Whether you want to reduce your bills or cut your carbon footprint, here are some of our top tips for using energy more efficiently.
How to save electricity
- Get energy efficient lightbulbs such as LEDs – this can save you up to £6 per year per lightbulb.
- Switch lights off when you leave the room and consider putting outdoor lights on a sensor or timer.
- Switch off your devices at the plug rather than leaving on standby
- Don’t to leave chargers plugged in either when they aren’t in use.
- Take devices off charge once they reach 100%.
Fridges and freezers
- Update old appliances to energy efficient models.
- Keep your fridge and freezer well stocked so it takes less energy to keep your food cool. You could fill any spaces with bottles of tap water.
- Let hot food cool down before putting it in the fridge or freezer, and plan ahead by opting to defrost meals in the fridge.
- Regularly defrost the freezer to keep it running efficiently.
- Keep your fridge at between 3-5 degrees and your freezer at -18 degrees.
Washing clothes and dishes
- Make sure the dishwasher is full before turning it on. A full dishwasher is more energy efficient than hand washing.
- Turn your washing machine down to 30 or 40 degrees, and try to get your clothes to go longer between washes by sponging any stains.
- Dry clothes outside if possible, rather than using the tumble dryer. Alternatively, opt to dry indoors and get a dehumidifier for that room.
- Only boil the amount of water you need for a hot drink or to fill a pot. Use an electric kettle rather than heating water on a hob.
- Keep lids on pans of boiling water, and use an appropriate pan size for what you are cooking.
- Cook using the hob more often than the main oven.
- Try batch cooking meals that you can freeze and reheat using a microwave, which uses less energy than an oven.
- Cook bigger portions and save the rest for leftovers.
- Try not to open the oven that often while cooking, to keep the heat in.
- Turn the oven off a few minutes before your cooking time, as food will still cook using the residual heat.
How to save energy on heating
Boiler & radiator care
- Have your boiler serviced once a year to make sure it’s working efficiently
- Ask your boiler technician whether the boiler flow temperature can be reduced so it heats the water to a lower (but still safe and usable) temperature – this takes less energy.
- Don’t cover radiators or stand furniture immediately in front of them. Give the air room to circulate.
- Bleed your radiators once a year.
- Get thermostatic radiator controls so you can control your radiators individually. Only regularly heat rooms that you frequently use.
Set your heating controls
- Set your thermostat at between 18-21 degrees in the day, and a few degrees lower overnight. This is guidance for adults without health conditions – the very young, old and people with health conditions may need to it to be warmer.
- Learn how to use the timer settings on your boiler. Set your heating to come on automatically when you need it, and switch off when you don’t.
- Install smart thermostats so you can remotely control your heating using an app, meaning you can check if your heating is switched off when you’re not at home.
- Turn your thermostat down by a degree, to save around £75 a year.
Keep the heat in
- Seal any gaps around doors and windows.
- Get a draught excluder for larger gaps under doors.
- Get heavier curtains and shut them as soon as the sun goes down to reduce the amount of heat lost through your windows.
- Install a curtain inside your front door to reduce the amount of heat lost when the door is opened.
- If you have single pane or older double-glazed windows, add temporary extra glazing in cold weather, such as insulating film or secondary glazing.
- Take showers more often than having a bath.
- Bathe children every other night rather than every night.
- Install an electric shower, if your boiler takes a long time to supply hot water
- Be aware of how much time you spend in the shower. Try to reduce it or have short showers more often than longer ones.
How getting a smart meter can help
A smart meter measures how much electricity and gas you’re using, and automatically transmits your readings to your supplier. This means your bills are more accurate and reduce the chances of you either overpaying for energy, or of underpaying and building up debt.
Smart meters also come with an in-home display that shows you exactly how much energy you’re using, in pounds and pence. You can use it to set daily, weekly or monthly budgets, and track your usage over different time periods. Having a clearer view of how much energy you’re using at different times may make it easier to spot where to save.
Long-term energy efficiency improvements
If you want to invest in your home’s energy efficiency long term, there’s no end of improvements you can make.
Heat loss surveys
Get a heat loss survey to identify the most impactful improvements you can make when insulating your home.
Adding (or improve) loft insulation is one of the most important things you can do to keep the heat in. Loft insulation is relatively low cost and can pay for itself in bill savings within the year. Similarly wall insulation can pay for itself in around 3 years through savings in your energy bills.
Install double or triple glazing
Installing double glazing is a more expensive upgrade to your home, but as homes lose around 10% of their heat through their windows, this step could help to keep your home more comfortable throughout the year.
Heating upgrades: air source heat pump
Heat pumps are four times more efficient than gas boilers, and cut your home’s carbon footprint by 65%. You can also get a government grant of £7,500 towards the cost with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.
Find out more about heat pump installation from Good Energy.
Solar panel installation
Installing solar panels can lead to significant savings. You can cut £100s from your electricity bills by using some of the electricity you generate. And you can get paid for exporting what you don’t use with export tariffs such as Solar Savings.
Financial support with making energy efficiency improvements
- Boiler Upgrade Scheme – get £7,500 off the cost of a heat pump.
- Great British Insulation Scheme – support within getting loft or cavity wall insulation.
Independent energy efficiency advice
You can access independent advice about your energy bills from the following organisations:
0345 404 0506
Energy Saving Trust
England – 0800 444 202
Scotland – 0808 808 2282
Wales – 0808 808 2244
Smart Energy GB
0203 019 1000
Get support with the cost of energy
If you’re finding it difficult to afford your energy, contact your energy supplier as they will help set up a payment plan.
You may be eligible for Cost of Living Payments. These payments support with the cost of living for disabled people and people with a low income or on means-tested benefits.