HOUSEHOLDS can use today's clock change to do some energy “spring cleaning” that could save you hundreds of pounds.
Reducing usage as the days get lighter for longer can help cut costs, according to one energy expert.
Dr Steve Buckley, energy doctor at smart meter energy saving app Loop, said it is possible to save almost £600 by adapting your habits from this point of the year onwards.
“The clocks going forward is a signal to spring clean your energy usage to make sure you’re only spending what you need to on your energy bills,” he said.
The fact that it’s lighter outside will save you money on its own, he said, because you won’t need to put your lights on as much.
And it will eventually get warmer, reducing the need for heating.
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But the bigger changes come if you see the clock change as a cut-off point for high energy usage in your home, he explained.
“With energy support schemes coming to an end this month, households will still feel the pinch despite the warmer days setting in, with prices rising by 20%,” Steve said.
He suggested using a smart meter app, like Loop, which analyses energy data from your smart meter and shows you ways to use less, could help you save money.
Some energy suppliers have their own apps that give insights on your usage, so check with yours., but you'll usually need a smart meter for these to work.
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Other apps include Uswitch's Utrack, Hugo Energy, Bright and Samsung SmartThings, and you can also use smart plugs to see the individual energy use and cost of appliances around the home.
Here's how the clocks going forward can help you save on energy bills.
Turn your heating off early- save £100
“Most people adjust their heating according to the weather.
“But it’s very easy to forget to change it when the weather warms up, especially if your heating is on an automatic timer,” Steve said.
Research Loop carried last year showed half of users kept their heating on until the end of April.
But those who turned their heating off earlier in the month used 10% less gas overall than those that didn’t.
“As spring is warmer than winter, your heating won’t be on as much during the day, however it’s still cool in the mornings,” Steve said.
“There is an opportunity to save by minimising heating your house in the morning as it will naturally heat up during the day in spring, as the days become warmer and brighter.”
He suggested easing yourself into the summer months by turning your heating off for an extra hour a day over the next month, which could save around £100 during the summer months.
Check your thermostat – save £300
Another way to lower bills is to check your thermostat – if it’s still set too high, there’s a risk that your heating will run unnecessarily during the day, overheating your house, wasting gas and money.
“If you aren’t ready to turn your heating off completely, turning down your thermostat by as little as one degree can also result in savings, reducing gas usage by 10%,” Steve said.
He said that if you can turn it down further, from 21 to 18 degrees, for example, you could save around 30%, which is around £300 for an average home each year.
Turn the lights off – save £24
Turning off the lights for just an hour a day can result in a small saving of £24 over the entire summer, but you could save even more if you swap to LED lightbulbs, which are more energy efficient.
“Make sure you adjust any lights that are on automatic timers to benefit from the extra natural light, and make the switch to LEDs as soon as possible – it’s the proverbial no-brainer,” Steve said.
Ditch the tumble dryer – save £150
As days get warmer, swapping your energy-hungry tumble dryer for drying laundry outside can save £150.
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Try to plan when you do washing to give it plenty of time to dry outside, and you won’t be tempted to put the heating on to speed things up.
“All these small changes add up,” Steve said.
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