Energy usage is amongst the highest monthly expenses for UK homeowners, with a large slice of the household budget going on these bills. When combined with the overall cost of living, many homes are experiencing a real strain on their finances. So, implementing some useful energy-saving tips could make a significant impact on households around the UK.
Useful tips to reduce your energy bill
Despite the energy-efficient nature of many modern-day appliances, the amount of energy used in the average British household still means a substantial bill being paid 12 times a year. But fear not, there are many ways to mitigate your monthly energy expenses.
Crown Energy is always here to help. We have compiled a list of nine areas where energy-saving tips can be applied starting right now. Applying these tips can help to reduce your energy usage and bills, every month.
1. Heating your home
Living in a colder climate like the UK means that a substantial portion of your energy bills will be due to the considerable use of heating and hot water. Fortunately, there are many adjustments you can make to reduce this usage.
- Reduce the temperature on your thermostat:
First and foremost, you should consider turning down the thermostat in your house. Slightly reducing the temperature means saving a significant amount over a year.
- Reduce the flow temperature on your combi boiler:
You can reduce the flow temperature on your combi boiler by as little as 9% (80°C – 60°C) and see a notable decrease in your energy bills.
Please note that not all systems are adjustable in this way. It may be a good idea to check with your supplier before doing so.
- Only heat your house when you’re home:
Your central heating being on while you’re not at home is a needless expense. Turning on your central heating only when the house is occupied, could save you a lot of money over a year.
- Avoid heating unoccupied rooms:
By only heating rooms that are currently in use, you could save yourself some money. You can accomplish this by turning off the individual radiator valves in all unoccupied rooms.
Furthermore, by closing adjoining room doors, you can ensure the heated rooms retain their warmth.
- Draughtproof your home:
A draughty home is a cold home. By blocking any unwanted gaps that allow cold air in, or warm air out, you can insulate your house and save money on energy bills. Areas that could be causing a draught include:
- Door fittings
- Hot water pipes
- Window fittings
- Insulate your home:
Ensuring your insulation is not too old, and that it meets the UK’s current insulation regulations will mean your house will lose far less heat. Although replacing or repairing your home’s insulation may cost a fair amount, this decision could save you a lot of money over time.
- Make sure to bleed your radiators:
When air gets trapped inside your radiators, they will heat up far more slowly. This means that radiators become less efficient in heating your home and costing you more energy.
- Invest in a boiler cover:
Although purchasing a new boiler cover – if required – will be an additional expense, the installation will ensure a more efficient boiler that uses less energy. These installations usually include efficiency checks.
- Replace your boiler if necessary:
Replacing a boiler can be a costly affair. However, a boiler that isn’t functioning properly will cost you far more in the long run, than replacing one that is inefficient.
- Trap the heat in your home:
The simple act of closing your curtains or blinds can prevent your home from losing up to 17% of its heat. So, it may be a good idea to do this before you head out for work – especially if nobody is home all day.
- Invest in double glazing:
If your home currently has single panes in its windows, it may be time for you to invest in double glazing. Not only will this keep the house warmer by trapping in the warm air and keeping out the cold, but it also helps to soundproof the house from external noises.
- Use alternative heat sources to keep warm:
Instead of turning up the central heating, you can use hot water bottles or electric blankets to reduce your heating bills. Electric blankets, for example, use as little as 3p per hour on the highest setting – far less than your radiators.
2. Reducing energy use in the kitchen
A lot of energy is used in the kitchen. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce your usage in this part of the home.
- Don’t overfill your kettle:
You’re wasting energy by boiling a full kettle of water every time you want a cuppa. It’s far more efficient to only boil the amount of water you need at that moment. This simple change will save you a decent amount over the course of a year.
- Invest in a slow cooker:
Slow cookers are one of the most energy-efficient appliances to cook with, as they use roughly the same amount of energy as conventional lightbulbs. It’s also very convenient for those who want to complete other tasks while their food is cooking.
- Avoid using large pots and pans:
Using large pots or pans to cook means using more energy, as they take longer to heat up and more energy to maintain that temperature. By using the smallest pot or pan possible to cook what you need, less energy will be required.
