Reduce your bills
Some advice on spending less and saving more around the home.
We've broken it all down to give you a few tips relating to each of the key areas and activities around the house that use the most energy.
Before you read on, did you know that Smart Meters give you control of your energy by using a handy In-Home Display unit - This lets you see exactly what your spending on energy in real time, helping you make decisions on how to reduce your energy consumption. For more information why not give us a call on 0345 034 7474 or check out our Smart Meter page today.
Don’t leave your stuff on standby - Modern appliances don’t use as much energy as older ones on standby, but you could still save a lot of money by switching things off at the wall.
It’s not just the TV! - TVs can drain a lot of energy when we’re not using them, but they’re not the only offender. Over 55% of us now have a games console, and there are laptop and desktop computers to think about too. Keep on top of it by switching them off at the wall.
Change the way you charge - If you leave your phone charger plugged in when you’re not using it, you’re wasting electricity – same goes for laptops and tablets too. Only charge your appliances for as long as you need to, then unplug the charger.
In the kitchen
Use the microwave instead of the oven - Your microwave will heat food using less energy than the oven.
Slow cookers and pressure cookers are great too - They’re also more efficient than the oven for heating or cooking.
Use fewer pans and keep the lids on - Try more than one item in the same pan and keep the lid on to make sure it heats or boils quicker.
Match your pan to the best hob ring - Using a ring on the hob that’s too big for the pan will waste energy, so make sure the ring is the same size or smaller than your pan.
Use the kettle for your cuppa - The kettle is quicker and more efficient than a pan for boiling water, so use it for your tea and coffee.
Only boil the water you need - Use your mug to fill the kettle so you only boil what you need. Boiling extra water each time wastes energy.
Your toaster’s made for toastin’ - Toasters are more efficient for making toast and cheaper to use than the grill.
Storing your food
Think carefully about where you keep your fridge and freezer - Try not to install your fridge or freezer next to appliances that generate heat, like boilers or radiators. Make sure there’s room for air to circulate at the rear too.
Buy the most efficient model you can - Look out for energy efficiency labels on your new equipment. Remember that chest freezers are generally more efficient than upright ones, and frost-free units might not be as efficient as the traditional kind.
Keep them full and defrost regularly - Try to keep your freezer full and fridge three quarters full. Defrost them regularly to keep them working well.
Avoid putting hot food in the fridge or freezer and keep them at the right temperature - Putting hot food in the fridge or freezer will put strain on the motor, especially in older models. Try to keep your units at the correct temperature: 1.6° for the fridge and -18° for the freezer.
Get cosy, nice and early - Draw your curtains early in the evening, keep doors closed, and if you have to open a window, keep it brief.
Insulate yourself first - Wear lots of thin layers to trap warm air close to your body. Add a thick pair of socks or slippers to insulate your feet from cold floors. If you find you can turn your heating down by 1˚C, you could save up to £60 a year.
Stay in control - Try to control your heating and hot water as much as possible. Programme your timers regularly and think about investing in new technology like a smart thermostat or Chop Cloc.
Never cover your radiators - We all get tempted to use our radiators to dry a towel or some clothes from time to time, but we shouldn’t. It can be unsafe, and it stops the heat from circulating around your home.
Keep the draughts out - Adding draught excluders to windows and doors can be a cheap and effective way of staying warm in winter.
Don’t forget the nooks and crannies - Old single glazing and unused chimneys are obvious sources of cold air, but don’t forget about the less obvious areas like keyholes and gaps around external pipe-work, loft hatches and ceiling to wall joints.
Make your own double glazing - If you’re living in a rented property with old single glazing or you can’t afford to upgrade, you can use plastic sheeting kits to create a cost-effective compromise. Stick them over the window and shrink with a hair dryer to give a crease-free finish.
If you can, insulate! - There are loads of options to add more insulation to your home. Loft insulation, internal wall insulation, cavity wall insulation, double glazing – chances are there’s an option to suit your budget and you could even claim back some of the cost from the government.
Keeping the lights on
Use energy saving bulbs where you can - Always try to use energy saving bulbs, but whether they’re traditional bulbs or energy saving, only use the rating you need.
Don’t forget to switch them off when you don’t need them - Whichever type of lighting you have, they’ll cost less and last longer if you only use them when you have to. Always switch the lights off when you leave a room.
Using hot water
Showers are better than baths - You can have a nice hot shower for a fraction of the water you’d use in a bath, so keep the bubbles for a special treat.
If you’ve got to bath, don’t go deep - Only fill the bath as much as you need - the less water you can use, the better.
Put the plug in and turn off those taps! - Never wash the dishes or even your hands under running water. You’ll use much less if you put the plug in and save it.
Doing the laundry
If you’ve got an economy button, use it - Your economy setting can dramatically increase the efficiency of your washing and drying equipment.
Turn down the temperature - Most machines have lower temperature options, and you can buy special washing powders that work better at lower temperatures - so turn down that dial!
Hang your washing whenever you can - Tumble dryers are convenient, but they’re expensive to run and use a lot of energy. Your clothes horse or washing line will do the same job and cost nothing.
A bit about Chop-Cloc
Chop-Cloc is a clever concept but it is also very simple. We've partnered up with Chop-Cloc - a revolutionary new way to reduce energy consumption in central heating systems. It simply turns the heating off for a portion of time every hour to reduce your energy consumption and saves you money on bills without you feeling any change in temperature. It's not a thermostat - but you could call it a comfostat as it is designed to control your comfort in a more economical way. Watch the video...
For independent, expert advice on saving energy in your home, contact your local energy advice centre:
England and Wales: Contact the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234 (all you pay for is a national rate call). Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm and Saturday, 10am to 2pm. Alternatively you can email email@example.com
Scotland: Call Home Energy Scotland free on 0808 808 2282 or use this link to complete the correct contact form.