Energy Saving Tips
Joe Lytwyn - Senior Partnerships Manager | Latest Edit: 19th September, 2023
As the summer fades and the countdown to those long, dark nights begins, many of us are preoccupied with thoughts of the UK’s cost-of-living crisis.
With energy prices expected to remain high well into 2024, we may be left wondering how to save money on energy bills while keeping warm this winter.
Luckily, there are little things we can all do to ease the rising cost of living. When collecting tips on how to save energy, we were amazed how simple yet effective many of them were! Some of them were surprisingly fun, too (see tip number 7!).
We’re really pleased to share our favourite energy saving tips with you, and hope they will be of some help.
Energy saving tips for every household
1. That fry-YAY feeling
When it comes to energy saving tips, how could we start with anything other than the phenomenon that is the air fryer! One of the most searched-for products of 2022, the cost-of-living crisis has seen the air fryer soar in popularity.
It’s almost a bit of a British in-joke, isn’t it? How many of us have waltzed into work in the morning and proudly announced, “Did you know, you can even cook lasagne in the air fryer?!” The possibilities of air-frying are seemingly endless!
As well as creating marvellous meals, air fryers are also heroes at saving electricity. They are smaller than the average conventional oven, and therefore require less electricity to run. Due to their compact size, air fryers tend to heat up quicker, resulting in your food being cooked quicker, which also reduces your energy usage.
In a study conducted by the BBC, two same-weight jacket potatoes were put to the test.
The potato placed in the conventional oven took an hour to cook, using 1.31 kilowatts, equating to 26.25p, whereas the air-fried potato was cooked through in thirty-five minutes and used 0.55 kilowatts, totalling 11.02p.
2. Electric dreams
The second of our energy saving tips introduces another national treasure: the electric blanket.
In October 2022, ahead of another cold British winter, sales for electric blankets rocketed by 500%. Available to purchase for around £30 on sites such as Argos, electric blankets could be a cosy and cost-effective way to keep warm this winter – say goodbye to frozen toes at night!
3. Turn a blind eye to the cold
When we think about home improvements for saving energy, we think of expensive renovations that are way out of our budget. This is not always the case.
It might sound too easy to be true, but simply closing your curtains and blinds could reduce your home’s heat loss by up to 17%. Thermal curtains can be purchased from stores like Dunelm Mill for as little as £12.50, depending on the size and style you choose. Studies suggest that thermal curtains may slash the energy bills for an average three-bedroomed house by a huge £327 a year!
4. Get yourself a snake (a door snake, that is!)
As well as thermal curtains, there are other energy saving ways that you can draught-proof your home and help to lock in the heat. While some may involve more time and money, others are straightforward solutions. Doors that let in a draught could be blamed for up to 15% of your home’s heat loss. Draught excluders (sometimes called ‘door snakes’) are available from sites such as eBay from as little as £2.99. These can be placed along the bottom of doors to prevent cool air from seeping through.
While it’s something that a lot of us probably haven’t considered, open keyholes in doors can also be responsible for letting in the cold. Keyhole covers – known as escutcheons – are available from Toolstation, with prices starting at £1.88.
You can also use draught-proofing tape and strips around window frames to fill any gaps.
5. Turn it down!
Energy saving tips at home can start with the smallest changes. If your heating system operates on electricity rather than gas, turning your thermostat down by just 1 degree could assist in saving electricity and may even spare you up to £128 a year. Don’t forget, you can also make savings by turning down your water temperature as well.
6. Bleed your radiators, not your cash
If you can hear gargling or banging noises coming from a radiator, and they seem to be taking longer to warm up, it might be time to bleed them. You should try to do this at least once a year – before winter is best.
Keeping up to date with bleeding will ensure that your radiators continue to work effectively, while giving out as much heat as possible.
7. The final countdown
We promise there’s a reason why we’ve referenced this iconic 80s hit!
Trivia: what do Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown,’ Beyonce’s ‘Deja Vue,’ and Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’ all have in common?
Answer: they’re all four minutes long, and could be an unexpected solution when considering how to save energy in your house. Yes, really! United Utilities advise that showering for no longer than four minutes could save the average household up to £95 a year on energy bills.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your shower ballad voice at the ready, whack on some Material Girl, and save yourself some money.
WaterAid have even put together a Spotify playlist of four-minute songs to help you perfectly time those showers.
