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Energy Usage Double the 'Average' Am I missing something?

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Like everyone I've started paying more attention to our energy usage and was disturbed by the results. I downloaded our usage (based on actual readings over last 2 years) and it showed Electricity usage pa of 8,600 kwh and gas at 28,000 kwh per year! That's around double the 'average' for a 4-bed house. Based on that Scottish Power have upped our monthly DD to £516. I've always been relatively careful with energy - moreso since Feb this year - but feel like I must be missing something surely (hopefully)?   

Some details that might help:
Family of 5 in a 4-bed victorian semi-detached with (as near as we can tell) not great wall/roof insulation but double-glazed upvc windows and doors. 4th bedroom is in the loft so don't know what insulation there is in the ceiling there
10-15 year old gas condensing boiler for central heating and an ancient cylinder which heats up for 3 hours a day for our youngest's bath every day and washing up etc
Electric shower in main bathroom that is used for 4 showers a day (2 adults + 2 teenagers)
Run the central heating at 20-21 degrees for 2 hours in morning and 4 hours in evening during winter and colder Autumn/Spring days
2 modestly sized fridge freezers - the kitchen only fitted one that was too small for us so put another one in a back cupboard during lockdown
We both work from home so computers etc on during the day and portable electric heaters for each of our offices in the winter. 
Electric oven which is used most days for dinner (not roasts a lot etc but...normal dinners) 

All that sounds like a lot when you write it but would that be enough to explain twice average? Or is there something obvious that I'm missing that we can do something about. I know properly insulating etc would be worth looking at but we rent so aren't in a position to invest anything in it. And the landlord isn't that bothered.    

Any insights greatly appreciated, thanks. 
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  • Miser1964
    Miser1964 Posts: 283 Forumite
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    edited 31 October 2022 at 5:20PM
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    >would that be enough to explain twice average<

    I'd say so, yes. In fact, I'm surprised it's not more!

    When you say 'electric shower', I hope you mean an electric pumped shower that's drawing HW from the cylinder and not an instant heater shower that is using electricity to heat the water? 

    >
    We both work from home <

    I trust you'll be claiming all tax offsets for heating, electric, internet etc?
  • Aylesbury_Duck
    Aylesbury_Duck Posts: 14,180 Forumite
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    edited 31 October 2022 at 5:22PM
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    The culprits will be (in no particular order):

    3 hours of water heating for washing up and one child's bath - that sounds excessive.
    Electric showers are thirsty, especially if four adults are showering every day for reasonable times.  Cut the time they're used, preferably having what's called a "navy shower".  Can you use a shower attachment on the taps, especially if you're heating a whole cylinder of water anyway?
    Turn the heating down. 19C is probably entirely comfortable, maybe 18C?  Experiment by bringing it down a degree at a time.
    Cut back on the heating times.  Does it need 2 hours in the morning if it's just a question of being warm enough to wake up, get ready and leave the house?
    Portable electric heaters.  Get heated throws instead.  Heat the person, not the room.

    I'd have thought you could make some significant reductions in those areas

  • EssexHebridean
    EssexHebridean Posts: 21,482 Forumite
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    edited 31 October 2022 at 5:22PM
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    sniffydog said:
    Like everyone I've started paying more attention to our energy usage and was disturbed by the results. I downloaded our usage (based on actual readings over last 2 years) and it showed Electricity usage pa of 8,600 kwh and gas at 28,000 kwh per year! That's around double the 'average' for a 4-bed house. Based on that Scottish Power have upped our monthly DD to £516. I've always been relatively careful with energy - moreso since Feb this year - but feel like I must be missing something surely (hopefully)?   

    Some details that might help:
    Family of 5 in a 4-bed victorian semi-detached with (as near as we can tell) not great wall/roof insulation but double-glazed upvc windows and doors. 4th bedroom is in the loft so don't know what insulation there is in the ceiling there
    10-15 year old gas condensing boiler for central heating and an ancient cylinder which heats up for 3 hours a day for our youngest's bath every day and washing up etc
    Electric shower in main bathroom that is used for 4 showers a day (2 adults + 2 teenagers)
    Run the central heating at 20-21 degrees for 2 hours in morning and 4 hours in evening during winter and colder Autumn/Spring days
    2 modestly sized fridge freezers - the kitchen only fitted one that was too small for us so put another one in a back cupboard during lockdown
    We both work from home so computers etc on during the day and portable electric heaters for each of our offices in the winter. 
    Electric oven which is used most days for dinner (not roasts a lot etc but...normal dinners) 

    All that sounds like a lot when you write it but would that be enough to explain twice average? Or is there something obvious that I'm missing that we can do something about. I know properly insulating etc would be worth looking at but we rent so aren't in a position to invest anything in it. And the landlord isn't that bothered.    

    Any insights greatly appreciated, thanks. 
    The bits in bold are likely to be your energy hogs - or at least the obvious ones. 
    - Does the youngest child need a full bath on a daily basis? Does the immersion heater really need a full three hours to bring the water to the right temperature for a child's bath?
    - Electric showers are power hungry - acquire a shower-timer and get everyone to use it! 
    - This is a very warm temperature? Does everyone start putting on jumpers, snuggly PJ trousers, socks, slippers etc before you decide it's cold enough for the heating or are there shorts and short sleeves being worn? 
    - Why do you use these rather than just running the GSH at a lower temperature? it's almost certainly costing you more as these sort of heaters are about the most power-hungry way of heating your home if you have a gas alternative!

