We pay a lot of money to keep our homes running. From the cost of insurance, to council tax, to putting food in the fridge for the family to feast on. With so much to pay out for, there are equally lots of opportunities to lower the amount that we pay. How much are you potentially overpaying for heating your home? Where can you cut the cost of your bills? What actually is the average gas bill and what ways can you easily lower your monthly payments? Let's have a look and hopefully slash the amount of cash you're shelling out.
What do we use gas for in the home?
Not everyone has a gas pipe coming into their homes. There are, in fact, some places in the country which don't have gas lines at all. In that case you'd be more reliant on electricity, oil and even green energy like solar and wind. There are lots of us who use gas in our homes and we use it for a number of things. Not only for gas central heating, but for cooking, both on the hob and in the oven. Some AGA cookers have to be kept on all the time, powered by gas.
Then there's heating water for washing. Imagine not having some hot water coming through for your morning shower or bathing the kids. You might also have a gas fire, a gas tumble drier or perhaps even gas-powered air conditioning units. So, you can see, there is lots that gas can potentially power in our homes. With the cost of gas generally increasing year on year, what is the average gas bill that people in are paying? How can you lower the amount of gas you're using and the amount of cash you're paying?
What is the average gas bill?
As mentioned above, the amount that we're generally paying year on year for gas, is increasing. The average gas bill isn't just made up of the amount of gas that you use, it has a number of factors which combine to your final figure. This includes the whole costs, the distribution costs as well as operation costs, paying into government schemes, the VAT and the profit for the supplier. The average gas bill at the moment is over £600 at around £612.
You could be paying more if you have a larger home with gas central heating where you spend more of your time. Or maybe less if you have a flat with less rooms and you work from an office five days a week. You might be shocked by the amount we pay for gas throughout the year and want to find ways to lower your bills. Everyone would like some more cash in their bank account to enjoy life with or pop into their savings, rather than paying bills. Let's find some ways to cut the price you pay!
How can you save money on your gas bill?
Firstly, you need to look at who is supplying your gas. Different energy companies have different prices. Even within those companies they have varying tariffs which will give you a range of altering figures. If you have moved into a new house, you might be on a more expensive tariff from a supplier who generally charges more. You need to look at the unit price, which is the price you're paying per unit of gas, worked out in kilowatt hours (kWh). You will also have a daily fee which is called a standing charge.
This is the payment to your energy supplier, because it gives you access to energy. So you might have a high standing charge and a lower unit price, or the other way round. They could both be expensive or if you're lucky, you might find a supplier with a low rate across both. This is the first thing you need to do, find a supplier you're happy with the prices of, which will hopefully save you some cash.
There might be energy companies you've never heard of with deals that you quite fancy signing up to. Don't be put off by new names that you perhaps haven't heard of. Generally new companies will offer good deals to get customer on board. If you worry about them going bust and it affecting your service, don't be. If the worse was to happen you would simply be moved to a new company and then be able to switch again should you wish.
Generally the ‘big six' companies are more expensive but if you do want to go with a company you've heard of, be sure you speak to them and ensure you're on their best tariff. Don't forget, if you sign up for a 12 or 18 month offer, at the end of that you'll revert to the standard tariff, which will just mean you will likely pay more than you need to. Make notes of dates when tariffs run out and keep on top of your switching. This will help you to keep your payments lower than the average gas bill.
Don't forget to check the reviews of the company you're moving to. Reviews from previous customers are worth their way in gold as they give you actual information about a service, from someone who has used said service. If the customer care team is generally poor, you might not want to go with them as you might not think it's worth the risk having to deal with terrible customer service should something happen.
Use a thermostat to keep control of your heating. If you're not in during the day, don't heat a house that is empty! Program your thermostat to switch on the heating half an hour before you usually get home so it'll be nice and warm when you step in out the cold. Consider lowering the temperature too. Put a jumper on and drop it down a degree and you'll save cash! Make use of radiator values to control the temperature of individual radiators through your home. There's little point in heating a spare bedroom which is barely used to the save temperature as your living room! Use lids on pans so you don't need to use as much gas to cook with. There are lots of ways to save both gas and cash!
Other ways to save money at home.
Your average gas bill isn't the only thing we pay for, as we've mentioned. There are lots of other ways to save money around the home too. From ensuring you don't have drafts around windows and doors to switching off lights when not in use. Dry your clothes outside on a washing line, rather than using a tumble drier. By jumping out the shower a minute sooner will add up to a decent amount of savings throughout the year! Lots of little savings will make a positive impact on your gas consumption and the amount your pay. Start saving money today and be sure you're paying less than the average gas bill. Don't forget about your electricity bill too!