Simple steps to reduce how much energy you use.

With energy prices soaring, there is a huge amount of advice on how to reduce your energy use at home. Using less energy not only reduces your carbon emissions it also lowers your energy bill. 

We have constructed a simple guide with some steps you can take to improve your resilience to the energy price increases that we are all experiencing at the moment.

Appliances

Standby mode

When appliances such as TV’s are in standby mode they aren’t completely off. They are still using electricity but at a low level. How much power varies by each device but a TV could cost £24 a year just in standby mode. So try and turn devices off at the plug or think about investing in ‘standby savers’. Be careful though as there are some items that wont work when fully turned off like set top boxes.

Energy efficient appliances

Often newer appliances from toasters to washing machines will be more energy efficient. When buying new item’s it’s a good idea to take into consideration the energy label which rates energy usage from A to G. Although each item is different a top-rated fridge freezer could cost £38 a year to run, compared to £151 for the lowest rating. Here is a link with a useful guide to energy labels from Which.

Tumble Dryer

Using a typical tumble dryer 3 days a week could cost you £54 a year. Try and limit usage in winter and when you do use it don’t over fill.

Washing Machine

Washing machines are part of modern life, but there are some practical steps you can take to limit how much they cost.

  • Consider if the item of clothing really needs to be washed or if it can be worn again.
  • Lower the temperature or using an eco-setting if the items just need a standard could save £28 a year. Although you will still need a hot wash to keep the washing machines clean.
  • Fill your machine, half loads are not as efficient as running a full load cycle which is properly loaded.
  • Wash at night, many washing machine have timers which can be used to run washes at night in order to take advantage of cheap energy tariffs.
Lights

Replacing old an inefficient light bulbs with newer LED energy saving lightbulbs will save on your electricity usage.

Cooking

Always cover pots and pans when using your hob so you don't lose heat unnecessarily.

Use your microwave, which can quickly cook something and use less energy than a conventional oven or hob.

Use a slow cooker, a delicious and healthy stew can be made simply using a slow cooker that uses much less energy than a conventional oven or hob.

Use bigger pans, with more surface area on the hob food heats up quicker, using less energy.

Use a tiered steamer, the energy from one hob can heat up 2 or 3 pots worth of food in one go. Saving energy when compared to using a hob for each.

 

Heating

Turning down your thermostat

Although each home is different, for 1 degree you turn down your thermostat you could reduce your energy bill by around 4%.

Radiators

Ensuring that your radiator system is clear and running without sludge will increase their efficiency and prolong the life of your boiler. The same applies to a balanced and air free system. 

Fitting thermostatic valves will ensure that you can turn up or down temperatures in rooms you use and those you don't.

There is some good advice on how to maintain your system here from Which.

Checking the efficiency of your combi boiler

Setting your boiler correctly can really improve its efficiency. For example it doesn't need to be on it's highest temperature setting all year. You could be needlessly heating water to a very high temperature when you don't need to. Click here for a guide on how to set your boiler up correctly. 

New Boiler

There are many different sources you can use to heat your home, and many will be more effective and cheaper to run than an old inefficient boiler.
The boiler guide form the Energy saving trust might help you decide what is right for you.

Home

Smart Meter

A smart meter measures how much energy use in real time and tells your energy supplier automatically. It allows you to really understand how much energy you use and ensure you receive an accurate bill. 

A better understanding of your energy usage allows you to identify where you could be making savings.

Insulate Pipes

Insulating pipes and wanter tanks can be a very cost effective and easy way to improve the efficiency of your heating system and reduce your energy usage.

Draught proofing

Although it is important to properly ventilate your home in a controlled way, draughts can see you lose heat uncontrollably from your house which can add up.

In fact draught proofing your home can be one of the cheapest and simplest ways to make your heating system more effective.

Windows, foam or plastic strips can be used to fill in any gaps or where you can feel a breeze

Doors, letterboxes, keyholes and gaps around the door can all be a source of heat loss. Using foam, brush or plastic strips around edges, a letter box flap or even a draught excluder can all improve the drafts in your home.

Chimneys, unused chimneys can let a lot of heat out the home. Fitting a cap on the chimney, or even more simply a chimney draft excluder which fits in the chimney near the fireplace can be very effective.

Loft hatches, often overlooked when lofts are insulated ensuring the hatch itself is well fitting with strips and is insulated will reduce unnecessary heat loss.

Thermal / Heavy Curtains

Thick curtains that fit snugly around the entire window will offer the best insulation and reduce drafts and heat loss.

Insulating your home

There are lots of ways you can improve your homes insulation. The Energy saving trust offer a useful guide here. For something more bespoke you might want to consider a 'Whole House Retrofit plan' which looks at what might be most suitable for you and your lifestyle. 

Windows

Double or even triple glazed windows offer increasing energy efficiency over older single pain windows.

Lifestyle

Showers v baths

Although taking a shower over a bath will use less water and energy, however the length of the shower is also important. The shorter the shower the less energy used.

Turn off lights

Turn off lights when not in rooms and make sure you check they are all off before leaving your home.

Wear additional layers

It might sound simple but wearing a vest or an extra jumper coupled with lowering your heating slightly can really make a difference to your energy usage. 

Heat yourself not the room

There are many ways you can heat yourself rather than your home, which often work out more cost effective.

There is a good guide on heating the human not the home at Money Savings Expert here.

Keep moving

Sitting still can reduce your body temperature. Getting up and moving around regularly increases your body temperature.

Don't heat all your rooms

Focusing your heat on or two rooms where you spend the most time can significantly reduce how much energy you need to use, especially in the winter months.

Ensure that you are receiving all the help and financial support that you are eligible for.

There is help available with energy bills, particularly with the difficult global situation we are in. We offered a guide here, it is a good idea to keep checking the information here as rules and benefits often change.