to 610 kg.
18. Reduce your gas bill by upgrading to double or triple glazing
Whilst there will be a cost to fitting double glazing, the annual savings on your energy bills for an average semi-detached house, is between £75-80, according to the EST.
19. Reduce your gas bill by draught-proofing your home
To effectively draught-proof your property, block up any unwanted gaps that let cold air in. This can be as simple as hanging heavy curtains; using a chimney balloon; and placing rugs over gaps in floor boards.
20. Reduce your gas bill by insulating your hot water cylinder
If you have a heating system with a hot water cylinder, check whether it has an insulating jacket. The EST says that just fitting your hot water cylinder with an insulating jacket will save you £20 a year in heating costs and 150kg of carbon dioxide emissions.
Check out our blog: How to reduce heat loss at home, for more tips.
21. Reduce your gas bill by replacing your boiler
You might like to read our guide: How to choose an energy efficient boiler.
Heating technology has come a long way in the last few years, and modern boilers are much more efficient, having to comply with the Boiler Plus Regulations on energy efficiency.
If you have an ancient boiler, it will have older, less efficient, technology. Add to this, the fact that boilers tend to lose some efficiency over time, and you’ve got a recipe for much higher running costs than with a modern replacement.
Modern A-rated boilers must be at least 92% efficient which means that only 8p in every £1 is lost in the heating process. Whereas an old G-rated boiler that’s only 70% efficient, will be wasting 30p in every £1. So, the savings can soon mount up.
If you’re swapping a G-rated boiler for an A-rated one, you’ll certainly see a huge difference on your fuel bills. According to the EST, you could save as much as £340 a year on your gas bill if you’re trading in an old-style non-condensing boiler for a new condensing one. And with the current price of gas being what it is, the savings are likely to be much higher than this!
For tailored advice on what you could save, contact one of our team today to book your free survey.
You might also like our related blog: 6 Top tips for buying a new boiler
22. Reduce your gas bill by checking whether you’re eligible for any energy efficiency grants or schemes
It’s also worth checking whether you’re eligible for any energy schemes or grants to help you pay your energy bills. Some schemes to investigate include:
- Council Tax Rebate for bands A-D – You will get £150 back from the council to help pay your energy bills;
- The Warm Home Discount – £140 mainly to pensioners and those who get certain benefits;
- Cold Weather Payment – available if you already receive pension credit; income support; income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance; income-related Employment and Support Allowance; Universal Credit;
- The Winter Fuel Payment – £100 – £300 per winter for those born before 26 September 1955;
- Grants for energy debts – If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant to help pay it off;
- The Boiler upgrade scheme (from April 2022) – up to £5,000 to replace your current gas or oil heating with low-carbon heating.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about the current price of gas. But we can take simple steps to optimise the energy efficiency of our heating systems, to get more bang for our buck.
By following as many of these tips as you can, you should be able to make some savings on your gas bill.
We hope that you’ve found this article useful. For tailored advice on improving your heating system, contact The Heating People today to book your free survey.