As energy prices rise through the roof, learning how to save energy at home has never been more important.
In July 2023 energy prices are set to drop as the energy price cap decreases to £2,074 (30p per kWh of electricity and 8p per kWh of gas). This will be a saving of £426 compared to the price guarantee.
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.
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.
If you're concerned about how to save energy in homes, these small changes could make a big difference in helping cut out any unnecessary wastage, and save those all-important pennies. It's also worth looking at a price comparison website, like our sister site Go.Compare, if you could also reduce your energy bill by switching to a cheaper tariff or supplier.
How to save energy at home – 27 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% 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.
In bedrooms, turning down the thermostat even further and adding one of the best electric blankets to the bed instead can also be cost-effective and energy-efficient solution for night-time warmth.
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 the Energy Saving Trust by swapping a 100 watt incandescent bulb to an LED you could save energy adding up to £15 per bulb per year (based on the average July 2023 energy price cap)
'LED bulbs use a fraction of the electricity compared to normal bulbs,' explains Holly Herbert, property expert from webuyanyhouse.co.uk. 'Most LEDs use at least 75% less energy, saving you a huge amount on your bill.'
3. Turn off lights
Turning of lights in a room when you're not in them might sound like a no-brainer, but it's so easy to forget last out lights off. According to the Energy Saving Trust, an average four person household could save around £25 turning off lights in rooms that are not in use.
4. Stop leaving tech on standby
One way in which everyone (both owners and renters) can save energy and 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.
Energy Saving Trust revealed that homeowners could save around £65 a year by turning appliances off standby.
Obviously it can't be helped that some appliances, like a fridge or freezer have to kept on all the time. However, loads of other appliances should be switched off at the wall and unplugged if possible.
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 off things collectively.
5. 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% that re-boils the kettle. Boiling more water than necessary each time could save you £13 year, based on calculations from the Energy Saving Trust.
Kettles will vary in the amount of energy they use, but you can easily work out how much it costs to boil a kettle by checking the wattage and price you pay for energy per pence/kWH.
6. Wait to run a full washing machine load
Research by Thames water and Gov.uk found that 68% of households are only putting the dishwasher and washing machine on when they are completely full in a bid to save energy. It is a savvy move to wait until a washing machine or dishwasher is full as the appliances will use the same amount of energy to clean fewer items.
So it's smarter to wait to do fewer washes with more items, than waste energy on more half full washes.
7. Avoid the tumble dryer
Tumble dryers use a shocking amount of energy, they can cost upwards of £190 a year to run based on usage twice a week. You can easily work out how much it costs to run a tumble dryer yourself based on your specific model if you know the kWh.
As a more cost-effective alternative consider drying clothes outside on a washing line or investing in one of the best heated clothes airers, which usually cost around 6p an hour to run.
8. 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 save energy rather than simply heating the air.
9. Swap the shower head
Next, a clever shower room idea. According to npower, four in five of us (81%) 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 £70 a year. And one minute less in the shower could save you up to £95 annually.
Modern shower heads use current-limiting technology to save up to 40% 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.
10. 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 of what you are spending. Monitoring your daily household usage will help you be mindful of energy consumption – helping with how to save energy in homes and the resulting 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.
Not all homes are suitable for a smart meter so do check if you can get one. If not it is still a good idea to look into how much it costs to run each appliance in your household manually. You can find this out by looking at the amount you pay per pence/kWh on your energy bill and multiplying it by the appliance wattage.
11. Regularly service the boiler
The key to lower energy bills is an energy efficient home and this start with your boiler and heating system. A boiler should be serviced once a year to ensure it is working well.
‘Having a falsely or broken boiler and heating system can definitely waste energy and make energy bills soar so an inspection will bring up issues that can cause this,’ say Rob Bennett and Pat Murphy of The Pimlico Group. ‘Hence, this is essential to make sure you have an energy-efficient heating home. Less waste means less consumption and less money spent on bills.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
'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.'
'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 from webuyanyhouse.com.
'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.'
17. Fill your fridge and freezer with bottles of tap water
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. An F-rated 70/30 287-litre fridge freezer uses 275 kWh per year, making its annual running costs £82.50 (based on July 2023 energy price cap). So again, keep it full – if not with food, then with bags of ice.
You can work out how much your fridge freezer costs to run yourself if you know the kWh per year, and what you pay for energy per pence/kWh.
18. Use your dishwasher's eco function
One of the most helpful household appliances in a busy family home, however, according to the Energy Saving Trust a household could save £17 a month by reducing the use of the dishwasher by once a week.
Turning the dishwasher onto energy-saving mode and reducing the temperature, are all also great ways to make savings.
19. Keep your hob clean
On average an electric hob only costs around between £0.01 and £0.02 per use. 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. After all, save the pennies and the pounds look after themselves!
20. Reduce your shower by 1 minute
Taking shorter showers and turning the tap off when you’re brushing your teeth isn’t just about conserving water, it can also save energy too. If you regularly leave the hot tap running you could be wasting precious energy to heat the water up.
‘An average home uses almost 20% of its total energy consumption to heat water through cooking, showering, or doing laundry,’ says Rob Bennett and Pat Murphy, Technical Support Managers at the Pimlico group.
According to Thameswater if a family of four reduced their showering time from 10 minutes to just 9 minutes they could save £52 on energy bills each year. Not to mention £45 on metered water bills.
21. 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%) 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 unnecessary extra water, so you'll save on your energy bills, too.
22. Pick your paint wisely
Another of property expert 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.
23. 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.'
24. 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 from webuyanyhouse.com.
'However, particularly in the summer months, try keeping them open until sunset. The natural light and heat can help save you around 60% on your bills compared to constantly having your lights on.'
25. 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.
26. 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.
27. 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 losing all that precious heat out of the roof.
‘This can sound a bit repetitive, but this is our main advice as is the most effective way to save on energy bills. Make sure these are properly insulated to reduce heat loss and save on energy bills: loft, roof, draught-proofing, windows, doors, pipelines, tanks, radiators and blocking gaps,’ say The Pimlico Group.
A well-insulated home means you won't have to rely on boilers or aircon to adjust temperatures at home. The Pimlico group estimates that it could save up to £500 per year in energy bills.
28. 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 from webuyanyhouse.com. '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 5-10%.'
29. 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, 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.
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Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked 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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