- Keep the lids on your pots and pans when cooking:
Keeping the lids on will heat your food up quicker, and keep it hot in the pot, even after the stove has been turned off. This means no wasting energy on reheating meals.
- Don’t open the oven door whilst cooking:
When preparing a meal in the oven, try not to open the oven door unless necessary. Every time you open the door, the oven temperature can drop dramatically – by up to 25°C. Your oven will then need to use more energy to bring the heat up again to the desired cooking temperature.
- Purchase a double steamer:
When using a double steamer, you can layer your vegetables on top of one another to reduce the energy required to cook your meal.
- Defrost your freezer:
When you defrost your freezer regularly, less energy will be required to keep it running at the desired temperature.
- Make sure the back of your fridge is kept clean:
You may be surprised to learn that a dirty or dusty coil at the back of your fridge can create heat by trapping air. By cleaning this area, your fridge will require less energy to maintain its low temperature.
- No partial dishwasher loads
An easy way to waste money is to run your dishwasher when it’s not filled. It’s also a good idea to set your dishwasher to a shorter or more economical cycle. Doing this will help you to reduce your energy costs. It is, however, a good idea to run a hotter cycle now and again to ensure there isn’t any unwanted bacteria in the machine.
3. Energy-saving tips for the bathroom
The bathroom is another area offering opportunities to save money on energy bills, especially through water conservation.
- Fix leaky taps:
If your tap is leaking or dripping this could cost you a lot of unnecessary extra expenses over time. By replacing the washers or having the problem fixed by a plumber, you’ll save both water and money.
- Don’t leave taps running:
An easy way to conserve water is to turn off the taps when brushing your teeth, washing your face, or shaving. By only turning on the tap when water is required, you could save up to six litres of water per minute.
- Reduce your water pressure in the shower:
By slightly turning down the water pressure while showering, you can save plenty of H₂O. It’s also a good idea to invest in a water-efficient showerhead. Although a high-pressure head may feel good, it can also use more water than a bath.
- Reduce your time in the shower:
Shortening your shower times will decrease the amount of water you use and the amount you spend.
- Have shallower baths:
As great as a deep bath is, it takes a large quantity of water to have one. By reducing the depth, you’ll save a bundle on water bills.
4. Use of electronics at home
Our electronics use a substantial amount of energy every day. It’s worthwhile applying the following tips to reduce their consumption.
- Don’t overcharge your appliances:
Leaving your smartphones, laptops, power banks, or other rechargeable devices plugged in after being fully charged will waste energy and money. It’s also possible to damage their batteries this way.
- Don’t leave chargers plugged in:
Remove the charger from the outlet after you have finished charging an appliance. If you leave the charger plugged in after you unplug the device, the charger will continue to use energy.
- Don’t leave appliances on standby mode:
By turning off your appliances at the plug point – instead of leaving them on standby – you could save around £30 per year.
Another option is to use timer plugs to schedule the turning on and off, of appliances.
- Consider buying A-rated appliances:
The next time you need to buy an electrical appliance, you should check its energy rating. Appliances with higher energy ratings will use less energy and save you more money. This is especially true with fridges, freezers, washing machines, and dishwashers.
5. Save on lighting
There is no escaping the need for lighting. There are, however, ways to reduce your energy consumption and save money.
- Don’t leave the lights on:
Never leave a light on in an empty room. This is perhaps the easiest way to prevent energy and money wastage. Turning off lights when you leave a room could save you at least £20 per year.
- Dust your light bulbs and lampshades:
Not dusting your lightbulbs and lampshades will cause the light they emit to dim. This often leads to people turning on other light sources to improve visibility. This will require more energy and cost you more money. By simply dusting your lightbulbs regularly, you can save on energy and reduce this cost.
- Fit your security lights with timers:
Fitting your security lights with timers or motion detectors means they will only turn on when required. This will not only save you money on energy bills but will reduce light pollution at night.
6. How to best use appliances
Along with the tips already provided under ‘Use of electronics at home,’ there are other practices to apply when using appliances that can save energy and money.
- Washing machines:
- Always try to use the cold or the 30°C cycle whenever washing your clothes. Not using the higher temperature settings could save you approximately £40 per year. You should, however, run a higher temperature cycle occasionally, to kill any lingering bacteria in the machine.
