As energy prices keep skyrocketing worldwide with no relief in sight, many of us are always on the lookout for effective ways to save money on our gas and electric bills, and lead a greener lifestyle.
2018 was the worst year ever for energy price increases, with UK households suffering 57 price rises compared to just 15 in 2017. Prices went up yet again by £117 for 15m UK households in April 2019 after the regulator, Ofgem, hiked its price cap due to higher wholesale gas and electricity prices. Wholesale electricity prices in the UK are expected to increase by 30% by 2025.
Energy efficiency at home isn’t just great for your pocket. It is great for the environment and can effectively reduce your CO2 emissions. Furthermore, research conducted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) revealed that making
In this energy saving guide, we look at 17 ways to lower your household bills without having to make major changes to your lifestyle or spend money on green power gadgets. The higher your bills and the more of these tips you are able to implement, the bigger the savings you’re likely to see.
This is a very detailed guide, so to help you navigate the page with ease, here’s a hyperlinked table of contents that’ll take you directly to any specific topic.
- Install a smart meter
- Compare and switch
Maximisethe energy efficiency of your boiler
- Increase the efficiency of your radiators
- Keep cool without running up your electricity bill
- Save money by conserving water
- Save on water heating bills
- Save energy with lighting
- Save energy costs with your appliances
- Operate your refrigerator more efficiently
- Save money by cooking more efficiently
- Save money with your computer
- Keep warm with less energy
- Draft-proof your home
- Insulate your home
Maximiseyour electricity savings with renewable energy
- Implement a home energy audit
- Information Sources
Install a Smart Meter.
Smart meters are electronic devices that track and automatically capture information about the use of electricity in your home. They work by communicating directly with your energy supplier, cutting out the need for meter readings and making for more accurate energy bills. Installing a smart meter will help you track your energy usage in real time, helping you cut back and use power resources more efficiently.
Most importantly, a smart meter will help to identify what you’re spending the most money on so that you can make simple changes to save energy and ultimately pay less on your utility bills.
Compare and Switch
This is easily the most common piece of advice for saving on your energy bills, but if you haven’t switched your energy supplier recently, it is low hanging fruit. Switching can bring you savings of up to £169 a year. The savings used to be closer to £300 before the introduction of a price cap on standard and default energy deals from January
According to Ofgem, around 58% of Brits are on a standard or default tariff, so there may be savings to be made on your energy bill. If you’re considering switching energy supplier, follow these tips to find the best deal!
Keep note of your contract expiration date.
Most fixed energy bills last for up to three years. Setup an alert to let you know when your contract is due for renewal. If you don’t take action when your contract expires, you’ll automatically be moved to your utility company’s default or standard or default tariff.
Put a note in your smartphone or
Be strategic when searching for the best deals.
Winter is not the best time to start searching for gas and electricity because that is when wholesale prices are much higher. Demand is lower in Spring and Summer, which is when you’re likely to get the best deals.
End your contract.
Most suppliers allow customers to submit a termination notice at any point before their contract expires. This is essential so that you are not put on an automatic rollover contract after your current contract has expired.
Look at different quotes to ensure that you find the best deal you can get.
Choose to pay by direct debit.
Opt to manage your account online. Most energy suppliers charge for paper bills. Going digital also saves trees, water and keeps cartridges out of landfills.
Choose a dual-fuel tariff.
If you use the same supplier for your gas and electric, you’ll get a cheaper deal because it guarantees energy companies your business, as opposed to losing you to one of
How to Find the Best Energy Deal
Here’s what you need to do to compare energy rates:
- Go to an online price comparison site and put in your details, including your postcode and current supplier.
- Compare energy tariffs from a number of providers.
- Choose the deal you want.
Here’s a list of Ofgem accredited price comparison sites:
Maximise the Energy Efficiency of Your Boiler
Two-thirds of the energy used by homes in the UK is spent on heating. According to the energy saving trust, a central heating boiler is responsible for as much as 60% of your household energy bills. This means that getting a more energy-efficient boiler can make a massive difference to your bills.
A boiler is
How Boilers Work
- The boiler heats
- The water is converted into steam or hot water.
- Steam heat passes through your plumbing pipes into the rest of the house and is distributed through radiators.
If you have a boiler that is more than 15 years old, this could be costing you up to 20% in annual energy savings. Getting a condensing boiler could increase those savings to 32%, and using some smart heating controls would net you a 40% saving.
According to Greenmatch, condensing boilers are up to 99% efficient while non-condensing boilers are only up to 78% efficient. This means that condensing boilers could help you save up to £310 per year on gas bills while also reducing your household emissions.
Energy efficiency relates to the running cost of the boiler. For example, for every £200 spent on fuel, if your boiler is only 55 percent efficient, you will be getting only £110 worth of heat, and £90 would simply be wasted. But where your boiler is 90 percent efficient, you will be getting £180 worth of heat for every £200 spent.
Boiler Efficiency Tips
Given that buying and installing a new boiler can cost up to £4,000, for most of us, replacing our boiler may not be an option. What you could do instead is to increase the efficiency of your boiler by following the below tips.
