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How to save energy with our free energy-saving tips

How to save energy with our free energy-saving tips

Saving energy isn't just about helping you to be more energy-efficient and considerate of the environment; it's also a great way to save money.

Run an energy comparison to see how much you could save

Temperatures are dropping by the day, so make sure you're not overpaying for your energy by switching to a fixed deal now. Enter your postcode below to get started.

Want to save energy and money around the home but not sure where to start? There are plenty of lifestyle changes you can make that can have a massive effect on your consumption. Here are 40 free energy-saving tips to get you going.

40 free energy-saving tips showing you the best ways to save energy and money at home

How to save energy in the kitchen

The kitchen is a key area of the home when it comes to energy wastage, with a huge amount of energy to be saved when cooking if you know where energy is most likely to be wasted. Here are just a few of our tips.

1. Use a microwave. Heat up food in the microwave as often as possible - it’s generally the most efficient way to heat up and cook food because its relatively small size means that a stronger level of heat can be focused on whatever’s being cooked.

2. Be water-conscious. When you’re boiling food in a pan, make sure you only use the amount of water needed to cover the amount of food you’re cooking, because boiling water you don’t need can waste a lot of energy.

3. Take it slow. To save energy (and lessen the need to cook when you get home after work), try using a slow cooker to cook throughout the day - they only use about as much energy as a light bulb.

4. Leave enough defrosting time. Defrost frozen food in the fridge overnight or while you’re at work. Defrosting food in advance typically halves the cooking time and also means that you don’t need to use the energy of a microwave to defrost more quickly.

5. Don’t go for metal trays in the oven. Use glass or ceramic dishes in the oven wherever possible because they retain heat better than their metal counterparts, making them the most energy-efficient option.

6. Get the fans out. Invest in a fan-assisted or convection oven, which circulates heat throughout the oven. This means the heat doesn’t have to be as high as it would in a normal oven.

7. Use the right size pan. Always use a pan which is the right size for the amount of food you are cooking - this means you won’t waste energy while heating a bigger surface area than you need.

8. Use the right size hob. When you’ve selected your pan, make sure you use the right size hob for it. A bigger burner will waste energy and a pan that’s too big will take longer to get to the right temperature.

9. Keep heating rings clean. Similarly, make sure you keep your heating rings as clean as possible - any food that sticks to the ring will absorb heat, which will make it less efficient.

10. Use the right ring for the right thing. If you're going to use the oven, cook a few meals at a time to get the most out of having your oven on and hot, especially if lunch-prepping for the week ahead is your kind of thing.

Energy-saving laundry tips

Because of the amount of water used in washing clothes and the amount of energy that goes into drying them, there’s a few ways you can bring down your energy usage and financial spend when doing the laundry.

11. Shrink your bills, not your clothes. 90% of a washing machine's energy expenditure is spent heating the water, so if you wash your clothes at 30-40°C you're saving a significant amount of money.

12. Hang up your laundry. Air-dry your laundry rather than tumble-drying it, particularly if the weather is warm or windy.

13. Save yourself ironing time. Take your clothes out of the dryer before they're completely dry - they'll iron much quicker and you'll use less energy on your drier.

How to save gas around the home with our money-saving tips

There’s a lot you can do to use less gas around your home - here are just a few of them.

14. Install a smart meter. If your supplier offers smart meters to customers like you, it’s a no-brainer to install one. By clearly indicating where you’re spending the most on your energy, you can take steps to cut down usage wherever possible and save money.

15. Upgrade your gas appliances. With more energy-efficient appliances on the market than ever before, make sure you’re investing in the models which use gas in the most efficient way.

16. Invest in a smart thermostat.A smart thermostat will enable you to track your gas usage and make adjustments when it comes to using less.

How to save electricity around the home with our money-saving tips

Similarly to gas, there are a few changes you can make around your home that could help cut down your average electricity usage and the amount of money you have to spend.

