25 home energy saving tips


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25 home energy saving tips

Gas and electricity can be a major expense for households in the UK. In fact, according to figures provided by Ofgem, the average variable yearly tariff for a dual fuel customer was £1,254 as of May 2019. This represented around five per cent of a typical household budget. Given how expensive energy can be, it pays to find ways to cut back on your spending. One action you can take is to scour the market for the best deals from domestic energy suppliers, and switch to a more competitive tariff if one is available.

There are also certain steps you might be able to take at home to reduce the amount of gas and electricity you use.

How to save energy at home

If you’re looking for ways to make your household leaner and greener, keep reading. Here are 25 home energy saving tips that could help you to make major savings.

1. Install a smart thermostat
Smart thermostats are available with a range of features that make it easier to heat your home more efficiently. For example, they can give you multi-room control and offer ‘geofencing’ functions that track when you enter and leave your property. They can even feature draught detection and holiday modes, and they can provide feedback on your heating patterns.

2. Turn your heating down
Did you know that turning your heating down by just one degree could mean you save as much as £80 a year on your energy bills? You might not even notice the difference if you set your thermostat at a slightly lower temperature.

3. Layer up
To help you resist the urge to ramp your heating up when chilly weather strikes, try wearing more layers around the house. Many of us are used to wearing t-shirts and thin tops at home, even in the middle of winter, but by putting on a jumper and wearing a pair of thick socks and slippers, you should feel comfortable even if the temperature in your house is a little lower than you’re used to. You could also put an extra blanket on your bed.

4. Turn radiators off in rooms you’re not using
There’s no point in paying to heat areas of your home that you’re not using. Whether there’s a spare bedroom that no one’s sleeping in, a study you seldomly use or a dining room that you only sit down in on special occasions, there might be various parts of your home that don’t need heating for much of the time. Turning radiators off in these areas can be a simple but effective way to save energy at home.

5. Don’t block radiators with furniture
You might not pay much attention to your radiators when you’re positioning furniture in your home, but this can be a mistake. If you block these heaters with items of furniture, you can prevent them from warming your rooms as efficiently as possible. Covering radiators with curtains will have a similar effect.

6. Invest in a new boiler
Modern condensing boilers are designed to be much more efficient than older models. So, if you have an old, outdated appliance, now could be the time to get a new one. According to the Energy Saving Trust, replacing a G-rated boiler in a semi-detached home with a new A-rated model complete with programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator controls could save up to £205 a year. The savings in a detached home could be even greater at around £315.

7. Switch appliances off at the mains
You may not realise it, but many appliances use electricity even when they are in standby mode. For instance, keeping a laptop plugged in at all times (even when it’s fully charged) can waste around 4.5 kWh of electricity a week, or 234 kWh a year. Failing to turn appliances off at the plug after use could cost your household around £30 a year. So, it makes sense to get into the habit of switching electricals off at the plug.

8. Replace outdated tech with more efficient appliances
When it’s time to replace appliances, from your TV to your tumble dryer, make sure you look out for models with an impressive energy efficiency rating. Over the lifetime of a large appliance, such as a fridge freezer, you stand to save potentially hundreds of pounds in electricity costs if you opt for an A+++ model as opposed to a less efficient design.

9. Find ways to save water
Reducing your water usage can be an important part of saving energy at home. For example, buying a water saving aerated showerhead can save you up to around £18 per person a year on your energy bills. Perhaps you’d benefit from installing a shower timer too, and it’s now possible to get water efficient taps, toilets, dishwashers and washing machines.

10. Make the switch to more efficient lighting
If you currently use traditional halogen light bulbs in your home, you’re probably spending more than you need to. Both light emitting diodes (LEDs) and compact fluorescent lamps (CLFs) are much more energy efficient options. Replacing a halogen bulb with an LED of the same brightness will save you around £2 a year. This may not sound like much, but when you think about how many bulbs you use in total, it’s easy to see how the home energy savings can really mount up.

11. Think carefully about how you use your lights
Try to be careful in terms of how you use the lights in your house. For example, it’s useful to get into the habit of turning them off each time you leave a room, even if only for a short while. To make this easier, try to position switches in convenient places (such as at both the top and bottom of your stairs and at each end of a hallway). Also, fit timers or sensors for outdoor lights.