1. Install heating controls
Heating controls help you control your heating and understand your energy use. They are designed to save energy by reducing the amount of fuel required to heat the water. This increases the efficiency of the system.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, you could save £75 to £155 a year by installing heating controls and using them effectively. Here are the different types of heating controls:
- Room thermostat – keeps the heating on until the room reaches the set temperature, and then switches off until the temperature drops below the temperature you’ve set. It prevents your heating system from using more energy than it needs to. This thermostat is normally positioned on a living room wall, at a typical height of about 1.5
- Boiler thermostat – sets the temperature of the water that is pumped from the boiler through the radiators to heat your home. It is typically turned up during cold winter months.
- Programmer – this is a timer that lets you set ‘on’ and ‘off’ time periods. It is ideal for you if you’re away from home during set periods of time throughout the week. Separate settings can be made for heating and hot water. Programmable thermostats can reduce heating and cooling costs in your home by 25% or 30%.
- Thermostatic radiator valves – allows you to adjust the temperature of individual radiators and turn them off completely.
- Cylinder thermostat – This is a device that is fixed to the side of the hot water cylinder. It is set by the installer to be activated when the top of the hot water cylinder has reached a temperature of around 60°C. As with the room thermostat, when the desired temperature is achieved, the boiler is switched off.
- Smart thermostat – allows you to control your heating remotely via an app so you can take control of your heating from anywhere in the world.
Thermostat Efficiency Tips
a. Locate your thermostat in the right place.
Proper thermostat placement can increase the energy efficiency of your home. If it is located in the wrong place, your thermostat can unnecessarily increase your energy bills.
For a start, keep it away from sources of energy. You should never locate your thermostat in areas that make it think that the room is a lot cooler or warmer than it actually is, or it will kick on to cool or heat the room when it doesn’t need to.
For the best results, keep your thermostat in the most used room. Avoid installing it near large appliances such as fridges, TVs ovens, in direct sunlight or near lamps or a room with an additional heater. All of
b. Lower your thermostat in winter.
If you can lower your thermostat during the winter months, the savings can be substantial. According to the Energy Saving Trust, reducing your heating by just 1°C could cut 10 percent off your heating bill, netting you savings of roughly £80 to £85 a year. Heating costs rise by about 5% for every degree above 20°C (68°F) that you set your thermostats.
c. Use a wall-mounted model.
Thermostats mounted directly on the heaters can be slower to respond to changes in room temperature, so for rooms where you’re spending a lot of time, consider replacing that thermostat with a wall-mounted model.
d. Don’t crank up the thermostat.
Cranking the thermostat up when a room is cold doesn’t heat up the room any faster. It will still take the same length of time to warm your home up, and you’ll just use more energy because it will continue heating the room after you’ve passed your regular comfortable temperature.
e. Apply the correct settings.
If you’re going away on vacation for a weekend or longer during the winter months, be sure to lower the thermostats to around 12°C – 13°
You’ll still stay
General recommendations for thermostat settings:
- If someone is at home in the daytime, 22° C is the recommended setting, but you should aim for 20° C.
- If no one is at home during the day, or you’re asleep at night, the recommended setting is 19° C to 17° C.
2. Service your boiler annually.
Boilers are expensive to repair and even more expensive to replace. Servicing your boiler on an annual basis
The end of summer is the ideal time to get your boiler serviced. Engineers are likely to be less busy, and your boiler may have developed a fault if you haven’t switched the heating on at all during the hot summer months. In winter, the demand for heating engineers and installers tends to soar.
3. Switch on your boiler during the summer months.
Boilers can seize up if they are not used for months. It is therefore recommended that you switch the heating on for 10 or 15 minutes once a month during the summer months. This will reduce the risk of your boiler malfunctioning due to inactivity.
4. Check the boiler pressure.
Once the boiler is running, check the pressure gauge to make sure that it’s running to the
How to top up your pressure on your Worcester Bosch boiler and where to set it:
How to top up your pressure on a Combi boiler and where to set it:
5. Powerflush your boiler.
A powerflush is a cleansing process specifically designed to get rid of boiler and radiator deposits like rust and any other debris that have built up over time inside your central heating system. It is one of the most effective ways to extend the life of your boiler.
6. Bleed the radiators.
Radiators need bleeding when trapped air has displaced the hot water that would normally heat up the radiator. When this happens, you’ll find that the top section of your radiators is a lot cooler than the bottom section.
Bleeding your radiators can increase the energy efficiency of your heating, keep your boiler running efficiently and save you money on your heating bills.
7. Lag your pipes.
Pipe lagging is the process of insulating your plumbing pipes. Heat typically escapes from your home through your plumbing pipes. Insulated pipes prevent heat from leaving as water travels from your hot water heater to your faucet. This will save you money with your hot water energy costs by holding in the heat more efficiently and keeping the hot water hotter for a longer period of time.
This is ever so important to take care of as winter approaches. You need to make sure that all of the pipes are properly lagged to
8. Check the pilot light flame.
The flame in your boiler is an important component of all older boilers. It is the flame that lights the gas provided by the main burner, and it should always be a strong, clear blue. Maintaining a good flame is the key to a good boiler performance. If you are getting a cloudy or yellowish flame or it keeps going out, you should contact a plumber as soon as possible.
