As gas prices rise through the roof, learning how to save energy at home has never been more important. Because acts as simple as leaving your phone on standby, or overfilling the kettle, could be costing you hundreds of pounds a year.
Research from the Citizens Advice and the Energy Saving Trust has revealed that a third of households have not made any effort to reduce their energy use in recent years.
However, just incorporating a few energy savings tips into your routine won't just keep your house warm in winter, it could help households make real savings. That's not to mention the bonus of helping the UK to reach its target of net zero emissions by 2050.
'If every household in Britain made just a handful of energy-saving changes, the combined impact could make a big difference to our finances and the environment,' explains Laura McGradie, head of consumer advice at Energy Saving Trust (opens in new tab).
If you are stuck in your ways, or not sure where to start saving money on your home energy usage, these small changes could make a big difference.
How to save energy at home – our top tips
1. Turn your thermostat down by one degree
Flicking your thermostat dial down from 25 to 24 degrees could save households across the UK £800 million.
Another myth busted is that it’s cheaper to have the heating on low all the time. Apparently, 46 per cent of us believe it to be true but it's not. According to the Energy Saving Trust again, you can make £150 per year by using a thermostat to regulate the temperature.
2. Change your lightbulbs
You don't exactly need to have a lightbulb moment to know that switching to efficient LED bulbs – or better yet, smart lighting and bulbs that are easy to switch on and off from your phone – can have a serious impact on your wallet. But did you know just how much you could claw back?
According to Phil Spencer, you could save up to £240 on bills. Npower agrees, but puts the estimate at a more conservative £35 per year. At the other end of the spectrum, property expert Holly Herbert from webuyanyhouse.co.uk says swapping to energy-efficient LED bulbs could save you £940 a year.
'LED bulbs use a fraction of the electricity compared to normal bulbs,' explains Holly. 'Most LEDs use at least 75 per cent less energy, saving you a huge amount on your bill.'
3. Stop leaving tech on standby
One way in which EVERYONE (both owners and renters) can save cash is by doing one simple thing with our appliances – and it could save some of us hundreds of pounds. This simple thing is switching off unused appliances and devices in our homes.
Home energy-saving firm Loop has compiled data which proves homeowners and renters could save an average of £140 on their annual energy bills this year, while some could save as much as £450.
Obviously it can't be helped that some appliances, like a fridge or freezer have to kept on all the time.
But loads of appliances don't need to be. Items like televisions or smart speakers use up energy which is known as 'Phantom Load'. This is the way in which energy is invisibly drained without users necessarily knowing about it.
While the average UK household could be wasting £140 a year through their Phantom Load, across the UK savings of almost £4 billion can be made if we all switch of things collectively.
4. Don't overfill the kettle
Time for a cuppa? Stop filling the kettle up to the brim – and don't be one of the 23 per cent that re-boils the kettle. Boiling more water than necessary each time could set you back £36 a year, based on calculations from the Energy Saving Trust.
Overfilling the kettle is the biggest drain on the nation's wallet. If we all only boiled the right amount of water it would save £1.1billion!
The Energy Saving Trust has estimated that acting on just these first four energy saving tips alone could save each household £100 a year. The total carbon savings would be the equivalent of taking three million cars off the road.
5. Cover your pans
Make sure you put the lid on saucepans so your food cooks quicker, and turn off the heat on the stove a few minutes before you're ready. Don't worry, things will keep cooking under the residual heat, and this will save energy little and often.
Finally, make sure you always match the size of the cooking ring to the size of the saucepan, to avoid wasting energy by heating the air.
6. Swap the shower head
Next, a clever shower room idea. According to npower, four in five of us (81 per cent) believe showers use less water than baths. Yet your power shower could be drenching you with 50 litres of water more than you'd put a bath.
The Energy Saving Trust predicts that a water-efficient shower head could save a household up to £195 a year. And one minute less in the shower could save you up to £80 annually.
Modern shower heads use current-limiting technology to save up to 40 per cent water usage, while showering under normal water pressure. So if you're sick of the drip, drip, drip from your old, limescale encrusted shower head, now's the time to ditch it. This will cost you around £20-£40, but will save you in the long run.
7. Install a smart meter
As part of a government scheme all energy supplies now install smart meters, at no extra cost, to help you keep track on what you are spending. Monitoring your daily household usage will help your be mindful of energy consumption – helping reduce how much we use and therefore costs.
If you're on a waiting list and need a quick fix to start reading your usage, you can buy independent readers. There's an initial outlay, but you'll soon start saving because of it.
8. Block draughts
Why waste the central heating you're paying good money for? Keep cold draughts out of the house and save on heating bills. A simple draught excluder is a quick, cost-effective way to tackle unwanted winter chills from doors and windows.
Thermal lines curtains are another affordable money-saving system, keeping the heat in so you don't need to crank up the thermostat.
9. Invest in a tumble dryer ball
While a smart utility room is a luxury we'd all love, there can be hidden costs – particularly if you've installed a tumble dryer. On rainy washdays, it can guzzle plenty of energy while tumbling towels and sheets to fluffy and soft perfection. But did you know a tumble dryer ball can help?
The ingenious balls create space between the laundry, airing them and helping reduce the time needed in the dryer.
10. Combine cooking with heating
Combining a stove or range cooker with a boiler means you can have a smart appliance on show that can heat the whole house. Traditional range cookers can heat hot water for the kitchen and bathroom and run the radiators, while providing the kitchen with heat.
A boiler stove provides hot water and can run radiators, and works best in conjunction with other heating systems. Or you could discover how to switch energy supplier and save money.
