2020 looks set to be an unusual Christmas for many families across the UK. The festive season is an expensive time for many of us. The nights are darker and Christmas lights on for longer as we spend more time at home. Don't forget December is one of the UK's coldest months. This means your heating will be on longer. You may find yourself looking to save energy. But how do you do this without turning into the Grinch?
Keeping warm around the fireplace
According to Ofgem, the average UK home spends £1,254 a year on a dual fuel tariff. Households in the UK spend well over 50% of their energy bills on heating. That rises higher in winter months. We have lots of advice across our site on ensuring your home is well insulated and keeping your home warm.
If you have a fireplace, you will find this much cheaper to run. This is because gas is much cheaper than electricity. Unfortunately, not every house has a gas fire.
If this is the case, look at small changes you can make to your home. Cover any draughts is a great place to start. It's also a good idea to bleed your radiators to make sure they are working efficiently. You may even consider getting your boiler serviced. They will usually bleed your radiators for you as a part of the service.
If you have other options available, avoid using electric heaters. They cost a significant amount to keep a room warm. Customers on prepayment meters and standard variable tariffs will be charged more in December.
You can manage costs in several ways. Keeping your thermostat at a comfortable room temperature and not too high will bring down your bills. The Department of Energy estimates that lowering the thermostat by 1 degree will lower yearly costs by 10%. Millions of UK households overpay for their energy. This is because they are on the wrong energy tariff. If you have not switched in six months, you will likely be able to get a cheaper deal. Compare home energy tariffs with our simple online comparison tool and see how much you could save.
Christmas lights are one of the joys of Christmas. They do use a lot of electricity though. Research by consumer watchdog Which in 2017 found that UK households spend £222 million each year on Christmas lights alone! That’s approximately £8.94 extra for the month of December for the average home. That is just the price of indoor lights. If you have outdoor lights you may double that figure. It might not seem much, but it adds to large expenses Christmas brings. Saving where you can means that money can be put towards presents and food.
One of the reasons that Christmas lights can be costly is that many lights use old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. If you have not bought new Christmas lights in a few years, they could be costing you more than you think. Investing in LED Christmas lights consume up to 80% less power. Purchasing lights with a timer can help further reduce costs. This helps if households leave external lighting on overnight.
Cooking up a fuss
Christmas dinner is a British institution. Many are thankful it only comes once a year with the stress it brings. Large amounts of energy goes into preparing a Christmas dinner, both from the cook and electricity. We calculated how much it would cost to prepare an average Christmas meal. It would cost between £3 - £4.50 to prepare. Add this to the cost of lighting and you can see how it adds up. Not to mention we all be spending more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Don’t get ‘drained’ by gifts
Christmas is the time of year when Father Christmas may surprise us with a new electronic device or gadget. Many of us may hope to find a smartphone, tablet or other toys under the tree. As much as 15% of your home’s electricity bill can be from secondary powered devices.
Once they are fully charged, they continue to consume electricity. Remember to take device off charge when they are at 100%. It helps to get into a habit taking plug out of the wall when not in use.