9. Increase the Ventilation.
Your boiler needs to be housed in a well-ventilated area. Installing your boiler in the kitchen is a good idea as this means that there is a shorter run between your boiler and the appliances that use it. If it is in a cupboard, you should make sure that the cupboard is kept clear of clutter.
Radiator Efficiency Tips:
The radiators are a key part of the central heating system. If you’re in the market for a radiator, aluminium radiators are the most energy efficient because they are excellent conductors of heat. They require less heated water from the boiler and respond fast to temperature changes.
Increase the Efficiency of Your Radiator
- Don’t set the same temperatures for different areas of your home. Reduce the temperature in areas of your home that aren’t used as much as others.
- If your radiator backs up to an outside wall that isn’t insulated, you are losing heat through the wall. Put Radflek behind your radiators. Radflek is a revolutionary energy saving radiator reflector that reflects 95% of the wasted heat energy radiated from the rear of the radiator back into your room.
- Avoid drying clothes directly on the radiator. Doing so lowers the room temperature, which makes the boiler work less efficiently.
- Don’t block radiators with furniture. If you have chairs or sofas in front of radiators, this will block much of the heat from circulating around the room, and it will take much longer for the room to heat up.
Keep Cool Without Running Up Your Electricity Bill
As the mercury rises, take the following proactive measures to slash your cooling bill and reduce your carbon footprint.
Shut out the sun.
Keep the hot air and the sun’s rays out by keeping your windows, blinds, curtains or drapes drawn and closed during the day. However, if you have thick, dark curtains then keep them open,
Consider heat blocking curtains.
Neutral-coloured or heat-blocking curtains are specifically designed to reflect heat. These curtains act as a natural insulator for the room in which they are installed. According to consumer reports,
Sleep alone or not too close to your partner.
You may hate sleeping alone, but sleeping in a separate bed when its really hot can actually lead to better sleep for both of you. Cuddling in bed increases body heat, making the bed hot and sticky. By sleeping alone, you don’t have to endure extra body heat, and you can both sleep cooler.
Unplug your electronics.
Unplug your devices before going to bed. Phones, chargers
Freeze your hot water bottle.
Hot water bottles are meant to keep you warm, but they can also help to cool your bed on hot summer nights. If you feel you can’t sleep because of the heat, fill up the bottle with cold water, place it in the freezer for a few hours and then put it under the covers for 5-10 minutes before bed.
Choose cooling bed sheets.
Breathable and lightweight fabrics like bamboo or cotton are the best sheets to use during the hot summer nights. They are excellent for promoting ventilation in the bedroom and will keep you cool all night.
Freeze your sheets.
Fold up your sheets and put them in a plastic bag, and stick them in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before bedtime for icy cool bedding. Granted, this may not keep you cool all night, but it will provide temporary relief from the heat. Do the same with your pillowcase.
Tint your windows.
Many tinted window films can now block almost 99 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Tinting your windows can help reduce heat gain during the summer and help protect your curtains, furniture and even flooring from the harmful effects of the sun.
Use your appliances in the early morning hours or in the evening.
Using appliances such as your oven, stove, washing machine or dishwasher during the day when it is hot will heat the house up. This means your air conditioner will have to work harder and use a lot more energy to cool the house down. The best time to use these appliances is early in the morning or late at night.
Use as much natural light as possible.
Take advantage of the natural light and longer days in the summer as much as you can. Light bulbs, even energy efficient ones, radiate heat, which builds up in your home and is difficult to get rid of.
Plant a tree in your backyard
Planting a tree in your backyard can help cut energy costs by providing shade from the hot summer sun to help keep your home cooler. This can help to reduce your air conditioning bills during the summer and minimize the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.
Build a homemade air conditioner.
If the weather is unbearably hot, you don’t necessarily need an expensive air conditioner to cool you down. Save yourself hundreds of pounds a year by building a basic air conditioner with nothing more than the following:
- Half a cup of table salt
- A standing fan
- 3 water bottles
How to Build a DIY Air Conditioner
- Put 3 tablespoons of salt into each water bottle.
- Shake each bottle to thoroughly mix the salt.
- Freeze the bottles. The salt will lower the freezing temperature and make the ice cooler.
- Set the bottles on a table at least 6 inches in front of your fan. Don’t use the oscillating setting on the fan. Keep the fan pointed at the water bottles.
- You now have a homemade air conditioner. Keep replacement water bottles in the freezer so that you can simply swap them out when they melt.
Install oscillating fans.
Oscillating fans can help you keep cool in the summer so you don’t have to keep using expensive air conditioning. The following video will show you how to keep your house cool in the summer without AC.
Water Conservation Tips
Water is naturally linked to energy, and water bills encompass 20 percent of most energy bills. The UK has less available water per person than most other European countries. In fact, 12 out of the 23 water companies operating in England are rated as being under ‘serious stress‘.
Using less water can reduce your water bills, lower your energy use,
There are plenty of ways you can cut down the amount of water you use:
Take a shower rather than a bath.
Think of baths as an occasional treat and stick to showers. You use about 318
Take shorter showers.
