Are video games making your energy bills rocket?

If your kids are keen video game players, their FIFA or Fortnite addiction could mean game over for your cheap energy bills – a recent study has found that playing video games adds an eye-watering £85.8 million a year onto the nation’s energy bills.

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How do video games affect your energy bills?

The study found that the average gaming session lasts around two-and-a-half hours, and almost half of all children (40%) play video games every day – this equates to each household with an average gamer powering a games console and TV for a total of 37 days a year, at a cost of £26.88 per child.

If your household has two rabid gamers under its roof, you can at least double this figure, which will be even higher if they spend more than two-and-a-half hours a day on their console. And then there’s the problem of them leaving their consoles and TVs on standby – leaving appliances on standby can push up the cost of your energy bills by £30 a year, according to the Energy Savings Trust.

On the face of it, this may not sound like very much, but when you combine the added cost of your kid’s gaming habit to the cost of leaving appliances on standby, then throw in some other bad energy habits, and before you know it you’ve added an extra hundred-or-so pounds on to the cost of your annual energy bills.

If your energy bills are going through the roof, here are some ways you can help keep them in check.

How to cut the cost of your energy bills

A few simple changes around the house is all it takes to help keep your energy bills in check.

  • Always turn off the light when you leave a room, and don’t leave appliances on standby and remember not to leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily.
  • Set the thermostat to come on only when you need it - 30 minutes before you get up in the morning and set it to switch off 30 minutes before you are due to leave. Of an evening, set it to come on 30 minutes before you get home, and go off an hour before bed time, the residual heat should keep you warm until you’re tucked up in bed.
  • If you turn down your main thermostat by 1 degree, you can around 10% on your energy bill. But make sure your home is warm enough during cold weather. Cold homes can damage your health.
  • Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows and check for draughts around windows and doors. But make sure your curtains are covering any radiators, as this will stop heat from getting into your room.
  • When you are doing the washing try to fill up the machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher. One full load uses less energy than two half loads.
  • Try and ensure that you only boil as much water as you need.
  • A dripping hot water tap can waste enough energy in a single week to fill half a bath. Fix leaking taps and make sure they are fully turned off.
  • If you’ve not already done so, get loft and wall insulation installed, and if your boiler is ten or more years old, consider getting a new one.
  • Switching energy supplier can cut your annual energy bills by hundreds of pounds. To make the greatest saving, you should also try to pick a tariff that you manage online, and pay via monthly direct debit.

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Les Roberts - Energy Expert at UKPower

Les Roberts - Energy Expert at UKPower

If you’ve got an issue with your energy supplier, our consumer champion Les is on hand to help. A decade in consumer affairs means Les understands how confusing energy tariffs can be, so he'll cut through the jargon to help make sure you get the best deal.