17. Use energy-saving lightbulbs. A lot of electricity is used in lighting your home, but you can use less energy by investing in specific energy-saving lightbulbs, which are readily available. You won’t lose any light, and you’ll save money too.

18. Install dimmer switches. This way you’ll be able to light a room as much as you need, which means you can tailor the amount of electricity you’ll be using to do so.

19. Use energy-efficient electric appliances. Some appliances, like dishwashers, run on electricity as opposed to gas, so it’s worth seeking out the most energy-efficient models to ensure you’re not spending more than you need to. Look for models rated A+++ by the EU as a general guide.

20. Don’t leave anything plugged in that isn’t being used. A lot of wasted electricity occurs through leaving appliances plugged in that aren’t being used. Even charger cables that don’t have anything plugged into them, but are still connected to the socket, can waste electricity, so it’s often better to err on the side of caution by unplugging anything that isn’t being actively used and switching the power off at the plug.

Use insulation and home improvements to save energy and money

During the winter, insulation is one of the key ways you can bring down your energy costs when it comes to heating your home. Here’s how.

21. Insulate the loft. A quarter of your home’s heat is lost through the roof as warm air rises, and older properties that already have insulation in place may not have the recommended levels, particularly if it was installed in the 1970s or 1980s. It’s therefore vital to ensure that your loft or attic space is properly insulated to prevent that heat loss.

22. Double that glazing. If you’ve got single glazing (or a lot of heat is being lost through the doors and windows), install double glazing to more efficiently trap heat.

23. Insulate the walls. Whether you have cavity walls or solid walls, both can be insulated (or re-insulated) to encourage heat retention. There are now government-backed full and partial grants available to help you pay for insulation if your home has cavity walls.You can also insulate gaps between the floor and skirting boards.

24. Insulate hot water pipes. Uninsulated water pipes mean it takes longer for hot water to become hot while it’s running. Insulating the pipes will help prevent water wastage.

25. Get free solar panels. Having solar panels installed on your house could save you as much as a third on your electricity bills.

26. Apply for an energy-saving grant. There are plenty of energy-saving grants available to help with the cost of home improvements.

Save energy and money around the home

27. Stay warm, cut costs. Turning your thermostat down by just 1°C can save you as much as £75 per year!

28. Layer up. Wearing more jumpers, socks and slippers around the house and putting an extra blanket on the bed means you won't be tempted to turn the heating up.

29. Turn the pressure down. A high-pressure power shower is a luxury but you'd be surprised how much water they use - sometimes even more than a bath.

30. Install a new boiler. Apart from ensuring boiler safety, upgrading to a highly-rated boiler can improve your home’s energy efficiency.

31. Don’t leave the tap running. Turn the tap off when you’re brushing your teeth or washing your face - it can waste more than six litres of water per minute while it’s running.

32. Get a water-efficient shower head. This will cut down the amount of hot water you use but still feel like a strong shower.

33. Turn the lights off. When you leave a room, don’t leave the lights on unless you’re coming back.

34. Run cold washes in the washing machine. Washing your clothes at 30 degrees rather than 40 can save you a third on your washing bills - you’ll have to do a hot wash sometimes, but sticking to 30 whenever possible can make a world of difference.

35. Use halogen lightbulbs outside. These bulbs consume around a quarter less electricity than incandescent bulbs without losing any brightness, so they’re a no-brainer for any exterior lighting.

36. Put exterior or security lights on timers. Your neighbours won’t thank you for keeping your exterior lights on all night, and neither will your wallet. Make sure any exterior lights are on a timer or activated by motion so they only come on when needed.

37. Opt for an electric lawnmower. Electric mowers are much less hassle to use than petrol-powered mowers, and are obviously more energy-efficient as well. Try and invest in one if you can.

38. Keep pools and hot tubs covered. Keeping the heat trapped underneath the cover of a swimming pool or hot tub means you’ll have to spend less energy heating them up again when you’re ready to use them. You can also buy solar covers to heat the water.

39. Educate the household. Energy will only be saved if everyone in the house recognises the importance of saving it. If you’ve got kids, try and turn energy saving into a game to teach them why they should remember to switch things off.

