Ten easy ways to reduce energy use in the home

With the latest increase in the energy price cap coming this October, how do you decide the best and easiest ways to cut your energy consumption and save vital pennies ahead of the winter?  We have put together ten great tips from The Energy Saving Trust website.

1.Switching off light switches when you leave the room.

Traditional light bulbs and modern LED lights don’t take any extra energy to turn on, so you should always turn your lights off when you’re not using them, or when you leave a room. This could save you around £20 a year on your annual energy bills. Replacing all the lights in your home with LED bulbs could help you save even more.

2.Boil water for cooking in an electric kettle before adding to your pan unless you have a gas hob

Kettles are more efficient than an induction or electric hob for heating water because the kettle is heated from the inside whereas the pan is heated from the outside. According to Energy Saving Trust, if you boil only the water you need in your kettle, you could save yourself £11 a year on your energy bills and 9 kg of CO2.   However as gas is a quarter of the price per unit of electricity, if you have a gas hob use it to boil water instead of using the kettle. This applies to hot drinks as well as cooking and ideally just boil the water you need and no more.

3.Don’t leave your phone on charge overnight and turn off devices on standby

Many of the appliances in our homes are using up energy while on standby mode. So, one of the simplest changes you can make is to turn devices such as TVs, computers and games consoles off standby mode.  Check the instructions for any appliances you aren’t sure about.  You can also buy a standby saver or smart plug which allows you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go.

4.Use your washing machine more economically

Eco washes use less energy and water than rapid or quick washes.   So plan ahead and save money on both energy and your water bill if you are on a water meter. Washing clothes at 30 degrees rather than at higher temperatures will save around 40 per cent of the energy used from this appliance each year for an average household. Modern detergents work just as well at lower temperatures. Wait until you have a full load for your washing machine.

5.Use the microwave more and the conventional oven less

Microwaves tend to be used for heating ready-meals or re-heating food and drinks.  But using the microwave to cook food is a lower cost alternative to using the oven or an electric hob.  Vegetables in particular can be cooked very effectively in the microwave and even cakes can be made in a microwave to avoid turning on and heating up a conventional oven.

6.Avoid baths, take shorter showers and turn down the water temperature

Swapping one bath for a short shower could save you £12 per year. Turning down the temperature or reducing the water flow will also help.

7.Make sure your hot water storage tank and radiators ares properly insulated

Insulating your water tank, pipes and radiators is a quick and easy way to save money on your bills. Lagging water tanks and pipes and insulating behind radiators reduces the amount of heat lost, so you spend less money heating water up, and hot water stays hotter for longer.

A hot water cylinder jacket costs about £17, and fitting it is a straightforward job if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Pipe insulation consists of a foam tube that covers the exposed pipes between your hot water cylinder and boiler, reducing the amount of heat lost and, therefore, keeping your water hotter for longer. It’s usually as simple as choosing the correct size from a DIY store and then slipping it around the pipes.

8.Draught-proof your windows and doors

Draught-proofing around windows and doors could save you around £45 a year*. If you have an open chimney, draught-proofing your chimney when you’re not using it could save around £65 a year*. Also consider draught proofing hot water and heating pipes in the airing cupboard and loft.  uPVC doors and windows which have becom “gappy” can be simply adjusted with an allen key and screwdriver and perished seals replaced.  There are lots of “how-to” videos on YouTube.

Draught-free homes are comfortable at lower temperatures – so you may be able to turn down your thermostat, saving even more on your energy bills.

* Savings based on a typical gas-fuelled semi-detached property in England, Scotland or Wales.

9.Turn down the thermostat and radiator valve controls

The Energy Saving Trust recommend installing and using a full set of heating controls so that you can warm the rooms you’re in when you need it.  Turn thermostats to 1 in rooms which are un-used. In a home without any controls, installing and correctly using a programmer room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves could save you £130 a year (based on a typical three-bed semi-detached house).

10.Set timings for hot water and central heating

Set your heating for when you need the home to be warm rather than running it constantly and set the water heating to come on two or three times a day to top up the cylinder saves energy.  Syncing the heating and hot water to come on at the same time however doesn’t make much difference to overall bills.

More on energy bills from the Energy Saving Trust