10 Practical and Simple Ways You Can Save Energy at Home

As energy prices soar, many of us are struggling. In these unprecedented times, some households are having to face the tough decision between heating their home and feeding their family.

According to YouGov (2022) only 22% of Brits said they could afford to heat their home in December 2022.

Here are ten simple and efficient ways that can help you cut down on energy costs:

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1. Stop leaving electricals on standby

One quick and easy way to cut down on your energy bill is to switch off all appliances when not in use. According to British Gas you can save £110 annually, on average, by simply switching off “vampire electronics”. The worst culprits are TVs, mobile phones, games consoles, computers and laptops. The same goes for kitchen appliances such as the kettle, toaster and microwave. If the electrical is not in use, turn it off at the wall socket to avoid wasting energy.

Saving (on average): £110

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2. Don’t overfill your kettle

Speaking of kettles. A kettle is one of the most frequently used appliances in the kitchen in the majority of British households, but do you overfill your kettle? Do you fill your kettle to the brim when you only need one cup? If you do, it might be time to change that habit and only fill the kettle with as much water as you would use at that given time. According to Energy Savings Trust (2022), this could save you £13 a year on your energy bill.

Saving (on average): £13

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3. Adapt your laundry habits

There are a number of small changes we can make to our laundry routine which can help us save roughly £162 per year according to Which? (2022).

  • Do full loads: When doing your washing make sure that you are filling your washing machine rather than doing half loads. If that’s not possible, check to see if your machine has a ‘half load’ functionality.
  • Reduce the temperature: Reducing the temperature of your washing machine from 40C to 30C means that instead of getting only two washes, you can get three for the same energy. Further reducing the temperature to 20C can save you 62% more energy. So, if you are doing a freshen up rather than washing very soiled, stained clothing it may be worth trialling this change and see how you get on.
  • Be eco-friendly – If your washing machine has this functionality then try using eco mode. Not only do you use less water but at a lower temperature which means less energy is required. A common misconception with eco mode is that it costs more because the cycles can take a lot longer however you can save 35-59% energy on each wash (Guardian, 2014).
  • Time your wash load right – You might find that doing the laundry at specific times of day can reduce your costs. If you have a time-of-use tariff with your energy suppliers, then try washing your clothes at night-time, off-peak, when demand for power is at its lowest.
  • Try using a cheaper laundry detergent: Conduct your own experiment where you switch from your regular branded detergent to an own brand detergent and see if you notice a difference. It’s easy to get lured in to purchasing the big brands, but some own branded product can be just as efficient.
  • Only use what you need – A common misconception is that adding more detergent will make your clothes cleaner however too much detergent can wear down your clothes or cause staining (Harris, 2023). Additionally, not only does it damage your clothes, but it also costs more for your cycle.
  • Let your clothes air dry - Whenever possible, avoid using the tumble dryer and instead dry your clothes on a drying rack or an outside washing line, weather permitting.

Saving (on average): £162

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4. Opt for a shower instead of a bath

On average people spend 8 minutes in the shower at a time. By cutting your shower time in half to just 4 minutes could save you £95 per year. Additionally, if you prefer to take baths instead of a shower, swapping one bath per week to a 4-minute shower can save you an average of £20 annually (Energy Saving Trust, 2022). Wessex Water is even offering free 4-minute timers in its free water saving pack.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues, some leisure centres across the country have come forward offering free hot showers to those who need them. Take some time to investigate if any of your local businesses are offering a similar incentive.

Saving (on average): £115

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5. Reduce the temperature of your boiler flow

Turning the temperature on your boiler flow could save you up to £100 per year (Gov, 2022). On your combi boiler look for the ‘flow temperature’ setting and lower this to 60C. By doing this your boiler will work more efficiently and it will save you energy and money.

Saving (on average): £100

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6. Turn down radiators in rooms you’re not in

Contrary to popular belief, turning off your radiators completely in rooms you aren’t using means that your boiler has to work harder to get the temperature back to a comfortable level whereas reducing your radiators to 2.5 and 3 (18C) in rooms that your not using could save you up to £70 a year (Gov, 2022). However, if these rooms are not being used for longer periods, then it’s worth weighing up how long it takes to heat the room back up.

It’s also worth regularly checking your radiators and bleed them when required to keep your radiators working efficiently.

Saving (on average): £70

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7. Switch off all the lights

Energy Saving Trust (2022) states that you can save roughly £25 per year if you get into the habit of turning off the lights in any rooms you’re not using. You can also replace your lights with cost efficient LED bulbs which can help you save more.

Saving (on average): £25

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8. Draught-proof your home

Purchase draught excluders for your doors and window film for your windows to prevent heat escaping from your home. These simple DIY fixes can save you up to £60 per year (Gov, 2022) and if DIY is not your thing there are professionals who can help you.

Saving (on average): £60

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9. Put your dishwasher to work

According to Compare the Market (2022), it is more energy efficient to do a full load in your dishwasher than to hand wash your dishes as they accumulate. Use the eco-mode for the most energy-efficient cycle to save roughly 20% energy per use.

Saving (on average): By using your dishwasher it can save £0.58 per use rather than washing those same dishes by hand (Chronicle Live, 2022).

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10. “Heat the human, not the home”

Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, is a huge advocate of heating the human, not the home. This is particularly useful if you live alone and you only have to consider yourself. If you are a family of four for example, then it may be more cost efficient to turn on the heating and gather in one room.  

Some simple tips to heat keep yourself warm is wearing multiple layers of warm clothing, wearing slippers, blankets, have at least one hot meal a day, invest in a hot water bottle or electric blanket. Hoodie blankets have also soared in popularity and there are a number of affordable types on the market.

Saving (on average): Variable

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About the author

James Cooper is a respected industry leader with around 10 years' experience in the home and property insurance sector. He works across a broad range of insurance product and policy development and delivery, including product development; customer sales and marketing; and P&L accountability.

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