8. Break the cycle
Using the washing machine counts for around 7% of our energy bills. Altering our washing machine habits could really help us to save both money and energy. Lots of us consider the good ol’ 60 degree spin as bog-standard when washing our clothes. However, setting your washes to the 30 degree cycle uses up to 40% less energy.
9. Ditch the dryer
Tumble dryers offer a quick solution to soggy laundry, but drying three loads of washing every week could set you back around £190 a year. Vowing to give the tumble dryer a miss could work out as one of many effective energy saving tips at home.
We know the Great British weather is rarely on our side, but ditching the dryer may be a lot easier over the summer months. Is it just us, or is hanging washing out on the line on a blustery day one of life’s most glorious pleasures? Rainy day? Why not consider a heated clothes airer? Tumble dryers cost an estimated £2 per load to run, whereas using a heated clothes airer equates to approximately 10p per hour.
10. Freeze those savings!
While researching energy saving tips and how to save money on energy bills, we were surprised to learn that something as simple as defrosting a freezer could make a real difference. Does your freezer require manual defrosting? If so, be sure to keep on top of it! The more ice your freezer builds up, the harder it has to work, and the more energy it uses.
It is recommended that freezers are defrosted at least once or twice a year. As a general rule, if the walls are coated in more than a quarter inch of ice, it’s time to defrost. Which? Have put together an easy 7-step guide to safe and effective freezer defrosting, which you can find here. Regularly defrosting your freezer is thought to be able to save you up to £200 a year, making it one of the most underrated yet cost-effective energy saving ideas.
11. What’s cooking?!
Pop the lid on the saucepan when preparing hearty winter stews and pasta dishes to help retain heat and speed-up cooking time. Something as simple as cooking with the lid on could save up to 60% energy.
12. Fancy a cuppa?
The humble cup of tea is a trademark British staple, but is the nation’s favourite drink setting back our savings? Boiling the average kettle could take around 45 seconds and cost 6.8p. If you boiled the kettle five times a day, you’d be looking at an expense of 34p, which adds up to £10.20 over 30 days, and £124.10 per year. You could probably treat yourself to afternoon tea at The Ritz for that price! One of our energy saving tips and ways to cut costs is to only boil what you need - boiling less water demands less energy. Another option is to boil the kettle once and store the water in a thermal flask, using throughout the day as and when you need it.
13. Standby your savings, not your devices
It’s a debate many households may have had over the years: should devices be turned off standby when not in use?
Well, generally speaking, the answer is yes – if you want to save yourself a bit of cash. Unplugging devices you’re not using is an energy saving tip you can implement today. Switching the TV off via the remote requires less effort than getting up and turning it off at the wall, but it’s a habit that could cost you. Leaving the average 43-50 inch LCVD TV on standby all year could result in £11 going down the drain.
Another quick fix when looking for energy saving ideas is to unplug your mobile phone as soon as it’s fully charged. How many of us leave our phone, tablet, and laptop plugged in, long after that 100% has been restored? This is needlessly wasting valuable energy.
Many of us leave our phones charging overnight. A savvy swap would be to charge your phone in the hours leading up to bedtime, if possible. This way, you have the opportunity to fully charge your phone and unplug it as soon as it hits 100%, rather than leaving it to guzzle energy all night.
14. LED legends
15. Get smart
The final hint in our collection of energy saving tips is dedicated to the smart meter.
Smart meters allow you to set personalised daily, weekly, and monthly budgets when it comes to keeping track of your energy use.
Over the past few years, many people have replaced out-dated systems with smart meters to ensure accurate tracking and billing information, rather than estimations. To book your smart meter installation, speak with your energy provider – many offer this service for free.
As winter rolls around, it can be hard not to get caught up in a flurry of worry. We hope our energy saving tips have given some reassurance that there are ways around managing the cost-of-living crisis while still feeling comfortable and warm in your own home.
If you are struggling to keep on top of the rising cost of energy bills, please do not suffer in silence. Reach out to your energy supplier as soon as possible. While every provider is different, there may be things they can do to help you, such as offering a monthly Direct Debit plan, or even a grant towards your energy bill.
The energy crisis is affecting many people in the UK, so it’s important that you do not feel alone in this.
You can find free, impartial advice on sites such as Citizens Advice Bureau, StepChange, MoneyHelper, and National Debt Line.