- Always try to use the shortest washing cycle possible for your load. By doing this, you’ll be using less water – heated to a lower temperature – thereby saving water, energy, and money. These cycles are also less harsh on clothing – saving you even more money over time.
- To avoid wasting water, energy, and money, you should wait until you have a full load before running the washing machine. It’s also important to remember not to overload the machine as your clothes will not wash properly. This may lead to the rewashing of clothing.
- Pre-treat stains on clothing before using the washing machine. In this way, you’ll reduce the chance of having to rewash items to remove blemishes.
- A high spin speed in your washing cycle will dry your clothes more effectively. This may mean not having to use your tumble dryer.
- Make sure to shake out clothing when removing it from the washing machine. By doing this, they won’t be knotted or tangled up when placed in the tumble dryer. Knotted clothes take longer to dry. This means more energy will be required.
- Don’t overload your tumble dryer. These machines require room for hot air to move around to function effectively. Overloaded dryers will use up far more time and energy to dry clothing.
- Keep an eye on the clothes and remove them as soon as they are dry. Some tumble dryer cycles will continue after the clothes are dry to prevent them from creasing. This will cost you extra money.
- If you need to do more than one load in the dryer, do them one after another. This way, the dryer will retain some heat for the next load, requiring less energy to heat up again.
- Keep the filter and vents of your tumble dryer clean of lint and fluff. This will help your machine to operate more effectively, thereby saving you money.
- Set your machine to auto-dry instead of a timed cycle. This will reduce the amount of energy required to dry your clothing.
- Lastly, try not to use your tumble dryer unnecessarily. If possible, hang your wet items on an indoor rack or an outdoor wash line on dry days, this could save you as much as £70 per year.
7. Energy-saving in the garden
Gardens are another area where you can reduce your energy usage.
- Consider buying an electric lawn mower:
By replacing a petrol-powered lawn mower with an electric alternative, you can save yourself a lot of money. The cost of energy required to run an electric mower will be less than the cost of fuel required to run a petrol model. Electric versions are also far more convenient to operate and maintain.
- Water your garden at night or in the early morning:
During summer, it’s a good idea to water your plants when there is no direct sunlight on them. Therefore, your garden will require less water due to less evaporation.
- Cover your pool or jacuzzi:
A great way to save water is to cover your pool or jacuzzi when not in use. Not only will this prevent evaporation and the need to fill them up during Summer, but it will also trap heat underneath the covering. If you have a heated pool, that will reduce the amount of energy required to heat the water.
- Use timers on your pool pump:
By fitting a timer to your pool pump, your pool system will only turn on when required, reducing its energy consumption, and saving you money.
8. Choose a smart meter
By installing a smart meter in your home, you can keep a close eye on your energy consumption.
- These appliances provide the homeowner with information on their energy usage. A smart electricity meter, for example, is connected to the mains and will inform you – in real-time – how much electricity you are using at any time.
- Gas smart meters work a little differently. They are battery-powered and remain in sleep mode most of the time – engaging every 30 minutes to take a gas usage reading.
- Read our guide: UK Smart Meters: Everything you need to know and learn more about smart meters – and their advantages and disadvantages.
9. Other ways to save energy
Along with the energy-saving tips mentioned above, there are many other ways to save energy and money.
- Take advantage of natural light:
By keeping your windows clean, more natural light will come into your home – reducing your need for artificial lighting.
By arranging the furniture in your rooms in a way that doesn’t obstruct natural light from shining in, you won’t need to rely on artificial lighting as often.
- Teach family members about energy conservation:
It’s said that children light up their parents’ lives. This is especially true when it comes to kids leaving on lights around the house. By educating your children, or other house occupants about energy conservation, you can have the entire family working towards saving energy and money. This can leave a little more money in your pocket to spend on fun family activities.
- Compare energy quotes:
One of the best ways to save on energy costs is to look at the rates of numerous energy suppliers. By comparing the rates of different energy suppliers, you can see how good your current deal is.
- Submit regular readings:
If you don’t have a smart meter in your home, it’s a good idea to submit regular readings to your energy supplier. This will eliminate or reduce the need for estimated meter readings which can result in higher energy bills.