12. Wash clothes at a lower temperature

Homeowner adjusting the settings of their washing machine

Do you tend to wash your clothes at 40 degrees without even really thinking about it? If so, you might want to try turning the temperature down to 30 degrees. This may still do the job, and it’s better for your wallet and the environment. On a related point, you could also try cutting the number of washing loads you do by making sure you wait until you have a full load before using your machine. Eliminating one washing cycle per week could save you around £8 a year in electricity.

13. Air-dry your laundry
Especially on warm or windy days, it’s best to air-dry your laundry rather than put it in the tumble dryer. Another top tip when it comes to saving electricity at home is to take your clothes off the line or out of the dryer before they are completely dry. When they are still very slightly damp, they will iron much more quickly and easily.

14. Don’t put warm food into your fridge
Putting warm food into your fridge will mean the appliance has to work harder to keep to the required temperature, increasing energy usage. This habit is also bad from a food hygiene perspective, so it’s really important to make sure you avoid doing it. Other energy saving suggestions include making sure you never leave your fridge door open for longer than necessary and defrosting this appliance regularly to stop ice building up.

15. Only fill the kettle with the water you will use
When you put the kettle on, only fill it with the amount of water you’re actually going to use. Being careful in this way can save you around £6 a year in electricity.

16. Batch cook to save energy
Batch cooking isn’t just time saving and a great way to cut your spending on ingredients; it can also help you to lower your energy usage. By cooking a few portions at once in your oven, you’ll only need to heat it up once rather than cooking from scratch. Another of our energy saving tips for the home is to turn your oven off a few minutes before your food is ready. The residual heat will finish the cooking process. Just make sure your meal is heated to the correct temperature before serving.

17. Replace single glazing with double glazing
Nearly a fifth (18 per cent) of the heat lost from homes escapes through the windows. This means that replacing single glazing with double glazing can have a big impact on your bills. Installing A-rated double glazing in an entirely single glazed detached house could save between £120 and £155 a year in heating costs, while the potential savings for a semi-detached house are between £80 and £110.

18. Find other ways to reduce heat loss through windows
If getting double glazing is too much of an expense, you might want to consider secondary glazing as an alternative. This involves fitting a second pane of glass and a frame within the current window reveal. Secondary glazing isn’t as well sealed or efficient as double glazing, but it will be much cheaper to fit. Even something as simple as making sure you have well-fitting curtains and blinds can reduce heat loss through your windows. Just make sure that you draw them at dusk and keep them open during the day to allow sunlight to enter and heat your rooms.

19. Improve your draught proofing
To prevent draughts from driving up your heating bills, seal gaps around your doors and windows, and fill cracks in your floors or skirting boards. It’s also a good idea to line your letterbox, and to block any unused chimneys.

20. Insulate your walls
The majority of homes built from the 1990s onwards feature wall insulation. However, if your building is older, it might not. Given that around a third of all heat lost in uninsulated homes escapes through the walls, this can be a big problem. Depending on the design of your home, you may have cavity or solid walls, and this will affect the type of insulation you can install. If you’re not sure about your options, ask for expert advice.

21. Insulate your roof
A quarter of heat in an uninsulated house is lost through the roof, so now could be the time to insulate your attic, loft or flat roof. If your loft is easy to access and you have no damp problems, this is usually a very simple process and may even be something you can do yourself using rolls of mineral wool. This insulation can last for at least 40 years and pay for itself many times over.

22. Insulate hot water pipes
If your hot water pipes are uninsulated, the efficiency of your central heating system may be reduced. So, by making sure these pipes are covered with appropriate heat-retaining materials, you stand to save money on your heating and hot water.

23. Install renewable energy technology
To reduce your household’s reliance on mains energy, you might want to consider installing renewable energy solutions. Options include solar PV, solar thermal, air source and ground source heat pumps, and small-scale wind turbines. You can use the energy generated by these systems, and if you have surplus electricity, you can export it to the grid in return for payments via the government’s Smart Export Guarantee.

24. Install a smart meter
A smart meter can help you to keep track of your energy use and make it easier to identify ways to lower your spending. It will also help to ensure that your energy bills are as accurate as possible.

25. Educate your household on ways to save energy
By educating the people in your household on different ways to save energy at home, you can ensure that everyone under your roof adopts greener habits – which is good news for your electricity and gas bills over the long term.

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