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17 ways to save energy when you're renting

17 ways to save energy when you're renting

We've put together a checklist of 17 ways you could cut your energy bills if you're renting your home.

You don't have to be a homeowner to make your property more energy-efficient - just a few simple quick fixes could save you significant amounts of money on your heating, gas and electricity bills.

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There are a lot of measures you can take that can have a significant impact on your heating bills. Some are free, others come in at under £25.

Free ways to save energy if you're renting

  1. Turn your thermostat down by 1°C - this can save you as much as £60 per year. This may be the oldest trick in the book but it's also one of the best, and after a week you won't even notice the difference.
  2. Wear more jumpers, socks and slippers around the house and put an extra blanket on the bed. If you're turning up the heat to walk around in a T-shirt just remember that it costs money.
  3. Turn the pressure down on the power shower, you'd be surprised how much water they use - sometimes even more than a bath. Power showers are luxuries for a reason in that they cost a lot.
  4. Bake a few meals at a time to get the most out of having your oven on. Heating an entire oven for one small cake is fine, but it's a much more efficient use of resources to heat a few items at once.
  5. When cooking food on a hob, use a pan that is the appropriate size - using an unnecessarily large pan wastes a lot of energy, and won't heat your food as effectively.
  6. 90% of a washing machine's energy expenditure is spent on heating the water, so if you wash your clothes at 30-40°C you can save significant amounts of money. Lower temperatures work for almost all washing except stained clothes, underwear and bed sheets.
  7. Air-dry your laundry rather than tumble-drying it, particularly if it's hot and windy weather. Even if it's not warm outside it's far cheaper to hang your clothes inside if you have the space.
  8. Take your clothes out of the dryer before they're completely dry - they'll iron much quicker.
  9. Unplug all the appliances that you aren't using regularly. Leaving all your devices plugged in means they continue to use energy even when you're not using them, a complete waste.
  10. On a sunny day, opening your curtains will let warmth into your house, and keeping them closed on a cold day will help keep it warm.

Spend £25 or under and save money on bills.

  1. The Radiator Booster - the Radiator Booster cuts your heating bills by encouraging the warm air to circulate around your room.

    It's a small fan that sits on top of your radiator, so the room heats up in half the time. This means your boiler needn't work as hard, saving you money.

    It's estimated that a Radiator Booster could save you £70 to £140 a year on your heating bill, depending on your household's heating requirements.

  2. Energy-saving light bulbs - If you haven't already installed energy-saving lightbulbs, now is the time. Installing five energy-saving light bulbs could save you £32 a year. What's more, energy-saving lightbulbs are now almost indistinguishable from incandescent bulbs, and provide bright light that doesn't take an age to warm up.

  3. Freeloader Pico - a very compact and lightweight portable solar charger that enables you to recharge your gadgets for free, by using the power of the sun. While the pico may not be powerful enough to be your main charger it's a great and energy-efficient back-up solution.

  4. Block draughts - attach a draught excluder to the bottom of your doors.

    Using draught excluders, particularly in old, large houses can reduce your heating bills and improve your level of comfort. They are also cheap to buy and easy to install.

  5. Chimney balloons - Using a chimney balloon, or chimney pillow, is an efficient way to stop the heat escaping up the chimney and keeps the cold air out.

    They're very easy to install and inexpensive by comparison with what you'll save - studies have shown that 40% of the heat in a room can disappear up the chimney.

  6. Insulate your pipes and tanks - both tank and pipe insulation keep your water hotter for longer by reducing the amount of heat that escapes. Again, pipe and tank insulation is relatively easy to install and cheap to buy. You should also make sure existing insulation is up to a sufficient standard.

A more expensive tip (which could pay for itself)

  1. Insulate your loft - you might think this isn't worthwhile if you're renting, but it could be.

    Loft-insulation costs about £150, but it could save you an average of £128 a year. So as long as you're planning to stay put for at least a year and a quarter, you'll make a saving.

    Even if you already have loft insulation in place it's worth checking whether you have the right level of insulation, particularly if your loft insulation was put in place during the 70s or 80s.

Recommendations for your landlord

Speak to your landlord about making bigger energy-saving changes - they might be more open-minded about making energy-efficient improvements to the property than you'd think.

You could suggest splitting the cost of some improvements, or your landlord could apply for an energy-saving grant or scheme.

There is a lot of money available through local councils and energy companies themselves to help you pay for any upgrades that improve energy efficiency. The government has signed the UK up to clear targets to reduce our carbon output and domestic energy has to play it's part, so they're supporting many households to achieve just that.

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