An average shower uses about 22 litres of water per minute, and accounts for 20-30 percent of household water usage. If you shorten your shower by 2 minutes, you can cut your water use by 44 litres. You can further reduce your water use by turning the water off while soaping. Spending one minute less in the shower each day can save you £7 each year per person.
Use a low-flow showerhead.
The latest low flow showerhead models can help you conserve water by decreasing water consumption by 40% or more, bringing you annual savings of up to £115. In addition, you can expect to save up to £35 annually on heating costs. Low flow showerheads also cut down on carbon dioxide emissions. Since they lessen the demand for hot water, the amount of energy used is reduced, which results in lower CO2 dispersed into the air.
Older models of low-flow shower heads were not very popular and much less effective because they slowed down the water pressure to a trickle. However, newer versions use a mix of smaller apertures and air to create stronger pressure for a more enjoyable shower.
Install an on-demand hot water circulation pump.
Hot water recirculating pumps effectively reduce water waste while you’re waiting for hot water to arrive. Hot water sensors recirculate cold water back to your water heater, instead of pushing it out the taps. This means hot water arrives promptly when you need it, so there’s no waiting around. No water is wasted, and no energy is used by the pump once the water is at the desired temperature.
Some pumps let you set a timer, so they only recirculate hot water as required. For instance, your pump can begin to work at 6 am, ready to produce instant hot water at 6.30am when you need a shower. The timer will then switch off the pump at 8 am when everyone’s left the house and hot water is no longer required.
Furthermore, having hot water run through the pipes in your home will, to an extent, keep your house warm without switching on the heater.
Maintain your plumbing system.
Your home plumbing is a complex system of pipes and fixtures, and it requires proper maintenance to perform optimally. If you live in an older home, you may want to get the system inspected by a professional plumber.
With regular maintenance, you’ll be much less likely to face emergency repairs which can be expensive and stressful. Furthermore, a well-maintained plumbing system will create less waste, bringing you savings on your water bill.
Find and fix hidden water leaks.
Water leaks in your home can waste a lot of water and money. Sometimes, you may not even realise that you have a water leak until you receive a high water bill. If left unattended, water leaks can also cause severe damage to your home.
Even if you are insured, you may be shocked to find out that certain repairs may not be fully covered on your home insurance policy, especially damages that may be attributed to normal “wear and tear” or poor maintenance, rather than some sort of
Fix your leaking tap.
Leaky faucets waste thousands of
Save water when shaving.
On average, about 9
Install a low-flow toilet.
Flushing your toilet accounts for the single largest water use in your home, accounting for about 127
Use a faucet aerator.
Faucet aerators can save money on your heating and water bills. Aerators work by controlling the flow of water through the faucet. These devices use less water-per-minute than older models so that you’re able to conserve more water. It is estimated that aerators can save you 1,272
Use a dishwasher rather than washing by hand.
According to research carried out in 2007 on 200 households in Germany, Italy, Sweden
Use a container.
If getting a dishwasher is not an option for you, use a container to hold the water instead of letting the tap run when you’re doing the washing up. This will help you conserve water and shave about £30 a year off your energy bills.
Avoid using too much laundry detergent.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that their clothes will be cleaner by adding a lot of laundry detergent. In fact, too much detergent often leaves a residue on your clothes that is hard to remove. It also makes your washing machine work harder and
Wash clothes with cold water.
Use cold water when washing clothes except when you’re washing very dirty clothes, your bed linen, and towels, which should be washed in hot water to be sterilized. According to consumer r
Don’t fill up your kettle.
When making tea or coffee for one, it is more energy-efficient to only fill the kettle with the amount of water you need. If you’re boiling more water than you need, you’re going to be wasting energy as you will be using more electricity. This also means that you are increasing your carbon footprint.
Save on Water Heating Bills
Learning how to conserve hot water saves energy used to heat and treat water, is great for the environment, and saves money on energy bills.
Take cooler showers.
Taking cooler showers will help you cut down your energy costs. From a health perspective, cool showers promote healthy skin and
Wrap an insulation blanket around your water heater.
Wrapping an insulation blanket around your water heater will ensure that the hot water heater remains piping hot for a longer period of time, and you won’t be using any extra energy to do so. This can reduce standby heat losses by 25% to 45% and save you around 4% to 9% in water heating costs.
Turn the water off when going away.
When going away on vacation in the summer, be sure to turn the hot water off. If you’ll be going away in the winter, keep the central heating running at 15 degrees if the house is unoccupied in winter. This will ensure that you don’t return home to a flooded due to a frozen/burst pipe. When going away, shut off the cold water supply to the water heater to limit damage in the event of a leak from the tank.
Build a DIY solar water heater.
A DIY solar water heater is one of the most cost-effective ways of lowering your energy bills and reducing your carbon footprint. In the UK, more than half the money spent on fuel bills goes towards providing heating and hot water. This means installing a DIY solar water heater to supplement your water heating system could save you more than £180 in annual savings.
Save Energy on Lighting
Lighting is responsible for 15 percent of a typical household’s electricity bill, according to the Energy Saving Trust. It is one way that you most likely waste electricity, and one of the easiest ways to save on your electricity bill.
