The pandemic has resulted in many of us either working from home, or spending a lot more time in the house due to furlough. While this has helped to ease outgoing costs for travel and your morning Starbucks, it does mean that many homeowners have found other expenses creeping up. Your home energy bills will be having the biggest hit while working from home, as you are more likely to turn the heating up during the day, use your work computer and keep the lights on. This will result in more energy usage, which will inevitably mean that your energy bills start to soar, heightening an already stressful situation. However, there are a few ways in which you can lower your working from home energy bills, which will be particularly beneficial as the temperature begins to drop.
Working From Home Energy Bills: All You Need To Know
Having already spent six months working at our makeshift desks, you may have already seen an increase in your energy consumption and bills. However, we have been lucky enough this year to experience a warm British summer, which only means that your energy bill will skyrocket as soon as you have to start turning on the heating. As Boris Johnson continues to announce new regulations and changes to the way we work, it is likely that we will continue to work from home for around six more months, meaning that it is important to find ways to make sure that we prevent our energy bills from getting out of hand.
There are few schemes that have been put in place by the government as well as companies to help support workers while working from home. For example, some businesses are choosing to offer a small monthly energy cost to their employers. However, from whether you get support to how you can save money, there are a lot of questions that need answering. So, here we have the most common questions related to energy bills while working from home:
- What Are The Effects of Working From Home?
- What Is The Governments Tax Relief?
- How Can I Lower My Energy Bills?
The first question that springs to mind when thinking about working from home, is how this is going to effect your monthly outgoings. This can be a big concern for many homeowners that work on the basis that their outgoings are roughly the same each month. As already mentioned, the biggest impact that it will have on your outgoings is the cost of your energy bills. As you now have to use your computer, work phones and even your lighting more than you usually would, it means that your electricity is running throughout the day, rather than in the morning and evening after work. Another factor is your heating, as you are more likely to turn the heating up to stay warm while working.
These factors can have a significant impact on your monthly energy bills, and in many cases, it can be almost impossible to lower your energy consumption when having to work on your electrical appliances all day. In fact, This is Money claims that working from home will see households paying a further £107 on their energy bills during the winter months due to working from home. This is, unfortunately, something that you cannot prevent, but there are a few solutions that we will come on to later to help you reduce your energy bills by thinking smarter.
During the pandemic, the government have released multiple schemes to help employees and employers. For example, the furlough scheme, while disheartening for many to take a pay reduction, has helped many businesses stay afloat, which reduces the likelihood of redundancy. Another scheme that Martin Lewis pointed out during his BBC lockdown talks is that the government has a tax relief scheme that allows employees to claim up to £6 a week for their energy bills. While this may not be enough to cover the bills of working from home, it can take off the pressure when it comes to the end of the month.
The way this works is that you can claim a percentage of £6 based on your basic rate of tax; so if you currently pay a basic rate of 20% you will get £1.20 a week in tax relief. This relief is only accessible to those claiming due to working from home, and you can claim by heading over to the government website and filling in your details. On the site, you can also find further information for tax relief on other working from home expenses such as buying equipment for work use. For further advice and guidance on how you can claim for this benefit and why you should, take a look at the tips over on MoneySavingExpert.
Whether you are taking the tax relief or not, it is still important to incorporate techniques that can help you to save money on your energy bills, especially as the colder days start creeping in. While some of these solutions may require you to spend a bit of money and invest in your home, they will inevitably save you a large sum of money during the next few months while working from home. Some of the solutions that you should consider include the following:
Switch Energy Providers
In some cases, your energy provider may be charging you premium rates for a service that you can get elsewhere at a fraction of the price. There is no better time to switch your energy provider then now, and you could be saving more than the tax relief would give you. When switching to Ampower as your provider, you could save up to a massive £250 throughout the year; money that could be spent on home improvements or an extra Christmas present.
Through switching to Ampower, you can design home energy plans and home gas plans that suit you, meaning that you can find the best solution to maximise on your savings. Our team are always here to help you tailor your plans, and are more than happy to provide guidance and expert advice on how you can continue to lower your energy bills throughout the year. Additionally to this, Ampower uses green energy to run your home, making your solution both cost-effective and environmentally friendly! Speak with the team today about designing your home electricity and gas plans.
Change Your Appliances
As your appliances grow old, not only do they become less efficient, but they also consume a lot of energy to run. From your dishwasher to your kettle, it is important to make sure that every appliance in your home functions to their best ability so that you can make the most out of your products. We would highly recommend looking for products that are Energy Star approved, as this means that the appliance runs on less energy to lower your bills while also protecting our planet. Mother Earth Living has pieced together a handy article on a guide to the best energy-efficient appliances to help you run a more economical home.
Check Your Boiler
New and advanced boilers can help you to save on energy due to their technology and internal systems, so if your boiler has not been changed in a really long time, then it may be wise to think about replacement. Which? has a list of the best boilers to buy, from heat only boilers to system boilers. On the other hand, if you don’t want to replace your boiler, then you may need to think about a service or repairs. If you find that your heating is racking up the energy bill despite having a good home plan and lowering your consumption, then it may be a sign your boiler is not as efficient anymore.
Always ask for a professional boiler to inspect your systems, as there may be something wrong with the internal systems or pipework that can be fixed quickly. If you are unsure on what issues you are looking out for, then Boiler Guide has a handy article that we would recommend taking a look at.
Invest In Double Glazing
One of the more expensive investments that you can make on your home, but certainly one of the most worthwhile, is to have double glazing installed. Double glazing comes with a host of benefits, from improving your insulation qualities to reducing noise pollution and increasing security. You can install double glazing on your windows using materials such as uPVC that enhance the insulation qualities at a fairly reasonable price.
Lower Your Consumption
Although your energy consumption will be higher due to working from home, there are a few solutions that can help you to lower your energy consumption, such as turning lights off as you exit a room. Other solutions for lowering your consumption include the following:
- Turn appliances off stand-by
- Take shorter showers
- Turn your heating down by one degree
- Only heat up the rooms you are using
Lower Your Energy Bills Today!
It can be extremely frustrating when you think you’ll be saving money on travel, just to be lumbered with expensive energy bills. Unfortunately, this is going to be the case for many during the next six months. However, there are a few solutions that can help you to save as much money as possible despite increasing your consumption. Always look into ways that you can save money, whether that be through the tax relief scheme or by changing energy providers. You can also find a host of other tips on saving money during the lockdown on our previous article.