September 27, 2018

Energy Saving Tips: How to Reduce Utility Bills at Home

Reducing the amount of energy you use is not only good for the environment but can also help you save a significant amount of money.


A few simple changes can make a big difference, so we’ve put together our top energy saving tips to help you get started.


1. Turn it down


With summer coming to an end, it won’t be long before the cold weather strikes and we start doing all we can to keep warm.


Heating your house efficiently is extremely important when it comes to saving money – turning down your thermostat by just one degree can cut your costs by an average of £75 a year.


Installing a smart thermostat is another great way to save energy at home. With these smart gadgets, you can see how much you’re spending on heating in real-time and adjust the temperature remotely. Some are even capable of learning your behaviour so that it turns itself off when you’re not home!


2. Switch it off


We’re all guilty of leaving our electrical appliances on standby, but did you know that getting up to turn them off at the switch could save you around £30 a year?


Since 2010, all electrical products sold within the EU cannot have a standby power of more than 1 kWh. You’ll need to be more vigilant about turning your older items off, but even relatively small energy wastage will add up over the year. This is all unnecessary expenditure, so it’s worth changing your bad habits.


One of the most obvious energy saving tips that is often overlooked is to only charge your mobile phone until it has full battery – and then unplug the charger! Appliances like phone and laptop chargers will continue to use energy even when your device has full power, so make sure you unplug them as soon as possible. There’s no need to charge these all night when they will be topped up after only a few hours.


3. If it’s not that dirty, wash at 30 (or 40)


In most cases, there’s no need to wash clothes on a high temperature. Washing at 30 or 40 degrees Celsius will not only get your clothes sparkling clean but also cut down your utility bills.


Once your wash is complete, it’s always more energy efficient to dry the clothes outside or in an airing cupboard rather than in the tumble dryer or on radiators.  


If you must use a tumble dryer though, make sure you clean the lint filter each time; this is because blocked filters prevent hot air from circulating freely and make it take longer for your clothes to dry.


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4. Be water savvy


Did you know that around 12% of the average heating bill cost comes just from heating your water! So one of our key energy saving tips is to keep your hot water consumption in check.


An easy one to swap is a bath for a shower, as a five-minute shower will use less than half the water it takes to fill a bathtub. You can make even more savings by getting a water-efficient showerhead, which will restrict the volume of water that flows through so you use less water each time you get in the shower.


In the kitchen, only fill and boil the kettle with as much water as you need and see the benefits to your energy bill. If you fill the kettle to the top each time you’re just wasting energy by heating water you don’t need, only to let it cool and go unused.


5. Turn off the lights


One of the easiest energy saving tips is to simply turn off the lights when you leave the room, yet so many of us still forget to do it. Switching off a light for just a few seconds will save more energy than it takes for the light to start up again, so there’s no excuse for our bad behaviour.


It’s also a good idea to replace standard light bulbs with energy-saving ones – although there will be an initial outlay, they will definitely save you money in the long run.


6. Stock up


Filling up your fridge and freezer not only means you’ll have plenty to eat if it’s too cold to venture to the shops but also uses less energy. If the freezer is empty, the space will fill up with warm air whenever the door is opened, and then needs to exert energy cooling it down again as soon as the door is shut.


Only place cold food in your fridge or freezer, though, as warm food will heat up the interior and other stored foods.


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7. Fill the gaps


One of the best – and most simple – energy saving tips is to spend time going around your home to check if there are any gaps where heat may be escaping. Major culprits tend to be around windows and doors, between floorboards and in unused chimneys and extractor fans.


You may consider sticking draught-proofing strips around window and door frames. You can also see a big difference to your energy bill if you simply shut the doors to rooms you wouldn’t normally heat (for instance, your kitchen or a spare room) so that the cold air doesn’t move into the rest of the house.


A very effective method for draught-proofing and saving energy is to fit a draught-excluder to your letterbox. This will stop cold air from blowing through from the street and into your home.


8. Loyalty isn’t everything


In the energy world, staying with the same provider isn’t necessarily going to get you the best deal, so you need to shop around. Use an impartial comparison website like uSwitch to find out whether you are paying the right amount and you could save hundreds of pounds.


It’s also worth making a note of when your current fixed energy deal will end, because if you don’t take any action you could be moved onto a more expensive deal.


According to Which, households could save around £300 a year by switching from the most expensive Big Six standard tariff to the cheapest available deal so it’s definitely one of the best energy saving tips to follow.  


Energy saving tips: A summary


Utility bills can be a big outlay but by remembering to turn off the lights, using a smart meter and generally spending more time thinking about your usage, you can save energy and have more money in your pocket at the end of every month.

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