Top tips: How to reduce the cost of Christmas energy bills

Kalila Sangster
·4-min read
Stylish christmas golden star illumination and fir branches with red and gold baubles, golden lights bokeh on front of building at holiday market in city street. Christmas street decor
A few simple steps can make all the difference when it comes to reducing Christmas energy consumption. Photo: Getty

With winter drawing in and Christmas coming up, UK households are spending more on energy bills.

On Christmas day alone, Brits collectively spend £42.6m ($57.5m) on energy in the UK, according to cost forecasts from UKPower.co.uk.

The experts at BestHeating shared their top tips for reducing the cost of Christmas energy bills:

Enjoy an eco-Christmas

Choosing LED Christmas lights can reduce electricity consumption by around 90%, according to ampoweruk.com findings.

“To be cost-free and achieve a zero-carbon footprint, consider fibre optic decorations which conduct light rather than electric,” says John Lawless, heating expert at BestHeating.

Keep the radiators clear

You may want to move a sofa or armchair up against a radiator to make way for the Christmas tree or to create a cosy seating spot but anything placed over or next to the radiator will block the air flow, meaning it will emit less heat and make the boiler work harder — costing even more money.

Go smart or go home

Switching to a smart energy meter can help you cut costs as it allows you complete control of your energy usage by monitoring electricity consumption in real time. This can be vital over the Christmas period when energy usage is high.

READ MORE: Brits to spend £6.5bn at independent retailers this Christmas

Let the oven do the work

The oven and stove-top naturally emit high levels of heat, especially when opening and closing the oven door to check on the turkey. Brits spend an average 3 hours and 23 minutes cooking the Christmas dinner, according to UKPower.co.uk so during this time you can ease off using the central heating and let the excess heat emitted from the cooker fill the room.

“Alternatively, save energy by resisting the urge to keep opening the oven door in search of Christmas culinary perfection,” says Lawless.

Consider solar

If you’re keen to decorate your house with outdoor Christmas lights, go for solar lights. As solar relies on daylight for power, it’s the most financially economical and environmentally friendly way to bring festive joy to the exterior of your home.

Be BTU savvy

“Being aware of British Thermal Units (BTUs) is essential for those looking to purchase radiators in time for Christmas as they are the unit by which radiator efficiency is measured. BTUs consider factors such as the room dimensions and window size and calculate the radiator output needed to adequately heat a room, thus saving money in the long run,” says Lawless.

A plumber will normally calculate the BTU, but you can use an online calculator as a guide.

Don’t believe the myth

Although many people think it’s cheaper to leave the heating on low all throughout the Christmas period, the best way to save money in the long term is to turn the heating on when needed, according to the experts.

If the house gets warm try not to leave windows open as it wastes energy and money.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 80% of Brits will spend less in Christmas 2020

Don’t forget guests

If you are able to host guests in your home this festive period during the COVID-19 restrictions, don’t underestimate the body heat they will generate. There will still be ample warmth to go around if you turn the heating down or off when people arrive.

Bleed and clean radiators

A pre-Christmas radiator health check is a good idea.

“If cold spots appear at the bottom of radiators when the heating is on full this could indicate a build-up of sludge in the system. This stops the hot water circulating properly, stopping your radiators from getting hot enough when you need the heating the most. Giving radiators a good clean eliminates the problem, whilst regularly bleeding the radiators in every room guarantees optimum heating performance and reduced bills,” says Lawless.

Standby for Christmas

Remember to turn off the TV and other appliances when they’re not being used. They consume endless energy and money, even when on standby.

Lawless said: “Christmas is the biggest drain on heating and electric bills however a few simple steps make all the difference when it comes to reducing our consumption. Many of our tips are common sense, take just seconds and also have long term benefits after the decorations are down — making it financially savvy to take the time to prepare the home for this festive period.”

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