Use energy efficient light bulbs.
One way to slash your lighting bill and energy use is by switching which bulbs you use to light your home and using them efficiently. There are 2 main types of energy efficient light bulbs in the UK. These are:
- Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
- Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
LED Light Bulbs
LEDs are small, solid light bulbs which are extremely energy efficient and long lasting. They are also called Solid State Lighting (SSL) as they are made of solid material with no filament or tube or bulb to break. They are environmentally friendly as they contain no mercury or other harzardous substances. They cost around £1.56 to run per year and use almost 90% less energy than traditional bulbs.
LED bulbs have a typical life expectancy of 50,000 hours or more, and can save you up to £35 a year on your energy bills. Over its lifetime, an LED bulb can cut around £200 from your energy bills.
CFL Light Bulbs
CFL light bulbs are the most common type of energy-saving bulbs. They typically use 60-80% less electricity than an incandescent bulb, and they tpically cost between £2 and £15. They have an average lifespan of about 10,000 hours. However, they can take time to brighten and because they contain a small amount of mercury, they are not as environmentally friendly as LEDs, which contain no mercury.
Use dimmer switches.
A dimmer switch is a type of lighting control that adds flexibility to the use of lighting in a particular room. It provides the capability to lower lighting levels without actually turning it off. This allows you to use a lot less energy and save money. Dimmer switches also make your light bulbs last longer.
Turn off the lights.
Turning off the lights when you’re not using them is one of the simplest ways to save energy in your home. You’ll be reducing electricity usage, extending the life of your light bulbs and saving money on your utility bills.
Use the right light bulb for the size of the room.
When selecting the a light bulb, check the lumens. The more lumens produced by a light bulb, the brighter the light. To save energy, find the bulb with the highest amount of lumens you for the room it is going to be used for, and then choose one with the lowest wattage.
Use a motion sensor light on external lights.
You don’t want to waste money on electricity when you don’t have to. Installing sensor lights or a timer on external lights can avoid them being left on and wasting precious energy in the process. It is estimated that sensor lights can bring savings of up to 60% of lighting energy costs.
Use a timer on your lights.
Timers are very effective at reducing your electricity use. They can be configured to turn on and turn off lights as well as other electrical appliances such as exhaust fans in bathrooms. I
Save Energy Costs With Appliances
The most energy-sapping appliances are in the kitchen. These include ovens, fridge/freezers, washing machines
The latest figures from the energy saving trust show that the approximate annual cost of washing and drying your clothes is £186.15, operating an electric oven will cost £131.40 a year, and running your fridge/freezer will set you back a further £62.20 annually. Furthermore, most houses create around six tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. That’s the equivalent of driving a car more than 58,000 miles!
When you consider other appliances such as a toaster, microwave, dishwasher, electric kettle
Below are top tips to help you cut costs in the kitchen, save on your energy bills, and do your bit for the environment in the process.
About Energy-Efficient Appliances
The average UK home spends around £572 on electricity each year. Around £63 is spent on a standing charge before you even start using any energy. Installing the most energy-efficient equipment you can afford is critical to maximising your energy use and keeping your water and heating bills as low as possible.
Older appliances including washing or drying machines and refrigerators consume much more energy than newer models. The latest model of most white goods have a rating of A-G on their label – A is highest rated, and G being the lowest rated. Today, all new fridges and freezers are required to have a minimum rating of A+, but you’ll save much more with an A+++ fridge freezer.
You will see the difference immediately in your energy costs when you trade in old appliances for new. When you buy, check the energy rating and try to get the one that’s the most energy efficient.
According to research by Which
- Washing machine: £54
- Tumble dryer: £93
- Fridge-Freezer: £94
Apply these tips to save energy costs in your home:
Use a flat-screen TV.
When replacing your TV, get an LED screen as they are extremely energy-efficient, with most sets consuming fewer than 150 watts. Look for the energy-saving Trust recommended label. That way, you can be sure you are buying a TV with
Switch to E
Ecoballs are plastic washing balls that are filled with natural materials, eliminate the need for fabric softener and last much longer than laundry detergent. According to customer reviews, they are very effective at washing clothes clean. Ecoballs cost £19.95 for 1,000 washes averaging just 2p per wash. Based on three washes per week, this will bring you annual savings of £34.32.
Don’t leave electrical devices on standby.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, you could save between £50 and £86 a year simply by unplugging your devices when they’re not in use. Some appliances (such as game consoles) use more on standby than others.
Use a smart power strip.
A smart power strip automatically detects when a device is in standby mode so they can cut off power and save energy. Using a smart power strip can drastically reduce your overall energy usage, which will decrease your utility bills.
Use your appliances in the early morning hours or late in the evening.
Using your oven, washing machine or dishwasher when it is hot during the day tends to heat the house up which means you will have to use more energy to cool your house down. Hertfordshire-based Green Energy UK offers a Tide Tariff that promises households significantly lower bills if they avoid using power at peak hours and run their appliances at night.
Wash with a full load.
Washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers are more efficient with fuller loads and use less water and electricity than other programs. A half load uses just as much energy as a full load, so waiting until you have a full load means you’ll do fewer washes. When you run your appliances, get your money’s worth.
Do not to overload your machines.
Overloading simply means that you’ve put too many clothes into the drum. When the machine spins, the clothes will not have the freedom of movement they need to clean themselves effectively.
Tumble dryers are expensive.
Getting rid of the tumble dryer could save you more than £130 each year. But if getting rid of the tumble dryer is not an option, be sure to spin your washing first before drying them. Your clothes will dry faster and the machine will use a lot less energy.
The dry towel technique.
You can speed up drying by putting a dry towel in with each load of clothes if there’s room. It will absorb dampness and dry the clothes faster. Avoid drying clothes over radiators because this will simply add to heating costs, which will prove counterproductive. Use a clothes dryer rack in a warm room in your home instead.
Turn off the water if you’re going away.
If you’re going on vacation in the Summer, turn your hot water off. If you will be going away in the winter, turn your hot water and heating down to 12° C so that your plumbing pipes don’t freeze.
Operate Your Fridge/Freezer More Efficiently
Refrigerators require so much energy because they are always switched on, which is unavoidable. Here are some things you can do to cut down the energy consumption of your fridge.
- If you have an old fridge-freezer, you are better off getting rid of it. Replacing a 20-year old fridge with a newer version will save £100 in energy bills every year.
- Place your refrigerator away from direct sunlight and other sources of heat from inside the home such as the oven or washing machine. The appliance needs to have plenty of room around it for air to circulate. Locating the appliance close to any sources of heat means that the compressor will need to work harder to do its job. The less work your fridge/freezer has to do, the less energy it will use.
- If the fridge door is opened frequently or left open even for short periods, cold air escapes, and the compressor will need to reduce the temperature again once the door is closed. This tip alone will help you save 5 percent on your energy bills depending on how often you spend opening and close the refrigerator.
- An empty fridge-freezer will work less efficiently than a well-stocked fridge because keeping air cold uses more energy than refrigerating food. Try to keep in around three-quarters full. Don’t overpack it as that will end up costing you money in extra energy.
- Always let food cool naturally before storing it in the fridge. Putting hot food in your fridge means the compressor will need to work harder to keep the fridge cool.
- The factory setting may keep the fridge cooler than is required. Industry experts recommend using the most efficient temperature settings by setting your freezer at 0°C and your fridge between 2°C and 4°C.
- Check that the seal of the fridge doesn’t need replacing. One way to tell if you need to replace it is with a paper test. Close the refrigerator door on a piece of paper, and then pull. If you’re able to pull out the paper easily, it’s time to replace the gaskets. Also, if you notice condensation on the outside of your fridge-freezer, that’s another sign that you need to get the seal replaced.
- The back of the fridge needs to be well ventilated and dust free, so leave space around the back of your fridge or freezer for air to circulate.
- An accumulation of dust and grime means the compressor will have to work harder. So, three or four times a year, pull your fridge away from the wall and vacuum the coils. Doing this will increase the energy efficiency of the fridge by up to 6%.
- Defrost your fridge and freezer on a regular basis. The more ice builds up, the harder the compressor has to work and the more energy it will use. If the ice around the inside is more than 1 cm thick, you need to defrost it.
Save Money By Cooking More Efficiently
Cooking uses a significant amount of
Use the microwave whenever possible.
Using the microwave is one of the cheapest and most energy-efficient cooking methods, using up to ½ as much energy as conventional ovens. Unlike conventional ovens, microwave ovens don’t retain heat, nor do they heat up your home. Opt for this appliance whenever possible.
Batch cook your food.
Batch cooking your meals saves energy and time as well. You can cook a triple serving and freeze the leftovers into meal-size portions, which will use less energy.
Ignore ‘best before’ food dates.
According to experts, you can make savings of up to £500 per year by not sticking to ‘best before end’ dates, as they haven’t gone bad just because they are past their ‘best before date’. The dates only show when the product is past its best quality. However, it is recommended to taste-test the food before eating. Note that this doesn’t apply to chicken, meat, fish and dairy products. Ignoring use by dates on these items could lead to food poisoning.
Match your pot size to the burner size.
When you’re cooking on the stove, make sure you match the size of the pot you’re using to the size of the burner or coil on your stove. If you cook a small pot on a large burner, you’re wasting 30-40% of the electricity needed because you’re heating air and are also generating a lot of additional heat in your home.
By the same token, using a pot that’s too big for the burner will take much longer to get to the right temperature.
Clean your drip pans.
The drip pans under your stove burners serve two purposes: to reflect heat back up to the pot or pan you’re cooking in and to catch the spillover from pots when you’re cooking. However, if your drip tray is caked over, it’s not doing as effective a job of reflecting heat. Therefore you’re going to be using extra electricity every single time you cook.
Cleaning your drip pans will save you money. If the drip pan has degraded to the point of having holes, it may be worthwhile having them replaced as they are very inexpensive.
Here’s a natural way to clean your drip pans
- Soak the drip pans in very hot water for approximately 10 minutes.
- Drain the water from the sink.
- Pour in distilled white vinegar on the drip pans and let them sit in the vinegar for 30 minutes.
