Saving energy in the home
Energy saving can be achieved at home in many ways, from home appliances, insulation, switching energy providers, water saving methods or generating your own energy.
The following measures will not cost you anything:
- Turn your central heating down by 1°C and you could reduce your bills by up to 10% - but make sure to set the thermostat to the recommended healthy temperature
- Set your hot water thermostat to 60°C. This is a minimum recommended to kill off harmful bacteria. Any higher will cost you more money.
- Close curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows
- Always turn lights off when you leave a room
- Put lids on saucepans when cooking - this saves energy and reduces condensation
- Avoid filling the kettle more than you need to; measure with a cup to be accurate
- Always wash a full load or use a half-load or economy programme if your washing machine has one. Use the low temperature programme - modern detergents work just as well at 40 or even 30 degrees
- Avoid drying clothes on radiators - this stops heat getting into the room and can lead to condensation problems
- Don't leave the TV, video or computer on standby, as they are still using energy and costing you money
- Don't leave mobile phones and other equipment on charge unnecessarily
- Take a short shower rather than a bath - an ordinary shower uses only two-fifths of the water needed for a bath
- Always put the plug in your basin or sink when running water
- Leave hot food to cool before putting it in the fridge and keep fridge doors closed to avoid cold air escaping (it takes three minutes for the fridge temperature to return for every one minute the door is left open)
- Fix dripping taps. In just one day, a dripping tap could waste enough water and energy to fill a bath
Spend a little now to save more in the future:
- Replace all your light bulbs with energy-saving ones. Replacing one traditional bulb with a compact fluorescent (low energy bulb) or more modern LED bulbs. Depending on the brightness and usage of the bulbs using the equivalent brightness will save you around £3 per year, or £45 over the lifetime of the bulb. LED bulbs can replace halogen downlights and are more efficient, with a longer lifetime, so save even more money.
- Eliminate draughts by using an easy-to-fix brush or seal on external doors
- Insulate your hot water tank with a jacket - it pays for itself within a few months
- Put lagging on water pipes to stop them losing heat
- Draught proof your windows - tape single usage secondary glazing across the window frames if you can't afford double glazing. DIY shops sell these products
Other things you can do to save energy and money at home:
- Top up your loft insulation and insulate cavity walls if you have them – see Warm and Well
- Replace old boilers (over 10-15 years old) and install modern heating controls
- Make sure to have your boiler serviced regularly
- Install a solar hot water or PV system - see Warm and Well
- Consider other renewable sources of energy - see Warm and Well
- Check you are on the cheapest available tariff - see Switch energy supplier and save
For free downloadable information on ways you can save energy in the home, please visit the Warm and Well advice pages.