Gadgets to help save money on your energy bills
We all know, or should do, that THE best way to save money on your energy bills is to shop around and switch to the best deal.
But once you’ve bagged the best tariff around (give that a go here), are there other things you can do?
Apart from turning the heating down and putting on an extra sweater, that is?
Here are a few investments we reckon could more than pay for themselves for many economy-conscience households.
If you use an electric heater without a thermostat control, the heater will keep pumping out heat and burning up electricity long after a room has reached a pleasant temperature.
A plug-in thermostat will stop this happening.
Plug the heater into it and then plug the thermostat into the electric socket.
Set the temperature and the power will be cut when it’s reached.
Nope, these are not just for grannies.
They are a terrific way of ensuring you get into a cosy warm bed without having to have radiators in your bedroom pumping out heat.
Electric blankets are actually pretty heavy power users, but they only need to be on for a short while before you get into bed.
Once you get under the covers, switch it off, or into sleep mode, so the power is kept to an absolute minimum.
If you really want to cut back, you could go for a hot water bottle, but that might be going a bit too far.
Blankets and hot water bottles - as alternatives to radiators - can help you save money
A radiator key
Hard to believe, but something as simple as a radiator key, used to ‘bleed’ your radiators, can save you cash.
Bleeding should be done once a year after the summer and essentially simply lets gases out of the system.
If they’re not released you may well find the radiators are only hot at the top end and this is a big drain on efficient use of energy.
If you want to splash out you can also fit an automatic bleeder.
A radiator shelf
Very simple, very effective.
These sit over the radiator and help to throw the heat from the radiator into the room rather than send it upwards.
Radiator reflector panels act a bit like shelves, but sit behind the radiator and reflect heat out into the room rather than it being absorbed by walls.
These work very well in older homes where the walls often absorb more heat.
A Radiator Booster
A Radiator Booster sits on top of a radiator and helps the heat circulate better, making a room warmer.
They are especially useful if the radiator fitted isn’t really big enough for the room.
Savings can be made as you will probably find you’ll be able to turn down the thermostat a little because of the more efficient use of the heat being generated.
Spend some time wandering round your house and feel where the draughts are – where doors don’t close perfectly flush, along window seals, letter boxes, the list is a long one.
Find them and seal them.
If they’re too big for normal sealant strips, consider installing heavy curtains to keep draughts out and heat in.
Get a smart meter
We reckon this is the best tip and gadget of all – and it doesn’t have to cost anything.
A smart meter doesn’t directly save you cash, because it does nothing more than measure what energy you’re using in real time.
But, and it’s a big but, you can see what you’re using in actual cash, as you use it!
What better way to encourage yourself to turn down a radiator or switch off a few lights that aren’t needed.
They’ll measure gas and electricity and they’ll not only show your use, they’ll send it back to your supplier to generate perfectly accurate bills –no more estimates, no more having to read your meters.
They’re part of the government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions and everyone will be offered one by 2020 (everything you need to know about smart meters is in our guide).
All companies have slightly different schedules of offering smart meters, and you can find out how yours is doing by checking their site.
If your supplier offers you one, you don’t have to accept it, but we reckon you’d have to be nuts not to.
The official roll out started this month (October 2016), but some of the bigger companies have already started – British Gas, Eon, First Utility and Ovo -among them.
We hope you found our energy gadgets and tips useful; if you did, you can share this guide on Twitter and Facebook using the button at the top.