A guide to lowering energy bills for properties that aren’t connected to mains gas

Mains gas

Affording utility bills is often a huge headache for most households up and down the UK, particularly for low-income families and those who are on benefits.

According to Citizens Advice, some 2 million households struggle to pay their bills and this has become worse during the Covid-19 pandemic, with many people forced to stay home.

The reality is that all households, regardless of income level or benefits received, have to pay for their energy. And the cost of this has been steadily rising over recent years – by more than 50% in some cases.

If you are struggling with your bills, there are several ways to cut down usage so that you end up paying less to the energy companies. There is also government help through grant schemes that can replace your old inefficient heating if you meet certain eligibility requirements, as well as improvement in important areas such as insulation.

Here we look at the simple steps you can take to reduce your bills, whatever your circumstances:

Turning down the thermostat

Many homes control their heating using a thermostat and it’s often set too high. Once you realise that half your gas and electricity costs or more are caused by heating and hot water, you’ll begin to understand what savings can be made. Lowering your thermostat by just one degree can save you £80 a year, on average. If you have the heating on at night, then lowering the thermostat even more, can make a big difference to your energy efficiency. When you’re away from the home, of course, and the house is empty, make sure that heating is off.

If your property doesn’t have a thermostat, and that is more likely if your property isn’t connected to mains gas and doesn’t have a mains gas boiler, then it might be time to think about one. There’s more on that below!

Turning off appliances

It’s something we all forget to do and it costs us money without delivering any benefits. We leave computers, TVs and other electronics on standby when not in use, especially overnight. Turning them off completely can certainly save a few pounds over the year, more than many people think.

Leaving lights on is another common cause of wastage, even with today’s eco-friendly LED bulbs. Turn those lights off and save a bit of electricity and money in the process.

It’s not always easy to find the source of energy wastage, but there are some simple ways you can tackle it, which leads us nicely onto the next recommendation.

Switch to a programmable thermostat

Technology can help reduce our costs in a variety of ways. Today’s high-tech programmable thermostats can make your home much more efficient by, for example, only heating the rooms you are using and ensuring you always have the right temperature.

These types of thermostat can also be operated through your smartphone and could save you as much as £75 a year according to moneysupermarket.com.

You might be eligible for a funded smart thermostat through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, saving up to £300 off the installation costs. Grants are funded by energy companies and are available to anyone who receives benefits such as Child Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – income based, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance – income based, Pension Credit, Tax Credits or Universal Credit to name a few (there’s a full list of eligible benefits here).

Update your insulation

One of the biggest reasons people pay over the odds on their heating bills is because of poor insulation, both in the walls and the loft. Warm air quickly dissipates through areas like the roof, which is why new insulation could help you save heating costs.
If you are on a low income and receiving benefits, you may be eligible for a grant to update or install new insulation that can significantly reduce your costs. Even if you don’t claim benefits, you might still be eligible for a grant.

The grants provide the most funding for properties that are paying higher energy costs. One of the most common causes for high energy bills is a lack of insulation and inefficient heating. Properties that don’t have mains gas central heating tend to receive the highest level of funding and so you can often benefit from fully-funded insulation such as loft insulation, wall insulation or underfloor insulation.

If your property isn’t connected to mains gas, the main off gas insulation grants include:

If your property is connected to mains gas and you have a gas boiler the main insulation grants include:

  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Loft insulation
  • Underfloor insulation

We can carry out a free assessment and help you apply for the grant, often installing your insulation for free.

You might also want to look into improving your heating system, since this will be eligible for some financial assistance and that brings us to our next point.

Upgrade inefficient heating

The reason why many households pay a lot for their fuel is because of outdated and inefficient heating systems. Older appliances can consume lots of power and, for low-income households, this can be a huge problem.

The cost of renewables has dropped significantly in recent years, so if your home doesn’t have mains gas, there might be a good way for you to generate your own heat for less than it would have previously.

The good news is that the government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme is aimed at those homeowners on benefits or who are living in fuel poverty. It provides grants to update inefficient systems and replace them with energy-saving alternatives.

See if you qualify for a grant

If you’re looking to save money on your energy, it’s time to take action. All you need to do is to fill in the short form here on our site. Our team will then carry out a free assessment of your home and make a list of recommendations and let you know how much grant you are likely to receive.

We’ll help you find local grants and subsidies that will lower your monthly utility bills – all while saving the environment in a big way!

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