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With the current energy crisis in the UK making things very difficult for millions of households, we’re all searching for new ways to cut back on our energy use where possible. Though switching providers no longer makes a huge amount of difference (though it’s still worth checking!), the good news is that lots of little changes really do add up!
Here are 20 ways to reduce your utility costs to save energy and money…
1. Avoid electrical items
Things like sweeping hard floors instead of hoovering, or letting your hair air-dry to avoid the hairdryer are small, simple changes that can really impact your energy use. You could switch things like Kindles for library books, treadmills for a run outdoors, electric food mixers for a wooden spoon, and online games for board games. Think about your typical day, and which small lifestyle changes would work for you.
2. Bleed your radiators
Simply bleeding your radiators every once in a while will ensure they run as efficiently as possible. You can get a radiator key on Amazon for just a few quid.
3. Close your curtains
To stop heat escaping in the evenings when the temperature drops, make sure you shut blinds and curtains to help keep the house nice and snug. Thermal-lined thick ones will do the best job!
4. Reduce oven usage
Batch cooking is a great way to save time, reduce your food shopping costs and cut your energy bill. Chop once, cook once and freeze for future meals. Similarly, be smart and use your oven space wisely – for instance, put a tray of flapjacks into the oven whilst dinner is cooking, rather than cooking at separate times.
You could also avoid the oven completely where possible, and heat things quickly in the microwave. If you’re using the hob, lids on saucepans will encourage things to cook more quickly. Easy changes can be great money savers.
5. Turn the heating down
Turn the heating down by just 1 degree (or more) to be more eco-friendly and slash your bills. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that having your heating just one degree cooler could reduce bills by up to 10% – which (based on the average £2,500 yearly energy bill) would save households £250 per year, or approximately £21 each month.
6. Insulate your loft
Insulating your loft would cost several hundreds of pounds, but it could save you around £300 off of your energy bills each year, based on a typical semi-detached house. The general advice seems to be that it would pay for itself in just one year – so if your loft isn’t insulated this could be a great place to invest a bit of cash.
7. Cut down on shower time
We’ve all heard the advice about swapping a bath for a quick shower but research shows that our showers can be far from quick, and modern shower heads often have really high water usage.
Southern Water say the average UK shower lasts 8 minutes and halving this to 4 minutes could save families around £200 per year. (And, this figure doubles if you have a power shower!) So, just showering quickly could save you £17-34 every month.
It might also be worth considering how often you shower. Could you wash at the sink in between hair-wash days? Cutting back would reduce both your energy and water bills.
8. Buy efficient appliances
Lots of the appliances that we use every day really vary in how much energy they use. So shop smart and look at the running costs before you make any new purchases. Even on our previous energy tariffs, an A+++ fridge freezer was expected to save around £320 in energy bills over its lifetime compared to an A+ model.
So, when you need to replace fridges, dishwashers, tumble dryers, washing machines, ovens and even your boiler – make sure you check out energy efficiency. Spending a little more when you purchase the item could save you hundreds of pounds in the long run.
9. Rethink your washing
Washing at 30 degrees rather than 40 degrees (or higher) can help to reduce your energy usage. The Energy Saving Trust estimate that washing at 30 degrees can reduce laundry costs by 40% each year! Plus, if you can cut out one wash cycle per week you’ll save money too – so wear your clothes a few times (underwear excluded 😂) before you throw them into the laundry bin.
This applies to towels and bedding too – which can often use up full loads in the washing machine and are hard to get dry in the winter without using the tumble dryer. Extending the time between changing beds, and re-using towels for a week, will save you money – and less housework is always a good perk! Switching towels from bath sheets to smaller bath towels will help too, as will choosing a shorter wash cycle for lightly soiled clothes.
10. Switch off standby
According to the Energy Saving Trust, we can all save £65 each year by just remembering to turn off the appliances that we’re all guilty of leaving on standby!
11. Sort draughts
Buy some cheap draught excluders, line your letterbox and block off un-used fireplaces to reduce your energy bills and make sure your home is toasty! Seal around windows and skirting boards, and if you’re replacing windows make sure they’re double glazed.
If you’re not into DIY – professional draught-proofing of doors, windows, cracks in floors and skirting boards will set you back around £200, but it could save you £125 per year off of your energy bills.
12. Turn the lights off
Little changes can have a big impact on your bills! Just remembering to turn the lights off when you leave a room can save you £25 each year.
13. Heat the person
Think warm jumpers, dressing gowns, thick socks, slippers and blankets before turning the heating up. In my house, we tend to watch TV in bed in the evenings so we can be cosy under the duvet when the temperatures drop. Focusing more on heating yourself than your home will always save you money. Wheat bags and hot water bottles are great too – there’s nothing worse than cold feet in bed!
14. Cover your water tank
If you have a hot water cylinder, using an 80mm insulation jacket could save you £70 per year, according to the Energy Saving Trust – such a simple change for a significant saving.
15. Stop ironing
I literally never iron anything (so this won’t save me a penny! 😂) but, for those who do, the energy crisis is the perfect excuse to do less! Unless an item of clothing is particularly screwed up, fold it nicely or hang it in the bathroom when you shower – the steam will help with the creases. Electricity prices are really high, so cutting down on appliance usage is a must.
16. Ditch the tumble dryer
As soon as the weather allows, get your washing outside on the line. If the weather’s unsettled, use drying racks in the garden so you can whisk them inside quickly if needed – even getting washing partially dry (and then finishing it off indoors) will help to reduce energy use. If you can avoid using the tumble dryer, you’ll save £70 each year.
17. Use LED lightbulbs
Electric bills can rocket during the winter – with lights on much earlier in the day. Replace bulbs with LED equivalents; they’re much cheaper to purchase than they once were and a good investment. The bulbs also last longer, so they’ll need replacing much less frequently – which is also a win for reducing waste whilst helping your bank balance! And, when it comes to your energy bills, LED bulbs cost 90% less to run than their halogen equivalents!
18. Fill your dishwasher
Making sure that your dishwasher is full when you put it on will help to reduce how often you use it. And, if there’s not much to wash up, then do it by hand – you could even use the leftover kettle water, just add a dash of cold.
19. Be smart with your kettle
Save £13 each year by making sure that you boil the right amount of water when you put the kettle on.
20. Choose an energy efficient boiler
If your old boiler is ancient and in need of replacement, it’s definitely worth investing in a new A-rated boiler – you could see a huge annual saving of £840!
To help you to monitor your usage, it may be worth installing a smart meter; a real-time way of tracking your consumption can help the whole family to be more mindful about what’s being used.
Estimated savings are based on the current tariffs in January 2023.