How was your month?

First of all, I want to say a big thanks to you lot in here. The amount of help and info I've picked up has made this period a lot less stressful than it could be.

So the thread is basically a month end tally. Why not start at October as it's likely a month of habit change for plenty of households i.e. the CH has probably started kicking in.
I've just updated my little spreadsheet and thankfully we've beaten the placeholder amounts I had for Oct for both elec and gas. See below, my full year to date (lighter boxes are predictions for remaining months).

Specifics - 1970s 4 bed semi, 2 adults + 2 kids (<7yrs), south east.

As you can see we started changing gas habits in May, we were heating the water cylinder way too much - boiler and cylinder new as of Feb. We're yet to turn the CH back on thankfully. Also for elec, in late Aug I had a bit of a sweep of the house and found an annoying amount standby devices and unused multi adapters just chugging away connected to active wall switches. The TVs and Virgin box now go off at the wall at night too. Looks like a consistent ~50kwh per month saved from that. I haven't gone as far as getting a Tapo plug thingy, I think we're about where we can expect to be and I'm happy with the progress. I'm actually surprised our Oct electricity figure isn't higher as the condenser dryer has definitely been put to use in the last couple of weeks., which has raised "discussions".

BG's estimate for our annual use is gas 7705 and elec 4629 so there's been added incentive to keep track of this to shove back at them once I have a full year of data.

Anyway, I've yammered on enough. How was the last month for you? Are you keeping track to goals/expectations? How are you feeling about the months ahead?



  • Remarkably positive here - heating is still off aside from the heated towel rail in the bathroom as we have reached the stage where trying to dry two towels in the mornings without anything to assist is becoming tricky. The bathroom does also tend to get cold before the rest of the property so the towel rail taking the edge off (at a grand cost of around 5p a night) is a good solution. For similar reasons I expect the dryer part of our washer dryer to be used a couple of times a month going forwards too - even if just for 30 minutes for towels and bedding to take the worst of the moisture out. 

    A tapo plug has been purchased and is currently controlling said towel rail - I'll be putting it onto the dehumidifier at some state this week to see the power draw from that - then some sums can be done around that as well. I think November spending will also be budgeting for another of those as it is proving incredibly useful as a smart timer as well as for energy monitoring. 

    Our biggest win during October was unquestionably the switch to Octopus though - cheaper prices (for us) for a start, plus having finally removed the tedious need to deal with EDF - a bonus all round! Now we just have to hope that they continue to be reasonably priced for our needs once the EPG ends in April. 

    At the moment the coldest the front room has reached is 18.4 degrees when I got home yesterday - but that was after a day when the front door had been open for much of the day due to the chap being in and out while fitting our new flooring in the hallway. The flooring in itself will improve things long term too as for the past year we've had the old Marley tiles (laid directly onto our concrete floor when the property was built)  with nothing on top of them - the new bamboo flooring has a thermal underlay but clearly just the extra layer itself will be a help.  We are now at the stage of "let's just see how much longer we can go without the heating being needed" - from experience I know that consistent low-18's will probably see us switching at least some heating on though. 
    🎉 MORTGAGE FREE (First time!) 30/09/2016 🎉 And now we go again…New mortgage taken 01/09/23 🏡
    Balance as at 01/09/23 = £115,000.00
    Balance as at 31/12/23 = £112,000.00
    SOA CALCULATOR (for DFW newbies): SOA Calculator
  • 3 bed detached bungalow - south with gas central heating.  Most of the year 2 adults, from mid Oct 3 adults with 2 children 3 days a week.

    I, too, have been on an energy saving crusade and was doing really well until the middle of this month when our living arrangements changed due to a change in my younger childs circumstances. I was doing the usual savings things such as turning off our 2nd fridge freezer, using eco programmes on the washing machine, batch cooking, wearing extra layers etc.

    We had a new boiler fitted last January, and a log burner installed in the summer.  Eon estimate for annual gas usage is 11,631 kWh.  At the end of Oct we were at 4608 kWh. New boiler and log burner doing their jobs although it will take a few years to recoup capital spend.

    I was doing well on electric, reducing our daily usage from around 11-12 kWh to 7-8 kWh which was as low as my other half was comfortable with (has aquarium, trickle charges motorbike batteries over the winter, watches lots of sport on TV etc.).  However, now that we have more people in the house this has increased to 9-11 kWh due to extra washing, showers, more TVs on (only so much Peppa Pig I can bear on the main TV :)....The extra heat generated by 3 extra bodies does not quite compensate for the energy used, unfortunately.  Eon estimate for annual electric usage is 4216 kWh.  At end of Oct we were at 2768 kWh so a small decrease predicted rather than the larger one I had anticipated.

