We all know that saving energy and reducing our costs are more crucial now than ever.
Whilst none of us can control the rise and fall of energy prices set by multinational companies, there are plenty of steps you can take to make your home more efficient and offset some of the rising costs. Although each step is small, you’ll be surprised just how much of a difference following each one will make.
Save on heating bills
Next to your rent, winter heating is one of the most costly bills any of us have, but there are ways you can limit your gas and electric bills in the winter without feeling the cold. These include:
- Turning down your thermostat by one degree. This seemingly small change, which you’ll hardly notice, could save you up to 10% a year on your energy bills.
- Unblocking your radiators or heaters. If you have a table and chairs in front of your radiator, or maybe even a bed, it’s a good idea to rearrange your furniture as it could be absorbing a lot of the heat.
- Don’t heat every room to its fullest. If you have radiators with temperature controls, set them to a constant but lower temperature in the rooms that you do not use. Make sure you don’t create too much fluctuation as that can cause its own challenges.
- Switching your heating down to a lower but consistent temperature at night and when your home is going to be empty for some time.
- Lowering your hot water usage by spending less time in the shower each day and running shallower baths.
Cook energy efficiently
Besides heating your home, cooking is the next biggest energy consumer, but thankfully there are lots of ways you can reduce electric and gas use when cooking. These include:
- Batch cooking where possible. The Jamie Oliver website, among other popular chefs, has some great budget-friendly batch cooking recipes if you’re after some ideas.
- Keeping lids on saucepans. Your food will cook far quicker, meaning you’ll use less gas or electric and you’ll have the added benefit of controlling the amount of moisture going round the inside of your home.
- Microwaving food when you can or eating more fresh food such as fruits and salads during the summer months.
- Investing in a slow cooker. Cheaper to use than regular ovens and great for batch cooking, you’ll be able to cook and freeze a wide selection of dishes.
Think about your fridge freezer
You cannot turn your fridge freezer on and off to save energy, but there are a few things you can do to make it more energy-efficient, such as:
- Lowering the temperature setting on your fridge.
- Keeping the fridge door shut once you’ve opened it.
- Avoiding placing warm food straight into the fridge as this forces it to work harder.
- Defrosting your freezer regularly as ice build-up makes it less efficient and wastes money.
Washing more wisely
Washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers are all big energy users. That’s why, with a few minor changes, you can make quite a difference to your energy bills, such as:
- Making sure your dishwasher or washing machine is full before putting it on.
- Planning your washing by checking the weather forecast to airdry clothes outside rather than tumble-drying.
- Washing your clothes at 30 degrees rather than 40 creates a saving without affecting how clean your clothes are.
- Using the ‘economy’ setting on your washing machine or dishwasher.
Keep the heat in
Any home can get cold during the winter. So what can you do to stop the heat from escaping?
- Use draught excluders at the bottom of your doors.
- Close your windows.
- Fit heavier curtains.
- If you notice things that might be affecting the way heat is contained in your home, ask your landlord or their management agency for advice.
Unplug or turn off
Believe it or not, simply unplugging your appliances when not in use could save you around 5% on your energy bills. Here’s a list of some of the most common appliances people forget or don’t think to unplug:
- Mobile phone chargers
- Games consoles
- Digital radios
Become more lighting efficient
Lighting is another significant energy cost, but how can you reduce your energy bills without being left in the dark?
- Some energy companies supply free bulbs. Ask for old lightbulbs to be replaced with energy-efficient LED bulbs (if possible).
- Turn lights off in rooms you’re not using, such as hallways, bathrooms and kitchens.
- Make full use of the natural light by opening blinds and curtains and even removing net curtains if you feel it’d make a difference.
Know the best times of day
Being more aware of how much energy you are using at different times of the day can positively impact usage. For example, you may pay more to use energy during the day than at night. So, find out when your energy tariff is cheaper and try to use the more energy-thirsty appliances during this time.
If you have a smart meter fitted with a digital monitor, you’ll be able to see how much each activity costs you.
Speak to your landlord or managing agent
If you have questions, your landlord or managing agency are always happy to work with you to advise, or where possible, provide practical solutions that will help you manage your energy consumption as efficiently as you can.
No suggestions are unwelcome, and some solutions can be a quick fix.