How to cut energy bills in lockdown or when working from home

With many Brits now having worked their last day in the office this month, some will be worried about what spending more time at home could mean for their energy usage.

Even during the lockdown in early summer – which coincided with multiple bouts of hot weather – households were using more energy than usual, which could be explained by people cooking and eating more meals in the home, as well as many using laptops and televisions around the clock.

With forecasters predicting an ‘arctic freeze’ set to grip the nation this winter, home heating is another key factor that will drive up energy usage this time around.

Joanna Flowers, a service and repair engineer from British Gas, has shared a series of tips to help people live in a more energy-efficient way.

Joanna said: “I’m proud to be part of a team that works all over the country to keep people’s homes warm and safe, and with customers spending more time at home again, our work is vital. There are some really simple things you can do around the house to make the most of the energy you’re using.”

  1. Turn off the lights. We’re all guilty of leaving lights on around the house. But leaving them on for long periods of time will only increase your energy bills. Try and get into a habit of turning off all the lights other than those in the room you’re actually in.
  2. Make the most of soft furnishings: Hanging curtains and placing rugs on hard floors are some of the simplest and most effective ways to keep your home warm this winter. Thick material (the thicker the better) prevents heat from being lost through windows and doors – just don’t forget to open your curtains during the day so that the sun can do some of the work!
  3. Maximise the heat: Think about where your heat sources are. Putting your sofa in front of a radiator may keep the best spot in the house extra toasty, but it will absorb heat that could be warming the rest of the room.
  4. Maximise efficiency in the kitchen. Most of us are cooking more than usual, which is driving up how much energy we use. There are some simple things you can do to about this though, like turning the oven off ten minutes before your food is ready (it will keep on cooking), and maximising oven time by batch-cooking a few meals at once.
  5. Block the breeze: If your windows and doors don’t seal properly, there are lots of ways to help keep cold air out and warm air in. Fitting draught excluders – available from most DIY stores – is an easy and affordable way to reduce your energy bills and draught-proof your home. Letterbox brushes, chimney balloons and even keyhole coverings can also make a real difference.

Data from more than a million British Gas smart meter customers revealed the extent to which Brits’ daily routines changed during the first lockdown – from eating their dinner earlier than normal (around 6pm) to waking up later (around 9am). The data also suggested more people were staying up late to watch TV or play video games, with higher electricity use being seen between 1am and 4am.

Anyone struggling with their energy bills should contact their supplier for help. Over 90,000 of British Gas’s most vulnerable customers have had help since the start of lockdown, they have received over £6.9m on pre-loaded prepayment meter cards and over 50,000 customers struggling with their payment plans have been helped with deferred payments or extra help. British Gas has also donated an additional £750k to its independent charity, the British Gas Energy Trust – which can offer advice, assistance and grants to people who are struggling to pay their bills.

The British Gas engineers have visited over 4 million homes since the start of the pandemic with not a single case of contracting Covid-19 from a customer or vice versa demonstrating that the safety procedures work. The team is ready to help with emergency response cases and essential visits to vulnerable people – as well as any other issues in the home that people cannot resolve themselves.

For more information and troubleshooting tips around the home visit: https://www.britishgas.co.uk/help-and-support/troubleshooting-tips-and-guides

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