Ultimate Energy Saving Tips Guide
Spending more time at home could mean you're receiving larger energy bills than usual. But there are simple changes you can make in your home to reduce your electricity and gas usage.
Requesting a smart meter and accompanying in-home display could be a good first step. These can help you track your energy usage, so you can make adjustments to reduce your energy usage. Read on for more energy saving tips -
- How to save electricity
- How to save gas
- Why is saving energy important?
- How can you save energy in your home?
- Thermostat and smart meter energy saving tips
- Lighting energy saving tips
- Appliance energy saving tips
- Kitchen energy saving tips
- Laundry energy saving tips
- Draught-proofing and home improvement energy saving tips
- Request your smart meter
- More useful resources
How to save electricity
It is important to know how much electricity you’re already using in your home. From there, you can make small changes in almost every room in your home. A few examples of these changes are:
- Request a smart meter and in-home display to track your electricity usage
- Buy energy saving lightbulbs
- Turn appliances off standby
How to save gas
Before you begin, you should understand how your heating system and controls work. And from there, you can make small tweaks in your home which could add up to make a big difference. Check out the following ways to help you save on gas:
- Request a smart meter and in-home display to track your gas usage
- Turn down your thermostat, but only if it is comfortable to do so
- Make sure radiators are not blocked by furniture or curtains
Why is saving energy important?
By becoming more aware of how much energy you’re using, you can make simple changes in your home to reduce it. And using less energy could mean lower energy bills.
But not only that. The small changes you make to reduce your energy consumption in your home can also help you reduce your carbon footprint.
So not only is energy saving at home great for your bank account, it can also help the environment too. A double win.
How can you save energy in your home?
There are many simple changes you can make in your home to reduce your electricity and gas usage. From switching off lights, to washing your clothes at a lower temperature. Read on for more tips.
1. Thermostat and smart meter energy saving tips
The thermostat is your friend! Getting to know your home’s temperature can be an easy way to take control of your energy usage. Check out our top energy saving thermostat tips:
- Adjust your thermostat if it is comfortable to do so
Turning the heating thermostat down by one degree can save you around £60 a year according to The Energy Saving Trust. But remember, only turn your thermostat down if it is comfortable to do so.
- Install a smart thermostat
Smart thermostats, such as Hive and Nest, connect to your wifi so you can control your heating and hot water through your smart phone, tablet or desktop.
However, these have limitations. They can be expensive and have an installation cost. And having one means you are only tracking your heating. So you can't keep an eye on your electricity and gas usage.
- Install a smart meter
When you have a smart meter installed you can choose to accept an in-home display (IHD). This monitors and displays your energy use in near real-time.
So you can see exactly how much electricity and/or gas you're using in pounds and pence - whether you pay for your energy with credit or prepay.
This energy usage data can help you to make adjustments to cut household costs.
My-Yen requested her smart meter and now she's got better overview over her energy use:
My name is My-Yen Butler I live in Cardiff currently with my husband and my small child. One of my favourite features of the in-home display on the smart meter is knowing exactly how much energy and money we’re using, because it’s so exact. So, for example, the kettle could be on for a few seconds and I can see exactly how much energy consumption it’s used.
For us it was a logical next step to get a smart meter because it ensured that we could bring our energy use down and help tackle climate change. It’s definitely had a positive effect because I know what I need to do in terms of saving energy in our household, and also saving money, and just knowing that there are things on in the house that don’t need to be.
I think that if more people in Great Britain were to get a smart meter it would definitely help to tackle climate change because it just gives a better insight into what energy you are using and how you can bring energy use down when you don’t actually need to use it.
It’s really important for me and my family to make these changes now. By having a smart meter I feel like it’s just a small step that we’ve made to help future generations to come, in particular, my son’s generation.
And see how Elspeth has used her smart meter in prepay mode to make budgeting that little bit easier:
My name is Elspeth Kerr. I live in a three bedroom house with my husband, my two daughters, who are grown up, and my dog, my cat, my rabbit.
We had a prepay meter and really wanted to get a smart meter so it was about a year and a half ago that we got one. We got a smart meter installed because we wanted to have more control over our spending.
The best thing about having a smart meter installed is that we've got a display unit in a prominent place where we can see in pounds and pence quite easily how much is left on it and what the usage is. Also, it's in the living room where when it starts to beep, to let us know that it's low and we need to top it up. It's not hidden in a cupboard somewhere and we know to do it.
Before we had a prepayment meter, before we had a smart meter, we had to physically go and have a look in the cupboard or down really low, where it was really awkward to see how much was left on it. So it was far handier having it out in the open where we know when to top it up.
A good thing about having the smart meter is I can see how much energy is being used at any given time. And we've realised that the shower actually uses a lot of energy. So I have said to my daughter, that showers need to be shorter to try and conserve the energy. Whenever we see it going into the amber or the red we look about and see what's on to see if things can get switched off so that we know what is running at any given time.
My favourite features of the in-home display are that I can see how much is being used at any a given time, and see how much has been used that day in pounds and pence. Also, I don’t have to leave the house to top it up. I just go online on my phone and top it up through that, really easily. So having a smart meter has actually, has made it easier for us to keep the cost down and be consistent with how much or how little we're using.