Stop overpaying on energy

40. Compare gas and electricity prices with uSwitch to make sure you're on the cheapest tariff for you. It only takes a few minutes, it's free and you could save hundreds.

Run an energy comparison to see how much you could save

Temperatures are dropping by the day, so make sure you're not overpaying for your energy by switching to a fixed deal now. Enter your postcode below to get started.

How much energy does the average UK household use?

The latest government estimates set the average UK household’s electricity usage at around 3,300 kWh per year, which constitutes a huge decrease from years gone by when annual electricity usage would regularly top 4,000 kWh.

However, we also use more appliances which require energy, such as laptops and televisions. If the average home has four occupants, that could mean they have eight laptops and TVs using energy between them. And that’s before you consider appliances like fridges and freezers which have to stay on 24 hours a day. However, if we’re using less energy than we were a few years ago, that can only mean that our gadgets have become more energy-efficient, which is a good thing.

Why would my household bills be higher than usual?

1. Is it an estimated bill?

If you receive a household bill that's higher (or lower!) than expected, your first port of call should always be to check whether it's based on an estimated meter reading.

Estimated meter readings can get your usage completely wrong. You can find out whether or not it's an estimate by looking for 'estimate' or an 'e' written next to the number of units you've used.

If it is an estimate, take your own meter reading and give it to your energy supplier - they'll send you a new, correct bill.

If you don't know how to take your own meter reading simply determine what kind of meter you have. If you have a standard meter reading you should see a mechanical display that shows your readings in digits. Just read the black numbers from left to right, don't make a note of the numbers in red.

If you have a dial meter on the other hand, which will look like a small clock, your meter reading is a bit trickier. You should be able to simply read off the numbers the dial points to, but different dials placed next to each other rotate in opposite directions, so make sure you read it carefully.

gas and electric bill - average energy bill - Dual Fuel

2. Has anything changed since your last bill?

If you've checked that the meter reading on your bill is correct and you know how much you should be paying for electricity and gas, think about whether or not anything has changed in your home since your last bill. Has the weather been unusually cold? Have you been spending more time at home or are your children at home more because of the school holidays? Have you bought any new appliances?

These things might sound trivial, but they can have an impact on your bill. An energy monitor can help you to work out which appliances are using the most electricity in your home.

3. Has your fixed price plan ended?

Over the last five years or so, many people have signed up for fixed price energy plans to protect themselves against rising prices. If you've suddenly noticed a sharp increase in your bill, it could be because your fixed price plan has come to an end.

Fixed plans guarantee the rate you are paying per kWh for a fixed period of time, but when this time elapses they usually revert to that supplier's standard energy rates, which tend to be the most expensive.

If this is the case, then it is definitely time to do a comparison and switch to the cheapest deal.

You shouldn't be put off fixed plans in future though. Often fixed energy plans offer the best value for money, particularly so in a time of rising prices, but it is vital you make a careful note of the end date and switch plan or supplier around a month before your plan ends.

Find out what to do when your fixed price plan ends or see which popular energy tariffs are ending soon.

4. Have your discounts ended?

Another possible explanation for a high energy bill is that an introductory discount you were receiving has ended. If this has happened to you, then it's a good idea to see if there's a cheaper deal available.

Compare gas and electricity prices to find out which supplier is the cheapest - you may be surprised by the result. Often smaller suppliers that many people haven't heard of, or wouldn't have considered switching to, provide the best value for money.

5. If the bill is correct and you're already on the cheapest plan...

...don't panic, there is still help available to you. Just because you're already on the cheapest energy deal doesn't mean you can't save a lot of money by reducing your consumption. After all, a new energy bill will cut your bill in the short run, while reducing your overall energy usage will reduce household bills for years to come.

Run an energy comparison to see how much you could save

Temperatures are dropping by the day, so make sure you're not overpaying for your energy by switching to a fixed deal now. Enter your postcode below to get started.

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