How to reduce energy bills in a student flat

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Long gone are the times when most students lived in halls at the University campus.

As higher education becomes more and more accessible, the majority of young people live in rented flats or rooms, only spending the first year - if that - in halls.

And being a student nowadays is often associated with the necessity to cut costs, as life becomes more expensive each year and utility bills grow in an uncontrolled way.

However, there are ways to reduce energy bills when living in a student flat. By following these tips, it is possible to save money, which can be then spent on much more pleasant things (namely booze).

1. Compare prices and look for special offers and deals

Many energy providers offer competitive tariff options and sometimes the difference between them can be huge. It is advisable to contact all electricity companies in the neighbourhood and compare their service plans. Doing so can reduce expenses by a significant percentage. What is more, signing a long-term contract will usually include discounts and offer a better price. Some of the new players on the market will also offer special deals to attract new customers.

2. Use energy saving bulbs

One can limit energy consumption not only by switching off the light, but also by using energy saving bulbs. Although the initial expense is much higher, their lifespan and day-to-day power expenditure counterbalances the cost in a long-term. It is possible to save even more than 100 GBP per bulb.

3. Don't fall asleep with the lights on

Young people tend to be forgetful about basic things like turning off the light when they leave the room. Students should remember that almost a quarter of their energy bills comes from the light bulbs they use. It is easy to reduce this amount by simply switching the light off when it is not necessary.

4. Don't leave electronic devices on stand-by

One of the biggest money-draining holes is leaving computers, video players and TVs on stand-by while not using them. Even though theoretically those devices are turned off, in fact they still consume power. In order to cut the energy costs, it is advisable to switch off all electronic devices completely when not in use and turn them on only when needed. The same applies to chargers – keep them unplugged until you actually use them.

5. Use heating wisely

Most people overheat their homes, sometimes allowing the temperature to rise to as high as 25 degrees. In the past, the phrase room temperature meant about 15 degrees. Such conditions may seem extreme nowadays, but by reducing heating power just a little and wearing a cosy sweater at home, it is possible to lower the bills significantly. Remember not to air the rooms in winter with the radiators on – they consume much more energy then.

6. Insulate the house

Although modern houses are usually well insulated, some students rent flats in old tenements, where the heat escapes through draughty windows and thin walls. It might be a good idea to ask the landlord to invest a bit in proper insulation and double glazing. Currently, it is also possible to get free insulation, as many energy providers offer it without any cost due to governmental regulations.

7. Go outside

Finally, a simple, though very important suggestion for all students. As many of us tend to spend time in front of their favourite game console or computer, surfing the Internet or just doing nothing and killing time. There are plenty of activities in the outside world, ranging from sport associations to hobby clubs and discussion circles. Many of them are free. It is good to turn off the modern machinery and go out, meet people, have a walk in the park. That will benefit both the home budget and health.

About the author: Thomas Brella

Thomas Brella is the founder of Student Hacks, starting the website in 2013 while studying at the University of Brighton to share tips and tricks on life as a cash-strapped student. He's now spent over 10 years scoping out the best ways to live on a budget

More on: Living Money
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