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 Christmas lights
An LED light bulb uses up to 90% 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 €6 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 festive lights.
Things have improved hugely in recent years though and there are now lots of great LED Christmas lights on the market that work just as well as old-fashioned ones.
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. And even though any overpayment will always be refunded the next time your supplier takes an actual reading, Christmas is expensive enough without having to pay more than you should have.
Submitting a meter reading is quick and easy and most suppliers will 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, visiting guests (within Covid rules of course), and perhaps even a fire burning, your home may be naturally more warm than it usually is over Christmas.
So turn down the thermostat a notch. Your pocket will thank you come January! Turning the temperature down by just one degree could save you around €150 a year on your heating costs.
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 our next step.
6. Think 'Smart'
Smart devices allow you to remotely control your home's heating and lighting via your mobile or any internet-connected device really. This means you’ve more control over your heating and lighting, which allows for greater convenience and savings on your energy bills.
For example, if you’re out in town getting merry with friends over the festive season and decide to stay on for an extra drink, you can easily set your heating to come on later for you so that you're not wasting money heating an empty home.
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, Play Stations or any new appliances you may get as presents this Christmas before going to bed. Not only is it safer, it’s also more economical.
8. Be mindful where you put the Christmas tree
Whether it's real or fake, big or small, you should avoid putting your tree right beside any radiators or main sources of heat as you'll simply block the heat and end up with a warm tree as opposed to warm hands and toes!
9. 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% or more compared to the standard rates a longer-term customer is charged.
At the moment you could save almost €600 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.
Before switching, make sure you take a look at these 7 things to consider when switching energy supplier or our guide that covers the most commonly asked energy switching questions.
Want to save more money?
If you’re looking to save even more money, you may also like the following articles:
- Sticking with the topic of energy, here are 10 ways to heat your home for less this winter.
- Christmas shopping can undoubtedly put a dent in your wallet. Take a look at these 7 ways to finance your Christmas spending so that you can shop with ease.
- If you’re conscious of banking fees, here we’ve outlined a simple and easy way to reduce your everyday current account costs.
- You could save up to €7,000 on your household bills if you’re willing to take the time and effort to review them.
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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!