15 ways to cut energy bills
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This week’s Big Energy Saving Week (20-24 October) offers the perfect opportunity to think about our energy usage and ways to cut our fuel bills.

Mark Todd, director of energyhelpline - our partner at Yours Switching Energy, shares his top 15 energy-saving tricks:

In the kitchen

1. Get a new energy-efficient appliance. If your fridge/freezer is 15 years or older, it is likely to be using more energy than necessary. With "cold" appliances always on, you can make big efficiency gains by using modern energy-efficient appliances
2. Make sure your fridge/freezer is dust free in the back, and that it is out of the way of direct sunlight or heat from boilers or ovens
3. Cut out using a tumble dryer and opt to air dry clothes. This can save a considerable amount of energy and the typical UK household would see an average of £60 savings a year.

In the living room

4. Switch TVs, games consoles and other consumer electronics off, rather than put them on standby, when they aren't in use. More than half (55%) of UK households have games consoles and 40% leave them on standby when not in use. The Energy Saving Trust has estimated that the country could save £1.7bn a year by switching appliances off standby. Per household, this could be an estimated £45-£80 saving a year
5. Be creative about where you plug your items in. With one flick of the switch you could shut everything off standby.

In bedrooms

6. Turn lights off when you aren’t using the room
7. Make sure appliances aren’t on standby. Three quarters of those with a spare TV keep it on standby. The average annual cost of appliances running on standby is £50-£86.
8. Use energy-efficient bulbs to cut down consumption and increase lifespan. If the average household replaced all their old-fashioned lightbulbs with CFLs and all their halogens with LEDs it would save £46 a year.

In the office/hallway

9. Draught proofing near the front door can be a massive energy saver, and can be done cheaply with draught excluders
10. Draw any curtains at dusk to keep the heat in and draughts out.

In the bathroom

11. Install a low or dual-flush toilet, or use a displacement device, to reduce water in the cistern.  About 30% of all water used in dwellings is flushed down the toilet every day. Check what water-efficient products your water company offers for free using www.savewatersavemoney.co.uk.
12. Take showers instead of baths
13. Put an 80mm thick hot-water cylinder jacket on your hot-water tank. This will save around £95 - £115 a year.

Get help with heating costs

14. Help may be available if you are struggling with costs. Citizens Advice (www.citizensadvice.org.uk or 03444 111 445) and Age UK (www.ageuk.org.uk, 0800 169 65 65) can point you in the direction of financial assistance. Or ask your gas and electricity supplier.

Cut bills today

15. By shopping around and switching supplier or tariff, an average UK household could save up to £393 per year. Yours Switching Energy can help you compare and save on gas and electricity bills. Simply call 0800 008 7777 or visit www.yours.co.uk/switching.