    A mild October has helped keep the usage down this month, so I have a good credit balance going into the winter, so I am not too concerned this year and will need to be more generous with the heating when the children are in the house as they are quite small still.  I also have 2 cubic metres of seasoned ash logs filling my summer house which I got quite a good deal on.

    My thoughts are with those who are really worrying about the winter heating bills and I am really grateful for all the hints and tips provided by this forum. I am glad that we started to cut down at the beginning of the year as it now feels like a way of life to save energy where possible and is much better environmentally.

    Next savings measure is to use the main oven less and I am already dropping subtle (and not so subtle) hints asking for an air fryer for Xmas!

    Keep up the good work Muckchucker..... 

  • 4 bed detached, lived here for 5 years, and annual gas usage has ranged from 30,000kwh - 25,000kwh.

    Over last 5 years our Oct daily average has been 67kwh but this year our Oct usage has averaged 30kwh.

    Reduced thermostat temp from 20/21c to 18c.

    The real test will start in the coming weeks when temps dip to their usual averages but the warm Oct must have been a real blessing for hard up families.
  • Raxiel
    Raxiel Posts: 1,401 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Photogenic
    Compared to last October our electric use is down from 282.3 to 181.9, so down by 1/3. We were already on track to beat last year, but the addition of our solar panels widened the gap for the last 10 days of the month. We've gone from averaging 10kWh a day  over the last couple of years to 6.5kWh a day in Sept-Early Oct. to now 4.5kWh a day (with extra tumble dryer loads during the wet weather) although expect that to creep back towards 6 over winter.

    For the Gas, I know a lot of folks have been talking about how warm this October has been and describing t-shirt and shorts weather. Well, it's certainly not felt like that to me here on the edge of the Peak district, and I have had to put the heating on.
    Still, we're down from 742kWh of gas last October, to 369kWh this year, so slightly better than half. A big chunk of that I'm attributing to internal wall insulation installed over the summer, although we've reduced hot water usage quite a lot too.

    We have small children in the house and I work from home 4 days a week, so the house is maintained at 18-19°C.
    Will have to see how the weather goes. Last November we averaged 40kWh a day in gas so as long as I beat that I'll be happy.
    3.6 kW PV in the Midlands - 9x Sharp 400W black panels - 6x facing SE and 3x facing SW, Solaredge Optimisers and Inverter. 400W Derril Water (one day). Octopus Flux
  • @Dizee123 thanks, you raised a couple of good points that I overlooked.

    We actually got a log burner in also, only about 2 months ago. This was always part of our plans (we both hated the gas fire that came with the house, used twice in 5 years) and we'd saved a separate pot for it so I don't have it factored into our cost saving ideas/plan. The current price rises, including labour and materials just helped us make the decision quicker. We've only used it half a dozen times and for me it makes the place uncomfortably hot but herself likes it so I'll keep shtum on this one - better than the big old hole in the living room that made way for it.

    Also we've already reduced oven use. It's only new but it's slightly bigger than most, heats up impressively quickly and we love it but the big red line it causes on the Bright app hurts my feelings. We've had an air-fryer since 2015 (mainly for kids stuff, chips etc.) and only now we've started to get adventurous with it i.e. chicken breasts, salmon, pasties etc. Results are impressive for both quality and energy savings.

    @Ballymoney impressive gas reduction and fully agreed that it's the next few weeks will tell a lot. Our is currently at 17c, basically to ensure it doesn't fire up. I think a few cold mornings in the near future may prompt it to be knocked to it's standard 18-18.5. 
    Also interesting username, I occasionally visited a town of the same name in my younger years back home.
  • We are using 14 kwh electricity per day (October).  Detached house, two retired adults.  We pay £123 a month.  I fixed in April 2022 until June 2023 so very fortunate.  Relatively new condensing gas boiler.  Gas consumption is very low - 10 units a month.  Gas hob.

    We do have two fridges and two freezers and the caravan is permanently plugged in to household electricity, although nothing actually "on" in the caravan - think I will remove leisure battery and trickle charge.

