It’s depressing, but it’s a fact – families across the country are facing huge spikes in their energy bills this winter.
The much-maligned energy price cap is set to rise by 80% in October, after regulator Ofgem said the average annual household bill could rise from £1,971 to £3,549.
However, the consumer group Which? suggested a number of tips to help households cope, including simple tricks with appliances that could make a difference.
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Here’s what the experts advise:
Reduce washing machine costs
The average cost of running a washing machine per year will rise from just over £63 to over £117 under the new energy price cap. Who? suggests cutting costs by waiting to fill the machine to around 80% capacity, rather than repeatedly washing smaller loads.
If the clothes are not stained, consider washing at 30°C, as this will reduce energy consumption by 38% on average compared to washing at 40°C, while washing at 20°C will consume 62 % less energy.
Reduce dryer costs
The calculations of Which? revealed that the cost of an average heat pump dryer will rise from £56 to £104 a year, while condenser dryers require more energy, and the cost will rise from £140 to £260 per year after a new price cap comes into effect.
The easiest way to save money is to reconsider how to dry laundry efficiently, for example by hanging laundry outside on a clothesline or on a drying rack. However, be aware of dampness and mold that can be caused by frequent drying of laundry indoors and be sure to open windows.
Use your dishwasher correctly to save money
The average annual running cost of a full-size dishwasher will drop from £83 to £153, and for a slim model it will cost £136, down from £73.
Who? suggests making sure the dishwasher isn’t overfilled or underfilled, washing full loads instead of running it for a few items, and running it on an eco-friendly mode. Although hand washing may seem like a cheaper option, hand washing uses more water than a dishwasher.
Average built-in fridge-freezers currently cost around £73 a year and that will rise to £136 in October. However, the US models cost between £84 and £120 to operate, which will rise to £155 and £222 per year.
To make sure your fridge-freezer is running as efficiently as possible, which one? suggest cleaning the condenser coils at the back as dust on the coils can prevent the refrigerator from cooling properly.
If you have damaged door seals, it’s important to replace them so cold air can’t escape and make sure food is thoroughly chilled before refrigerating.
A built-in electric oven costs £66 a year to operate, which will rise to £122 after the price cap rises, while a single gas oven costs £20 and will rise to £43.
Costs can be cut by cooking larger quantities of food at once and eating it as meals spread out over the week, rather than running the oven every day. You can thaw frozen foods in the fridge ahead of time so your oven doesn’t have to work as hard to cook them. Which one? said.
Small items such as air fryers or combination microwave ovens can be more cost effective than ovens for cooking small items.
Install central heating controls
Smart heating controls can lower your bills and improve your comfort by making better use of the heating energy you pay for. Who? estimates that an average-sized household could save at least £100 a year by using smart controls and could reduce a home’s carbon emissions by 320kg a year.
When using a smart thermostat, which one? recommends using zone heating controls with radiator valves to vary the heating and schedule of different rooms.
Emily Seymour, Which one? energy editor, said: “Huge rises in energy bills are a real cause for concern for millions of households across the country, especially when many are already feeling the pressures of the energy cost crisis. life.”
Find out if you could get energy subsidies
The Warm Home Discount is available to retirees and those with certain benefits. It is £140, but drops to £150 in October 2022.
People born before 26 September 1955 can claim a winter fuel payment of £100 to £300 each winter and energy companies also have their own hardship funds.