- Next, sprinkle baking soda on top of the vinegar rub the baking soda into the burnt-on crust.
- Leave the baking soda and vinegar on the stains for at least 15 minutes. The burnt residue should start to flake away.
- Rinse the drip pans with hot water, apply more baking soda and apply the baking soda to the remaining stains.
- Rinse again and towel-dry.
Keep the oven door closed when cooking.
Opening the oven door to check on your food wastes energy. When you open the oven door, you’re allowing all that precious heat to escape
(sometimes as much as 25 degrees), and your oven will have to use a lot of extra energy to reproduce that lost heat. If you want to check on your food, use the oven light, and Keep the oven glass door clean so you will not have to open the oven.
Use copper and cast-iron pans.
Certain pan types are better at conducting and retaining heat. Copper-bottomed pans heat up faster than stainless steel, so use copper-bottom cooking pots and pans for their energy-saving qualities. Cast-iron pans retain heat more efficiently, so it’s the right choice for shortened cooking times. In addition, cast iron pans allow you to cook on a lower heat setting than nonstick or stainless steel cookware, which saves you money.
Use the right pans.
If you’re using a cooker with an electric hob, choose pans with flat bottoms rather than curved. The pan will be in full contact with the ring so that the heat can spread through it as evenly as possible.Pans with curved bottoms allow heat to escape.
Cut up large food.
If you’re cooking large food like a joint of meat, it may be worth cutting your food into smaller pieces so that it takes less time to cook. This will also allow you to avoid overcooking certain foods like meat.
Use glass or ceramic dishes in the oven.
Glass and ceramic dishes are excellent conductors of heat, and retain heat better than metal dishes. They allow you to reduce baking temperature by 25 degrees. The increased efficiency provided by these dishes means your food will be ready up to 10 minutes quicker than when baking with metal dishes.
Defrost frozen food in the fridge overnight.
Defrost your food in the fridge before cooking rather than cooking from frozen. This will cut cooking times by as much as half. Cooking frozen food will take longer and use more energy. Defrosting your food in the fridge will save energy by cooking faster. However, never thaw out food that says it must be cooked from frozen.
Use the self-cleaning feature after cooking.
If you have a self-cleaning oven, use this feature immediately after cooking a meal to reduce a lengthy warm-up. This will reduce the overall energy costs. However, industry experts recommend not using the self-cleaning function more than six times a year.
Use a lid when cooking.
Cook with a lid on the post to reduce cooking times, and ensure that you use as little water as possible when cooking your food. This will speed up cooking time, save energy and reduce food waste.
Clean your cooker on a weekly basis.
Whether it is a gas or electric cooker, the cleaner your oven, the more heat it will radiate, and the more energy-efficient it will be. This will increase the lifespan of the cooker and save you money.
Invest in a convection or fan-assisted oven
A convection oven is more energy efficient than conventional ovens because they cook faster and more thoroughly than conventional ovens. This is because they use a fan which circulates hot air inside as it cooks. This feature allows them to cook at relatively lower temperatures.
Consider getting a solar oven.
Solar ovens harness the sun’s energy to cook meals without using gas or electricity. They are a great option for everyday cooking as long as the sun is out. You can maintain better air quality indoors, reduce CO2 emissions and conserve energy. Click here to read more bout the pros and cons of solar ovens.
Save Money With Your Computer
Your computer is an important energy consumer in your home. Here are a few tips to help you conserve energy when using it.
Use a laptop instead of a desktop.
You can save on your electricity bills by using a laptop rather than a desktop. Laptops typically use between 15 and 45 watts. By contrast, desktop computers eat up between 70 and 200 watts. If you’re not a heavy computer user, a tablet might be sufficient your needs because they are even more energy efficient than laptops.
Use an LCD screen.
If you have to use a desktop, you’ll want to ensure that you use an LCD screen as they use way less energy than the much cheaper CRTs. Be sure to switch off the screen when you’re not using the computer as it uses more energy than the actual computer.
Enable hibernate mode.
Hibernate mode means the computer saves the state – open programs and documents – and then turns itself off. It will reload the same exact state when you switch it on again. The computer uses zero power during hibernate mode.
To enable hibernate mode, go to Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Power Options -> Click Choose what the power buttons do -> Click the Change Settings that are currently available. -> Select Hibernate mode and save changes.
Use an inkjet printer.
An inkjet printer is the most energy-conscious choice for the typical home user. On the other hand, laser printers consume hundreds of watts when active, and tens of watts in standby mode.
Only switch on the printer when you intend to print, and then turn it off immediately afterwards. You are going to be wasting electricity if it is left on all the time.
Recycle your print
Keep Warm With Less Energy
Use a ceramic heater.
Ceramic heaters are portable heaters that you can use to heat up areas of your home that are hard to heat rather than turning up your boiler.
They also ensure efficient energy usage by cycling on and off.
Ceramic heaters are safer and more energy efficient than other types of portable heaters such as space heaters, which are expensive, energy inefficient and are known to be responsible for fires, deaths
Switch to flannel sheets.