    Hardly ever use oven or grill.  Instead, using air fryer and worktop halogen oven (both of which purchased long before energy crisis).
    Cut down shower use - maybe 4 showers per week in total (gas)
    Occasionally have a bath - I know, a luxury!
    Started using dishwasher once a day so not washing up three times per day.
    Hot water temperature is quite low.
    Using cold water to rinse pots, plates etc and wash hands - used to automatically use hot tap.
    Measuring water into kettle to boil
    Stopped leaving phones on overnight to charge
    Nothing on standby
    two laptops - on permanently, but sleep mode after few minutes
    One TV and humax box
    Iron once a fortnight
    toaster occasional use
    Haven't started using halogen heaters yet (one in kitchen and one in bathroom)

    The large freezer is A+ rating, the other is probably 20 years old so I am sure is not very efficient.  I am thinking of turning one of the fridges off as it stores wine.  The larder fridge is at least 15 years old I am reluctant to replace it as it still works.  I did go and look at larder fridges last week - the suitable ones were a poor efficiency D or E rating.

    We don't use GCH in fact we stopped using it regularly when we retired as we knew the bills would go up.  We have a wood burning stove.  I haven't had a fire yet although will probably start this month as it is now getting colder.  Try not to light it until 4pm, unless really cold when it will be lit after lunch.

    Try to do regular activities which keep us out of the house!

    I've just submitted a reading and we are £183 in credit but as we will start using the halogen heaters soon, we will use more electricity.

    One issue we have which is when the wood burning stove is going, even on low it gets very hot!  I had to remove the fan from the top of the stove as it got too hot in there.  Anyone got any tips?  

    We sometimes use coal (the smokeless type), that doesn't get so hot as log fires but it works out more expensive than logs.

    I still think we are using a lot of electricity per day.  Smart meter dormant which is frustrating, waiting for upgrade which is like waiting for Godot ....

  • dunstonh
    dunstonh Posts: 116,323 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    I am on oil. So measuring use is not as easy.   However, we have a sonar meter which displays 10 bars.  October has been very mild, and unusually, there hasn't been a single bar drop.     The woodburners have taken up most of the slack with the heating only really giving a small boost for waking up and going to bed.   Hot water doesn't burn much oil.

    Electricity has skyrocketed.  However, that's because I turned the AGA on.  37kWh a day for that.  I turned it on a month later than normal, but the EPG means I can run it thanks to the taxpayer subsidy.   Currently running at 6-8kWh per day (excluding the AGA) thanks to changes made a few months back. 
    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.
  • Dizee123
    Dizee123 Posts: 87 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post
    I too would welcome any tips on how to stop the log burner getting too hot.  As ours is very new I had a few small fires to 'harden it off and remove the smell'.  Ours is only a 4kW burner as used for secondary heat and didn't want to risk the house falling down by opening up the chimney too much to fit a bigger one.  Therefore, it is not really possible to overload it, but even the 2-3 logs that it will take can give off a lot of heat when it is up to temperature and reducing it down to one log maintains it at a high temp also.  At the moment we just open the lounge door and let the heat out into the hallway and bedrooms as don't have an upstairs for it to escape to. 

    Over this first full winter I need to experiment with different types, amounts of wood, airflow slider, time on etc. to see how to control the heat a little better.  However, the colder temperatures might mean that the problem solves itself and it is adequate for the room.

    All tips gratefully received.

  • dunstonh
    dunstonh Posts: 116,323 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    edited 1 November 2022 at 8:15PM
    Therefore, it is not really possible to overload it, but even the 2-3 logs that it will take can give off a lot of heat when it is up to temperature and reducing it down to one log maintains it at a high temp also.
    We have three 8kW burners and once the burners are fired up, we only maintain 1 log at a time in the burner.  If you keep putting on multiple logs you will end up hotter and you will burn through more wood than is necessary.

    Ideally, a perfect burn is where the flame is very slow in movement and you can get secondary burns with the gases.  It slows the burn of the wood down and saves you money whilst generating just the right level of heat for the wood.   To get that you need to reduce the air down as much as possible but not too much that it puts the flame out and charcoals the wood and smells..  Finding that sweet spot will take time.  Plus, its not a constant.  You may need a tad more air when you put a new log in but reduce it once it's burning.   Every stove and installation will be different.  All three of our stoves are the same but each has its own optimal point.

    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.
  • Nebulous2
    Nebulous2 Posts: 5,107 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    An old stone listed building North of Scotland, so much colder than most of you. We've been making efforts - but somehow electric has gone up. Last October was electric 237 kwh and 129 cubic meters of gas.  This October was 291 kwh and 73 cubic meters of gas, so cutting back on the thermostat appears to have helped. Last year we may have been caravanning more than this one - but we have a family member in the house all the time. 
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 343.1K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250.1K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.7K Spending & Discounts
  • 235.2K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 607.9K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173K Life & Family
  • 247.8K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards