Personal Finance

8 simple steps to save money on your energy bills this Christmas

Daragh Cassidy

Daragh Cassidy

Head of Communications

We all know that Christmas is a pretty expensive time of the year. With this in mind, we’ve taken a look at some simple things you can do to spend less on your energy bills over the holidays. So at least if your credit card bill shocks you come January, your energy bills won’t!

1. Choose LED light bulbs

An LED light bulb uses around 80% less energy than a halogen light bulb and can also last well over 10 years compared to two years for a standard bulb.

This means that replacing one light bulb will save you around €7 of electricity a year. So replacing all light bulbs in your house could easily save you up to €100 a year depending on how many lights you have. Not bad!     

This obviously applies to Christmas lights too. However, until recently LED lights couldn't change colour, flash, or dim (the very things we associate with Christmas lights) so your options were fairly limited if you wanted to purchase energy efficient Christmas lights. Things have improved recently and there are now lots of LED Christmas lights on the market.  

2. Submit regular meter readings

You should only pay for what you use, right?

This is why you should submit a meter reading to your energy provider for every bill so that you’re not charged for energy you haven’t used. Because although energy companies are fairly good at estimating bills, they don’t always get it right.  

This is particularly important if you’ll be going away over Christmas and will be using less energy in your home than your energy company would usually expect.  

Submitting a meter reading is quick and easy and most suppliers will you send you a reminder by text when it’s time to do so.  

3. Turn down your thermostat by one degree

Between the cooking, the lit candles, all the visiting guests, and perhaps even a fire burning, your home may be more naturally warm than it usually is over Christmas.

So turn down the thermostat a notch. Your pock will thank you come January! Turning the temperature down by just one degree could save you around €150 a year on your heating bill.     

4. Cook clever

Save energy with your Christmas cooking and you could also save on your bills.

When your food is nearly cooked, turn off the rings/oven and use the built up heat to finish cooking your food. Your oven will stay at the exact same temperature for up to five minutes or more. Depending on usage you could save up to €20 a year just by making this small change. And when you’ve finished cooking, keep the oven door open while the oven cools down so it’ll help heat your home.

And don’t leave the fridge door open for too long while getting food. For every 10–20 seconds the door is left open, it takes 45 minutes for the fridge to cool down to its original temperature.

And don’t put hot food straight into the fridge or freezer. The fridge or freezer has to work extra hard and draw more energy to cool it down.

5. Use a timer plug for your lights 

A timer plug is a cost effective and simple way to control the time your lights come on and off around the home. They're pretty cheap to buy - with basic ones costing around €10 at most - and can help to reduce your electricity usage over Christmas.

Timer plugs are also a good way to ensure your house is well-lit at all times, which is great from a security perspective.

However if you're happy to spend a bit more and be able to control your lights and heat from outside the home, you should look into investing in a smart device, which brings us on to your next step.

6. Think 'Smart'  

Smart devices allow you to remotely control your home's heating and lighting via your mobile or an internet-connected device. This means you’ve more control over your heating and lighinting, which allows for greater convenience and savings on your energy bills. For example, if you’re stuck in traffic after work and will be an hour late getting home, you can easily set your heating to come on later for you.    

Check out our review of some of the top smart thermostats available right now.

7. Pull the plug

Even turned off, many appliances keep drawing power. Called "standby" electricity loss because it's so often associated with electronics in standby mode, it's also known as "phantom" or "vampire" electricity (for obvious reasons).

Phantom energy can account for 15% or more of the total electricity used by appliances or €50 or more to the average household's annual electricity bill. So pull the plug on the fairylights, laptops, TVs and other appliances before going to bed. Not only is it safer, it’s also more economical.

8. Switch energy supplier  

Switching energy supplier is still the quickest and easiest way to save big on your energy bills.

That’s because gas and electricity suppliers almost always save their cheapest tariffs for brand-new customers, which are heavily discounted by up to 30 percent or more compared to the standard rates a longer-term customer is charged.

At the moment you could save around €300 a year on your gas and electricity costs just by switching supplier. It’s quick and easy to switch and it can all be done online in the space of a few minutes with no phone calls or paperwork involved. And trust us your pocket will thank you when the post Christmas energy bills arrive.   

Get in touch

Do you have any other energy savings tips that you'd like to share? Comment below or Tweet us your tips @bonkers_ie. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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