In 2019, the Energy Saving Trust reported that four out of ten people avoid switching on heating during colder spells, and a third can’t make their home as warm as they’d like due to the extra cost of their bills.
There are already an estimated 4 million households in fuel poverty in the UK, and with many more dealing with increased financial hardship as a result of the current pandemic crsis , that number is likely to go up.
People’s Energy are fighting to make energy affordable for all – and joining us helps us get closer to our goal of stamping out fuel poverty for good. But small savings can still make a difference too. We’ve pulled together our best energy-saving tips on how to keep your home warmer for less.
1. Turn your thermostat down by one degree. More than half of our fuel bills goes towards providing heating and hot water. But a little less heat can go a long way. Our top home energy-saving tip is to turn your thermostat down by one degree, saving you around £80 a year.
2. Block draughts with a little DIY. 40% of heat loss in an average home is through draughts around doors, windows and floors. Professional draught-proofing can save around £20 a year on energy bills, but can cost around £200 for the work upfront - DIY tricks like blocking draughts using towels or self-adhesive window strips, and keeping curtains shut, are simple ways to help to keep the cold out and the heat in on a budget.
3. Make your radiators work harder. Making your radiators work harder is another way to save. Bleeding them once a year helps to keep them efficient, as this releases any trapped air that stops the warm water circulating. Fixing reflective foil (or even standard kitchen foil!) behind your radiators is an old-school hack to stop heat escaping through walls (that’s about 35% of heat loss in the average home). Remember to check if you have cavity wall insulation first – this trick only works for homes with solid walls.
4. Take control of the temperature with a smart thermostat. If you’re able to spend a little more upfront, smart room thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves are great ways to make sure you don’t spend money heating rooms you’re not using. They regulate temperature in different rooms of your house, and could save you around £75 a year.
5. Fill your dishwasher and swap your running tap for your washing up bowl. Even small changes can add up to savings. According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average UK household can shave around £40 off their annual energy bills by using kitchen appliances a little more smartly. Only run your dishwasher when it’s full, or use a washing up bowl rather than a running tap – which could save £25 a year.
6. Only fill the kettle with what you need. You can even save money on your cup of tea – only fill your kettle with the water you need, and it could save you around £6 a year.
7. Use the right ring for you pan size. Likewise, only boil the water you need when you’re cooking food, and use the right ring for your pan size.
8. Save by using your microwave. Microwaves and slow cookers are also super-efficient ways to heat and cook food, so opt for those as an alternative to your oven for extra savings.
9. Keep your fridge clean and cool. Your fridge drinks a lot of energy as it’s on 24/7. Older fridges in particular will use more, so it’s worthwhile making sure it’s not working harder than it needs to. Dust the coils regularly. And always cool food before putting it in the fridge – your fridge has to use more energy to bring down the temperature of warm food.
10. Wash at 30 degrees, with a full load. Washing machines are one of the most frequently-used appliances in our homes. Washing at 30 degrees uses 40% less electricity than washing at a higher temperature, and waiting until you have a full load means you’re not running your washing machine more than you need to. You can save around £5 on your annual energy bill.
11. Cut your shower by 2 minutes. 17% of the average heating bill goes towards heating water in the home. Swapping baths for showers is a great way to cut water consumption, with further savings to be had from stepping out of the shower earlier – cutting your shower down by a couple of minutes can save around £5 per person a year.
12. Fit an efficient shower head. If you’ve got a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank (rather than an electric shower), fitting a water-efficient shower head is a great way to cut back on hot water without losing the power shower effect. For a small upfront cost (normally £20-30), a water-efficient shower head could save a four-person household (e.g. a family of four or a shared student flat) as much as £70 a year on gas for water heating, as well as a further £115 a year on water bills if they have a water meter.
14. Turn off appliances on standby. Your TV, phone charger and games console are still switched on, even in standby mode, and can eat up an extra £30 of energy a year. You can either switch off at the plug, or if you have an appliance you don’t want to switch off (like your set-top box), use a standby saver plug which will switch everything off apart from one or two devices you want left on.
15. Turn off lights when you leave a room. It’s the simplest trick in the book (but sometimes the hardest!) If you switch a light off for just a few seconds, you’ll save more energy than it takes to turn the light on again. Flipping the switch can save you around £14 a year on your annual energy bill.
Saving is easier when you know what you’re spending. A smart meter with an in-home display will show how much energy you’re using, and exactly what it’s costing. Keeping an eye on what you’re spending on energy in real-time can encourage energy-saving habits – like our tips here. The government estimates that a display can help reduce a household’s electricity use by 2.8%, and gas use by 2%. If you’re a member of People’s Energy, we can install your smart meter for free. Find out more about smart meters.
All figures from the Energy Saving Trust.