Yeah I would definitely recommend having a smart meter for anybody especially on prepayment because it's so easy to top up online without having to go to the shop or bend down to a gas meter You know, when it's that easy, why wouldn't you?
Not sure which gadget will best help you control your energy use at home? You can find the different options here.
2. Lighting energy saving tips
Understanding which lightbulbs to use, and when to use them, can help you reduce your energy usage.
So your home can still shine bright whilst you save on your energy bills. Find out how:
- Buy energy saving lightbulbs
Try to phase out any incandescent or halogen bulbs still hanging around your home. You can replace them with LEDs.
LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are the most energy-efficient bulbs available, and are much cheaper to run.
- Turning lights off in unused rooms
Why not use a timer switch to set lamps to come on and off. These plug straight into the wall and enable you to programme in several time slots.
3. Appliance and gadgets energy saving tips
The appliances around your home can make your life easier. Whether they help you cook, entertain you, or something else. But they can also increase your energy usage.
The quick fixes below will help you keep control of your appliances:
- Turn off standby appliances
Switching appliances off at the plug saves energy. So if you’re a football fan, remember to switch your TV off when you've finished watching a game.
- Make sure radiators are not blocked by curtains or furniture
Moving furniture just a few centimetres away from radiators can help boost the temperature of your room. Do this, and you could turn your thermostat down and save money, without feeling the temperature difference.
4. Kitchen energy saving tips
The small changes below will help you cook delicious meals at home, whilst reducing your usual energy usage. Check them out:
- Use a slow cooker
If you own a slow cooker, you’ll know that they’re a great alternative to the oven. Particularly for stews, tagines and curries, which need time for flavours to develop.
And the bonus, using your slow cooker is also a very energy efficient way of cooking.
- Cook in batches
If you have a busy household, try to cook together. This can reduce the amount of time with your oven on, which can lower your energy bills. And it will make you feel more sociable too!
- Only fill the kettle with what you need
Your kitchen appliances may be using more energy than you think - filling the kettle only with the amount of water that you need reduces the amount of energy you need to boil the water.
And it’ll help the kettle boil faster too – not bad for a small change!
- Use energy saving recipes
Your oven and other kitchen appliances can be big energy eaters, and a smart meter will show you just how hungry they are.
- Don't pre-heat the grill
Put your food under the grill as soon as you turn it on - don’t wait until it has heated up. That way, the heat your grill creates as it is coming up to temperature helps the food cook. Which reduces the amount of wasted heat, and wasted costs! And it is quicker too.
For more kitchen tips, click here.
5. Laundry energy saving tips
You favourite chore likely isn’t laundry. And costly washing machines and tumble dryers don’t help.
So we have gathered a few basic tips to help you take control of your laundry costs:
- Wash clothes at a lower temperature
A 30°C wash will often be good enough for your clothes. And this will reduce energy use by up to 38% compared with a 40°C wash, according to consumer group Which?
- Air dry your laundry rather than tumble drying
If there's a tumble dryer in your home, try to resist the urge to chuck your laundry in there straight from the washing machine. It is more environmentally friendly to hang your clothes on a clothes horse or washing line (if you have one). And better for your energy bills too.
6. Draught proofing and home improvement energy saving tips
Heating up your home can be a never ending task if you’ve got draughts. But there are many simple yet effective ways to overcome this. So you can feel warmer throughout the year, without higher energy bills. Check out how to stop your heat escaping your home below:
- Insulate hot water pipes
And whilst sealing doors and windows might be obvious, don't forget the less obvious places where gaps can let your heat escape. For example, where pipes go into the walls, particularly around sinks and toilets.
- Draught proof your home
Even a small draught can make your home colder. So, you should insulate the sides of your doors and windows with simple strip insulation and draught sealers. These are widely available at DIY shops.
Also, get a draught excluder to place at the foot of any outside doors to block out breezes. Do this and your home will feel cosier instantly.
- Thermal or heavy curtains save energy during the winter
If you can, add thick or thermal lined curtains in your home. These will help to keep draughts at bay around windows or doors, particularly if you only have single glazing.
7. Request your smart meter
Join the millions of Brits who are already using a smart meter and accompanying in-home display to reduce the energy usage in their homes.
Simply enter click the link below to request your smart meter.
More useful resources
- How to use a smart meter to save energy - when you have a smart meter installed you can choose to accept an in-home display (IHD), which monitors and displays your energy use in near real-time, and you can see exactly how much you're using in pounds and pence. You can use this data to tweak your daily habits.
- Energy saving tips for students - 10 things you can do to stretch your student loan as soon as you move in to your new student home.
- Energy saving tips for beauty enthusiasts - with all these gadgets quietly running up your energy bills, we teamed up with beauty blogger Helen Anderson to show you how to be super efficient with yours.
- Get energy fit - with the help of her smart meter's handy in-home display, personal trainer and fitness blogger Zanna van Dijk has worked out ways she could make small and effective changes to reduce energy waste.
- Government heating and housing benefits - the government offers financial support and benefits for those who are struggling with their energy bills. You can also contact Citizens Advice for further guidance.
- Warm and Safe Homes Advice Service - this service is run by charity National Energy Action. It provides advice to people struggling to afford their energy and water bills, either directly or via referrals from others.