Flannel sheets provide more warmth than cotton sheets but are lightweight enough to keep you warm as you sleep. They work by trapping heat into the sheets, which allows you to save energy by turning down the heating before you sleep. They are your best protection against cold weather. When you use flannel sheets, you’ll see significant savings on your heating bill.
Use a humidifier.
The air in our home tends to be really dry in winter, making us feel colder than we really are. Using a humidifier to generate moisture back into the air of your home can help make you feel warmer. This will allow you to set the thermostat lower. According to the Department of Energy, you can save 1 percent for each degree you can lower your thermostat during the cold winter months.
Use a thermoplastic hot water bottle.
A thermoplastic hot water bottle is an ideal way to keep your bed warm when you are about to go to sleep. Slip it under your blanket for 5-10 minutes to heat up the inside of your bed before you get in. Don’t forget to remove it before you go to bed.
Use a wheat bag.
Microwavable wheat bags were first developed as a safer alternative to rubber hot water bottles, due to the reduced risk of of scalding. They are a brilliant way to keep you warm.
Consider extra blankets.
If you’re considering getting extra blankets, avoid electric blankets. Although they are very functional and can keep you warm all night long for pennies, they are not recommended due to links to cancer and other safety concerns.
Leave the oven door ajar after cooking.
In winter, leaving the oven door open after cooking allows some of the warm air to get into the room. This is a great way to warm up the house, especially if you have an open plan kitchen. But you’ll want to make sure that you don’t have kids running around when you do so.
Invest in thermal wallpaper.
Thermal wallpaper is a thick sheet that is used for wall insulation. This creates a warm blanket for your walls and ceiling which significantly reduces room warm up time. It stops heat escaping through walls and ceilings,
Use drapes with insulated lining.
Drapes with insulated lining can help to slash your heating costs because they increase the insulation of the windows. They prevent conditioned air from escaping from your windows in
Use clingfilm as a substitute for double glazing.
If you cannot afford double glazing, putting clingfilm on your single glazed windows is a trick that can cut your energy bills in winter by insulating your windows. This keeps your home warmer by trapping a small layer of air to reduce heat loss so you won’t need to have the heating on so much.
Draft-Proof Your Home
Draft-proofing your home is one of the cheapest and most efficient ways to regulate the temperature in your home. Air leakage occurs when air from outside gets into your home and conditioned air exits your home through cracks and openings in doors and windows. These leaks waste energy by making your furnace or boiler work harder in the winter and your air conditioner work harder in the summer.
To draft-proof your home, seal gaps that let cold air in and warm air out. Close doors and use a keyhole cover to block draughts.
Caulking and weatherstripping are two easy and practical air-sealing techniques.
Caulk your windows
Caulking is a flexible material that is used to seal air leaks through cracks, gaps or joints between components such as around doors and window frames. If you have older windows, chances are that you’re losing heat or cool air from gaps in the windows.
You can also use caulking to prevent water damage inside and outside the home around faucets, ceiling fixtures, water pipes, drains, bathtubs, and other plumbing fixtures.
Weatherstrip your doors and windows
Weatherstripping is a simple and effective air-sealing technique that is used to seal components that move, such as doors and operable windows.
Insulate Your Home
People mostly think of their heating bills in terms of fuel costs, but really what we are paying for is heat loss. The lower the heat loss in your home, the lower the energy use. The major sources of heat loss in a UK home are walls (35%), roof (20), windows (15%), floor (10%) and doors (5%). Homes that are poorly insulated tend to be more draughty and more expensive to heat and cool.
A quarter of heat is lost through the roof. Getting your roof insulated could save you £175 a year. Insulating under the floorboards on the ground floor will save you about £45 – £55 a year, while insulating your walls is the most cost-effective way to save energy around your home. Up to 33% of heat is lost through the walls.
You can also buy an insulation jacket for your hot water tank for around £10, which could save you up to £15 a year. Insulating your hot water pipes will help your taps to get hot faster.
Here are additional benefits of insulating your home.
- Increase the energy efficiency of your home.
- Give your home a greater energy efficiency rating, making it more appealing to potential buyers in the future.
- Save hundreds of pounds per year in energy bills.
- Lower your carbon emissions as well as the consumption and reliance on fossil fuels.
- Reduce the number of heating and cooling appliance to keep your home comfortable.
- Reduce noise pollution by keeping unwanted sounds out and prevent air infiltration which causes draughts.
Maximise Your Electricity Savings With Renewable Energy
With the declining cost of solar panels and the soaring cost of gas and electricity, generating your own energy is the most viable way to deliver both cheaper energy bills and lower carbon emissions. The savings you make can be huge.
If you generate your own power, you’re still going to need your traditional source of energy, but you won’t need to rely on it as much. The more power you generate, the less you’ll have to worry about rising energy prices. In fact, according to Solar Guide, many homes manage to reduce their electricity spend by as much as 40-50%!
Implement a Home Energy Audit
A home energy audit analyses your current energy use in order to identify measures that can increase the energy efficiency of your home so that you can make considerable savings on your energy bills.
An energy audit aims to determine how much energy you’re using, where the home is losing energy, and which problem areas you should focus on to increase the energy-efficiency of your home.