1. Use your household appliances more efficiently.
Bleed your radiators. Not only will it release pressure on your finances, trapped air can make your radiators less efficient, so they’ll be slower to heat up. Dusty condensing coils behind your fridge and freezer, which are used to cool and condense, can trap air and create blockages. This is not what you want. Keep them clean and they’ll stay cool and use less energy. Also avoid tumble dryers. They use a shocking amount of energy, and can cost upwards of £300 a year to run based on usage twice a week. You can easily work out how much it costs to run a tumble dryer yourself based on your specific model if you know the kWh. As a more cost-effective alternative consider drying clothes outside on a washing line or even investing in a heated clothes airer which usually costs around 6p an hour to run.
Extractor fans around the home cost a fortune. Turn off kitchen or bath extractor fans as soon as possible after you’ve used them. Finally, fill up the washing machine and dishwasher. Research by Thames Water and Gov.uk recently found that 68 per cent of households are only putting the dishwasher and washing machine on when they are completely full in a bid to save energy. It is a savvy move to wait until a washing machine or dishwasher is full as the appliances will use the same amount of energy to clean fewer items. So, it’s smarter to wait to do fewer washes with more items, than waste energy on more half full washes.
2. Home hacks
Insulate your loft. I know it’s probably a job you’ve had on the to-do list for a long-time but now is the perfect moment. You can save hundreds of pounds a year by creating better insulation up there. I know that things may be tight, but consider treating yourself to a jacket – for your hot water tank… The best come with a recommended thickness of 75mm and help keep your water hotter for longer and reduce your energy bills. A new one is easy to fit – the materials will only cost you about £25 and it could save upwards of £100-£150 a year. Loft hatches are the forgotten item when it comes to energy saving plans. Attach insulation to the top of it and create a seal with draught proofing around the perimeter. So many people spend a huge amount insulating their lofts, but neglect the loft hatch completely meaning lots of heat escapes up through the hatch. If you are looking for a really simple way to save energy in the home, then ensuring the loft hatch is adequately insulated and draught proofed is a great way to get started.
3. Utilise apps.
My Earth App is one of my favourite go-to apps at the moment. Originally created by researchers and students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Human Ecology, the app is designed to help you keep track of your personal energy usage, your savings and your total impact. The app contains five main categories: electricity, recycling, travel, food and usage. It includes day-to-day activities to measure how environmentally friendly your actions are. These activities can range from small measures like recycling your glass bottles to larger tasks like switching your appliances with energy-efficient replacements. It also includes a diary for users to check off their activities and lets you visualise how small steps can add up to a bigger impact environmentally. Zap-map is also a brilliant new app. It lists and regularly updates electric charging points for cars. You can download it for free and find available charge points locally by searching the most comprehensive database of charging points, plan journeys, share updates and pay for charging on participating networks.It allows you to locate the 33,000 publicly available charging points in the UK when you are out and about, taking the stress out of electric vehicle driving.
4. Make the most of what you have:
Wasting power is a no-no in the current climate and leaving appliances on standby is like pouring money down the drain. It’s widely reported that the average household could be wasting as many as 7,374 hours of electricity every year when a device is left on standby.
It’s easy to do. For example, many of us disconnect our phones but leave the charger plugged in. And some devices, such as TVs, don’t have an easily accessible on-off switch.
But leaving devices on standby uses up power – sometimes known as ‘vampire energy’ – and over the course of a year it can really add up.
These are some indicative annual savings, found particularly among older devices:
- Turning off the light in an unused room – £25
- Television – £16-24
- Set-top box – £20-23
- Games devices – £16
- Smart speakers – £3.45 per speaker
- Microwave – £16
And if you’re working from home, don’t forget about office equipment:
- Printers (particularly those with LED displays) – £3-4 a year
- Laptops – £5 (but make sure you shut down and switch off rather than simply closing the lid)
5. Switch your bulbs
Yellow light bulbs and other LED saving options are just a great way of saving cash. You can save £2-3 per year for every traditional halogen bulb you switch to a similarly bright LED bulb. If the average UK household replaced all of their bulbs with LEDs, it would cost about £100 and save about £40 a year on bills.
Replacing a 50W halogen with an LED equivalent could cut your energy costs by £75 over the lifetime of the bulb – not including the price of all the replacement halogen bulbs you no longer need to buy.