11. Bleed your radiators
Not feeling the benefit of your central heating system? You could be wasting money. Check your radiators are in good working order. If the top of a radiator feels cooler than the bottom then it probably needs bleeding to get rid of trapped air.
Learning how to bleed a radiator is surprisingly easy and the whole process only takes 10 minutes.
12. Don't cover or block your radiators
When stretched for space in a living room, it can be tempting to shove a sofa or armchair against a radiator. 'Resist the urge,' says John Lawless, heating expert at BestHeating (opens in new tab).
'Anything placed over or next to the radiator will block the airflow, causing it to emit less heat and make the boiler work harder - costing even more money.'
In fact, moving your sofa just a few inches from in front of a radiator could save you £125 a year. 'Moving your sofa even six inches away from the radiator will allow heat to flow around the room much more effectively,' explains property expert Holly Herbert. 'This can save you up to 10 per cent on your bills.'
'The more space between furniture and radiators the better. But because heat rises you can get away with smaller gaps if you don't have much space in the room.'
13. Fill your fridge and freezer with bottles of tap water
According to a report by Wren Kitchen (opens in new tab), the true cost of running a kitchen can set you back around £700 a year. However, it didn't always cost this much. According to Low Carbon Living, energy use – and therefore the cost – of kitchen household appliances has tripled since 1970.
While we can't go back in time, there are a few tips and tricks that can help save energy in the kitchen.
It may seem illogical, but it takes a lot more energy to keep an empty fridge cold than a full one. that's why Location, Location, Location star Phil Spencer recommends you fill yours up with bottles of water.
Meanwhile, the freezer is guilty of using the most energy out of all kitchen appliances. In use 24/7 it can cost on average £280 to run a year. So again, keep it full – if not with food, then with bags of ice.
14. Use your dishwasher's eco function
One of the most helpful household appliances in a busy family home, a dishwasher costs around £53 a year to run.
Turning the dishwasher onto energy-saving mode and reducing the temperature, are all great ways to make savings.
15. Keep your hob clean
On average an electric hob costs around £44 a year. However, any burnt-on food or grease on the hob will absorb the heats making it less efficient.
Always remember to give it a good clean to make sure you aren't using more energy, and spending more money, than you need to.
16. Get a washing-up bowl
You can pick one up for a pound or two but you'll make back the invest meant easily. That's because, although almost one in five of us (18 per cent) think a running tap uses less water when washing up, you could save up to £25 on your water bill by investing in a bowl.
And of course, you're not paying to heat that extra water, you'll save on your energy bills, too.
17. Pick your paint wisely
Another of Phil Spencer's genius energy saving tips is to paint walls with a satin or semi-gloss paint rather than a gloss as it will reflect the heat better. This will keep a room warmer – but will only save you money if you're planning to redecorate, regardless.
18. Don't heat empty rooms
If there is a guest room or storage room you don't spend much time in, save money by not heating it.
'Turn the radiators off and close the doors, particularly in Winter,' advises Holly from webuyanyhouse.com. 'This can cut your bill by as much as a third, depending on how many rooms you're not using.'
19. Leave your blinds and curtains open longer in summer
During the summer, make the most of the suns heat and natural light.
'It's tempting to turn your lights on early in the evening and keep your curtains or blinds closed,' says Holly.
'However, particularly in the summer months, try keeping them open until sunset. The natural light and heat can help save you around 60 per cent on your bills compared to constantly having your lights on.'
20. But close your curtains in winter
A lot of heat can be lost through windows and walls. Stop the great heat escape by closing your curtains and tucking them behind your radiator in the evenings.
21. Clean your radiators
If you notice cold spots at the bottom of your radiator when the heating is on full blast it could mean you've got a build-up of sludge. This is a sign that your radiators need a good clean to get the hot water circulating properly again; our expert guide to how to clean a radiator has all the advice you need.
22. Check your loft insulation
A quarter of a home's heat is lost through poorly insulated roof spaces. Check your roof insulation has a depth of between 250 and 270 mm, to make sure you aren't loosing all that precious heat out of the roof.
23. Move furniture away from external walls
Your furniture arrangement can have a huge impact on how warm or cool you feel in a room. If you keep catching yourself cranking up the heating and your sofa is against an exterior wall, try moving it.
'If you can arrange your house so that most of the furniture sits against internal walls, you should feel warmer,' says Holly. 'You'll feel the heat from throughout the house, rather than the cold seeping through from outside.'
'This should allow you to have the heating on for shorter periods of time and reduce your bill by 5 to 10 per cent.'
24. Lay a carpet
Carpet and underlay can reduce energy bills by around £500 over 10 years, research shows. 'But isn't carpet expensive?' we hear you ask? Well, in reality, the initial cost of a good-quality carpet can be recouped over its lifetime through considerable energy savings.
According to the National Energy Foundation (opens in new tab), the average British home loses 10% of its heat through uninsulated floors. A good-quality carpet, in combination with underlay, can provide sufficient insulation to prevent 15 times as much heat escaping as the same thickness of standard fibreglass floor insulation.
'The trick to ensuring a carpet provides as much insulation as possible is to combine it with the right underlay for your needs. This will increase the overall ‘R-value’ — the measure of resistance to heat flow through a material — of the flooring and help to prolong the life of the carpet itself,' says Richard Sim, digital manager at United Carpets and Beds (opens in new tab).
Which of these energy saving tips will you be trying?
Amy Cutmore is Editor-in-Chief, Homes Audience, working across the Future Homes portfolio. She works on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.
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