Even after Big Energy Saving Week, we're still thinking about how we can save energy and do more to help our planet - and our wallets. We're spending more time at home than ever, and whether you’re at home full-time, hybrid working or spending most of the day away from your home, there are simple steps you can follow to save money, save energy and produce fewer carbon emissions. We've asked Dean, our Health and Safety Manager, and Steph, our Graduate Business Partner (Sustainability) to share 10 top tips for saving energy - and money - at home.
More than 60% of the money spent on energy bills is for heating and hot water. Installing a room thermostat, programmer and thermostatic radiator valves and using these controls efficiently could save you money and cut your carbon emissions by 305kg.
- If you have a programmer, set your heating to match your needs. For example, set your heating to turn on half an hour before you get up and to turn off half an hour before you go to bed.
- If you have adjustable radiator valves, turn radiators down in unused rooms - but not off, as this can lead to damp and mould.
- If you have full heating controls, turning your thermostat down by just 1°C could cut your heating bill by 10%, which could be an average saving of £75 per year.
- Next time you find yourself going to turn the thermostat up, grab another layer. Wearing lots of layers is warmer than wearing one thick jumper.
Did you know that lighting accounts for around 15% of a typical household’s electricity bill? Switching from a 60W standard bulb to an energy efficient 20W bulb could save you £5-£10 a year on your electricity bill per bulb! Energy saving bulbs use around 80% less energy and last up to ten times longer, so switching could lead to some significant savings in the long run. Plus, they can be recycled - making them even more environmentally friendly!
But remember, just switching the lights off when you leave a room will make a difference! No matter what kind of bulb you have, this could save you around £14 on your annual energy bills.
You can save around £40 a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode. Almost all electrical appliances can be turned off at the plug without upsetting their programming. Alternatively, consider getting a standby saver or smart plug which allows you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go.
Remember to take your chargers out of the socket too. Mobile phone, laptop, tablet and even toothbrush chargers all use some power when they aren’t connected to anything for charging.
Did you know 15% of heat loss occurs through draughts? Smaller fixes, like fitting your hot water cylinder with an insulating jacket, could save around £20 a year and using draught excluders for doors, windows and chimneys could help stop heat loss and save around £30 a year on energy bills.
Closing doors to rooms that aren’t in use can also make a difference, and remember to use your curtains and blinds in all rooms. Letting light in during the day uses warmth from the sun to help warm your home and closing them at night keeps the heat in.
Kettles eat up 6% of all the electricity supplied to British homes! Boiling the amount you need rather than a full kettle is one of the easiest ways to cut your energy usage and could save you £8 per year on your electricity bill. Descaling your kettle can not only make it last longer but also improves the energy efficiency.
While we’re at boiling point – always make sure to boil your kettle first for cooking. This is 10% more efficient than boiling water from cold on the hob!
You should also make sure that pans are on the right size hob, or you could waste up to 40% of the heat. Keep lids on to decrease cooking time and reduce condensation in your home.
Fridges and freezers use electricity all the time, so the more efficient, the better.
- Keep your fridge/freezer at the correct temperature, this is 2°C to 5°C for a fridge and -18°C for a freezer. Avoid putting hot food into the fridge, and avoid leaving space in your fridge or freezer as this increases the energy demand to keep it cold.
- When your fridge or freezer ices up, it uses a lot more energy. A regular defrost will improve efficiency… and stop that annoying noise when you open the trays!
- If you can, avoid putting your fridge or freezer next to something warm like an oven or boiler, otherwise it will use more energy to cool efficiently. And remember to clean your fridge all the way around - vacuuming the coils on the back of your fridge will take away dust, to help it run efficiently.
The average person uses 150 litres of water a day, and about 12% of a household’s energy bill is from heating water for showers, baths and hot water taps (for a gas heated home).
- Lots of us enjoy a long soak in the bath but swapping just one bath a week with a four-minute shower could save you up to £10 a year on your energy bills. Plus, shortening your shower by one minute each day can save up to £8 a year off your energy bills, per person.
- A dripping tap can waste more than 5,500 litres of water a year, so make sure your taps are properly turned off. If you notice a leak, check out the Help Hub for advice on how to isolate it and report a repair.
- Using a bowl to wash up rather than a running tap can save you money on your energy and water bills if you have a water meter. A running tap lets out more than five litres of water a minute, so turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing your face as well.
If you’ve got gas central heating, it’s a good idea to take the time to bleed your radiators regularly to make sure the hot water can circulate effectively. We’d recommend at least once a year. Not sure how? Visit our Help Hub and watch our video showing the process.
If you can, avoid blocking your radiator by furniture and dry your clothes on a clothes horse rather than a radiator with furniture to save energy. Drying clothes on radiators blocks heat from warming the room and causes condensation.
You could save around £20 a year from your energy bill just by using your washing machine more carefully.
- Use your washing machine on a 30-degree cycle instead of higher temperatures. This could save £10 a year on energy.
- Try to wash your clothes in your washing machine when you have a full load. Reducing your washing machine use by one run per week for a year could save you an extra £10.
- Avoid using a tumble dryer for your clothes. You could save up to £40 a year by swapping the tumble dryer for the washing line or drying your clothes inside on a clothes horse.
- Appliances like washing machines and dishwashers all have filters. Cleaning them regularly makes your appliance work more efficiently, and will improve the appliance lifespan too.
If you're thinking of updating your appliances, doing it sooner rather than later could help you save money in the long run. Look for appliances with the highest efficiency rating. The EU energy label rates products from A++ (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and by law the label must be shown on all refrigerators, laundry appliances and dishwashers. An A rated washing machine will use less than seven pence worth of electricity per cycle and save on the amount of water used. Visit the Energy Saving Trust’s guide to choosing home appliances.
Did you know you can also claim tax relief for increased expenses if you must work from home? Visit the GOV website for more information.
To find out more about saving energy and money at home, visit Simple Energy Advice. For further advice on managing your bills, speak to our Money advice team. Our friendly money coaches can make sure that you're getting all the support you're entitled to. You can speak to one of our money coaches on 0300 456 2531 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.