As promised last week and with the cost of energy at an all time high, I thought I’d pull together some energy saving ideas we can all try. Hopefully these will reduce our costs but still mean we can stay warm.
There are a few myths flying around at the moment, so I’ve also fact checked these:
I remember my Dad going round turning off lights in the house and mumbling about costs when I was a teenager. I now do this to our teenager but I’ve never really looked into how true it is. However, I’ve just found this article from the Energy Saving Trust and its quite illuminating – sorry I couldn’t resist that one!! https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/lighting/.
It gives the energy saving benefits of switching from traditional bulbs to energy saving ones and provides a lot of useful information about different types of bulbs and their benefits. The savings are large too, from between £3.00 and £9.00 per bulb, per year. This is well worth a read.
So whilst the types of bulbs you use can give you the biggest savings, just turning off lights when you’re not in a room will save an average family around £14.00 per annum.
Heating and draught proofing
As a general rule of thumb, draught proofing your home, could save you around £40.00 per annum
Turn down your thermostats by 1-2 degrees. For each degree you cut your thermostat by, you’ll be saving around 4% off your annual bill. This would mean a saving of around £65 per annum.
Should you leave heating on all the time? – There’s been advice in recent years suggesting you should keep your heating on low all. The energy saving trust insist this is a myth and you should only turn on your heating when you need it.
Where you can, move furniture away from blocking your heaters. This will enable warm air to flow more efficiently around the room.
Turn radiators off, or lower the temperature if you have radiator thermostats in rooms you don’t use so much. Make sure you regularly bleed your radiators. This stop air pockets which make your radiators less energy efficient.
Keep internal doors closed, especially from hallways into living areas.
Consider replacing thin curtains with thermal ones and putting curtains up over external doors.
Use draught excluders
Close all curtains at night
Adding any additional layer to windows, to reduce draughts will help. Even as a short term fix, using cling film. Although secondary glazing would be far better.
On my list of things to do, is a how to guide for tenants. As part of this, there will be advice on radiator bleeding and boiler pressures. Checking these regularly will save you time in waiting for an engineer to come out and often save you on your heating costs too. We have a stash of radiator keys in the office, so if you’re one of our tenants and don’t have one, please pop in when you’re passing.
Wash at the bathroom sink, rather than having a shower every day. Or take a 4 minute shower (you can set a timer) – saving £65 per annum. There’s the added bonus of water saving of around £100 per annum too.
Again, more related to water use; turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth, or washing your face. By doing so, will save you around 6 litres of water for every minute you’re not running the tap.
Don’t overfill the kettle, just boil what you need. Doing this small thing will save an average household around £11 per annum.
You might want to consider using an aerator to your existing kitchen tap. These reduce the amount of water coming out and could save you around £22 per annum.
Use a slow cooker and or a microwave instead of the oven as much as possible
Don’t pre-heat your grill
Cook in batches and freeze
Turn your oven off around ten minutes before the food is due to be cooked. The oven will retain its heat and continue cooking without any additional energy required.
Only run your dishwasher when its full could save you £14.00 per annum. This would be an even greater saving if you are able to take advantage of overnight cheaper electricity. But if you have a dishwasher, don’t suddenly start switching to hand washing. Dishwashers are more efficient, as you can wash a lot of items with a small amount of temperature controlled water. So you’ll use less water and less energy by using a dishwasher.
Washing Machine – Wash clothes at 30 degrees instead of 40 – saving £28 per annum.
Do full laundry loads and if possible select the eco setting.
Tumble dryers – Not using one can save you around £55 per year but be mindful that if you’ve taken measures to draught proof your home and then start drying clothes indoors, you’re going to have a damp and mould issue if you don’t property vent the room your drying the clothes in. Therefore, line drying where possible is a better alternative.
The National House Building Council advises that if you need to dry your clothes indoors, open the window and close the door of the room where the clothes are drying, so that moisture can escape, rather than circulate around your home.
There general advice is to unplug chargers and turn appliances off instead of leaving them on standby, as soon as a device is fully charged. However, whilst doing so, will prolong the life of a phone or laptops battery as there’s less risk of overcharging, the energy saving is minimal with modern day appliances. But every little helps. So if you can, its still good to do so.
If you have a cheap night tariff, consider setting your washing machine and dishwasher to come on in the cheaper period. If you aren’t on this tariff, then just try reducing the temperature and cut down by one load per week and you’ll still save around £28.00 per annum.
All the above ideas are great but being cold isn’t pleasant. So if you have started to turn the thermostat down or are tempted to cut down on the amount of time your heating is turned on each day, then having other ways to stay warm is also important. Here are a few quick tips:
Get yourself a hot water bottle. They’re such a great fall back item that every household should have them. Consider putting one on your lap or behind your back when you’re watching TV. They stay warm for hours and are quite a comforting warmth too.
Rugs will add an additional layer of insulation to hard floors but even if you have carpets, a rug will help with your room temperature.
Buy warm fleece throws, or even extra duvets to wrap up in during the evening.
Invest in some thick slippers – if your feet are warm, its amazing how much warmer you’ll feel in general.
Remember wee Willy Winkey with his nightcap? Ok, only me then! Well there’s a reason in days gone by people wore nightcaps, it kept their heads warm. We lose around 25% of our heat through our heads, so wearing a woolly hat will make a massive different.
Wear layers. Doing so is more heat efficient than one big jumper. So invest in thermals or thin t-shirts, then layer with thicker tops and finally a jumper of fleece. We’re not looking for any style awards here, this is all about keeping warm.
Another great warming hack is to eat or drink something warm. So a good old British cuppa or better still a hot chocolate really will make all the difference.
Keeping active also helps, so if you feel yourself getting a bit chilly try a bit of light on the spot exercising or walking up and down the stairs a few times. This has an added fitness benefit too. But if you get sweaty it could be counterproductive, as this is our body’s way to reduce body temperature. So just gentle movements, rather than full on cardiovascular for keeping warm.
I hope these ideas and tips have helped. Please feel free to comment these or suggest your own energy saving ideas in the comments below.
Any savings quoted here are based on a typical three-bedroom gas-heated home in Great Britain based on the April 2022 price cap energy costs. These figures have been taken from various fact checked sources and reputable websites such as Money Saving Expert, the National House Building Council and The Energy Saving Trust. Where figures differ, I’ve gone with the lower estimate.