    That's definitely some starting points for you - because yes, your use IS very high. I've not done the maths but that level of DD that has now been set doesn't surprise me much with figures like those. 

    I think you need to revise your view that you're careful with energy I'm afraid!  It sounds like your house construction & type doesn't help, and realistically you are likely to still be over the "typical use" figures as you're a bigger household than that "typical" figure is based on. 

    For perspective, you're not just twice the "typical" - you're more than twice for gas, and nearly 3 times for electricity. 
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  • Makingabobor2
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    Don't know how old your youngest is, but could they not have a shower instead of a bath. We used to have our hot water on 2hrs in morning and 2 hours in evening until I worked out that was a waste of money. I now only put it on if we need it, so half an hour in the morning, is enough for a shower...which comes off the hot water tank. If there is no hot water for washing up, then I boil a kettle. OH used to have a bath once a week and a shower every day. Now he has no baths and only showers alternate days, same as me.  I am pretty sure we are saving quite a bit there, as like you we have an old boiler and pump and not very cost effective. 
    Also I think 19c would be adequate for room heating. 
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  • Alnat1
    Alnat1 Posts: 3,338 Forumite
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    3 hours to heat a tank for 1 bath is a bit extreme. Electric heaters guzzle energy, as do electric showers. As a rule, teenagers can guzzle energy too, they have multiple devices in their bedrooms, gaming pc, TV, laptop, sky boxes, all on at the same time and left on overnight.

    Yes, I think you probably are using all that gas and electricity.
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  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 10,529 Forumite
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    Biggest thing with us is that last winter aged MiL was living with us and had electric heating on plus we had the central (gas) heating on for about 4 hours in the morning and 6 in the evening.  Net result was MiL was toasty warm and we were baking hot and had to have windows open in order to breathe. (yes counter productive). 

    Now there's no MiL so electric heat has been discarded and heat is on for about 30 minutes in the morning (just to warm/dry the towels) and about 2 in the evening.  Because the whole house isn't baking we don't have the windows open.  

    I think for us it's the windows being closed that is having the biggest impact.  It's this sort of thing that adds to the overall bill.  You may discover there are other savings you could make - not standing in front of an open fridge freezer, air drying rather than using a dryer often, pan cook rather than oven roast or max what is in the oven when it is on and nuke it in the microwave when required.  Might not apply but I see a lot of people who smoke that aren't allowed to do so in their house so stand outside the open front door to have their puff - and all the heat will be heading straight out.
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  • dunstonh
    dunstonh Posts: 116,696 Forumite
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    nd it showed Electricity usage pa of 8,600 kwh and gas at 28,000 kwh per year! That's around double the 'average' for a 4-bed house.
    Average means people will be either side of it.

    Electric shower in main bathroom that is used for 4 showers a day (2 adults + 2 teenagers)
    Electric as in heated by electric or just power shower only? (former is expensive, latter is not).  Having a hot water cylinder is unusual to have electric showers as well.

    2 modestly sized fridge freezers - the kitchen only fitted one that was too small for us so put another one in a back cupboard during lockdown
    These will be power hungry.  Modern energy efficient ones can use much less but older or cheaper ones can use multiple kWh per day each.

    We both work from home so computers etc on during the day and portable electric heaters for each of our offices in the winter. 
    Portable heaters are likely to eat electric.  Computers can draw a lot in standby.   Some can draw significant amounts when in use.  Others can draw little amounts.

    Electric oven which is used most days for dinner (not roasts a lot etc but...normal dinners) 
    Not a lot you can do about it but it will be amongst your heavier uses.


    All that sounds like a lot when you write it but would that be enough to explain twice average? 
    Potentially yes as you have some big hitters in there.   You dont say if those big hitters are energy efficient or not.  You also make no reference to tumble drier (one of the biggest uses), dishwasher (another big one unless used on eco), home computer/PS etc for kids (they can be power hungry)


    You need to invest in a TAPO 110 (or multiple).   It is worth it.  We dropped 10kWh per day from our use once I knew what the culprits were.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • sniffydog
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    Thank you for all the responses. We do run a dishwasher daily but don't have a tumble drier. Unfortunately yes the electric shower is one that heats the water. Otherwise it would empty the small cylinder in minutes. The big appliances aren't particularly new or efficient as they came with the house. I've already turned the thermostat down to 19 (with much complaining from everyone), insulated the cylinder better etc  But some things that we can do - shorter showers, run the hot water cylinder for less, layer up and use the electric heaters less in the day.  Thanks! 
  • ariarnia
    ariarnia Posts: 4,225 Forumite
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    given the price of energy and the price of appliances if you can work out your worst energy users then you might find a replacement pays for itself within a couple of years. 
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  • Vegastare
    Vegastare Posts: 998 Forumite
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    Brie said:
    Biggest thing with us is that last winter aged MiL was living with us and had electric heating on plus we had the central (gas) heating on for about 4 hours in the morning and 6 in the evening.  Net result was MiL was toasty warm and we were baking hot and had to have windows open in order to breathe. (yes counter productive). 

    Now there's no MiL so electric heat has been discarded and heat is on for about 30 minutes in the morning (just to warm/dry the towels) and about 2 in the evening.  Because the whole house isn't baking we don't have the windows open.  


    Brie this made me long for Xmas - DH always has it roasting when MIL comes, I end up thinking I've been in oven with the turkey.  Will be interesting to see if same thing happens with heating costs this year!

    I was at a Utility Fair few years back and there was this sign on one stand which said something like - if it heats it eats...
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