Energy saving tips around the home

The easiest way to cut down on household energy bills is quite simple – use less of it.

Adopting alternative methods in the home can be difficult following years of familiar routine. The benefits though can result in a saving of hundreds of pounds a year and make your home more energy efficient.

Below are a number of energy saving tips that could start saving you money.

Turn your thermostat down 

Most households set their thermostat between 18-21 degrees* to keep their home warm – though the Committee of Climate Change recommends no higher than 19 degrees. If your home is at the higher end of the scale, try turning it down 1-2 degrees, it could save you around £100 per year. 

*21-23 degrees for older and very young people, or if there is someone if the home with health problems. 

Adjust the valve on your radiator 

An easy energy saving tip in the home is to lower the thermostatic radiator valve on radiators situated in rooms you don’t use very often. The lower the number on the valve means less heat is being pushed through, meaning your home is more energy efficient and you’re spending less money.  

Bleed your radiators 

If your radiator is taking a long time to heat up, chances are it needs bleeding because air is trapped inside. Bleed your radiators regularly to prevent this from happening and to make your heating system as energy efficient as possible.  

Use the washing machine at lower temperature  

Washing your clothes at 30 degrees will save around 40% of the energy your machines uses each year. Modern detergents work just as well at lower temperatures.

If you’re buying a new washing machine, try finding one that has an A-rated energy efficiency label. The Energy Saving Trust estimates you could save around £95 over its lifetime compared to a D-rated machine.

Avoid using the tumble dryer 

Drying clothes outside on a washing line will cost you nothing, so is the perfect way to do your laundry at no extra cost. You can dry clothes inside, but try to leave a window open to avoid damp in the home.

The Energy Saving Trust estimates this could save you around £55 per year. 

Turn off the lights you’re not using 

This is a really easy one which will save you a few quid each year. If you leave the room, turn the lights off. If you’re in a room with good access to daylight, do you need the light on as well? If your ceiling light and lamp are on in the same room, then turn one of them off. 

The Energy Saving Trust estimates this could save you around £20 per year. 

Research different light bulbs  

Did you know LED light bulbs use around half the energy of traditional energy saving bulbs, and around 10% of traditional incandescent bulbs? The initial outlay is more expensive, but the savings can be quite dramatic. For example, switching a 60 watt incandescent bulb for an LED alternative could save around £4 per year. Times that by the number of lights in your home and suddenly the savings rack up.  

You don’t have to change them all at once though – change the lightbulbs in the rooms you use the most first.  

Wear an extra jumper 

If you’re feeling the chill try putting on an extra layer or another jumper. Sometimes the heating doesn’t need to be on to feel some warmth.  

Make your home draught proof

A draught-free home requires less heating, and so consumes less energy. There are many DIY ways to do draught-proof a home, such as chimney balloons and seals around your doors, but an older single-glazed house will require further work and perhaps the work of professional. Find out more about draught-proofing your house here. 

Don’t leave your gadgets on standby 

There is debate about how much energy TVs, computers and other small devices use when plugged in and on standby, but turning off devices fully is a good habit to get into. If you can, turn off the plug as well to avoid ‘phantom power’. 

The Energy Saving Trust estimates this could save you around £55 per year. 

Only fill the kettle with the water you need 

We’re all partial to a cuppa, but did you know the more water you boil, the more energy your use? If you’re just making a tea for yourself, simply fill the kettle with the water you need. 

The Energy Saving Trust estimates this could save you around £11 per year. 

Use the eco-setting on your dishwasher… and fill it! 

The best advice here would be to not use your dishwasher at all, but we understand that isn’t always possible or realistic. Your dishwasher should come with a pre-installed eco-setting which means it will run at a lower temperature. Don’t be afraid to use it – it will still leave your dishes nice and clean.  

Only run your dishwasher when it is completely full and ask yourself – does that teacup need to go into the dishwasher, or can you give it a quick rinse with a cloth?  

The Energy Saving Trust estimates this could save you around £14 per year. 

Boiler pressure  

You should check the pressure on your boiler regularly. The pressure on your boiler should read somewhere between 1.0 and 2.0. If it’s below this mark, then more energy is being used to heat your home than necessary.  

If your boiler is fairly new the pressure gauge will be easy to find on the front of the appliance.  

Reduce the temperature on your boiler 

The default heat for your radiator and hot water is often too high on a combi boiler. Reducing this to about 50 degrees for your radiator and 55 degrees for you hot water will be absolutely fine.  

Be assured that changing the temperate on your boiler will not affect the heat coming out of you radiator – that is controlled by the valve on the radiator itself.  

Top up your pre-pay meter over the summer months 

If you’re a prepayment customer, then by adding credit to your pre-pay meter over the summer months you’ll help alleviate some of the extra costs that will be noticeable come winter.  

Our team at Home Energy Scotland offer completely free and impartial advice on all manner of energy topics. Their expert advisors can talk you through simple ways you can reduce your energy use and save money on your bills – what might seem like small changes can add up to a big difference. They can also find out if you're eligible for any grants or funding for energy efficiency home improvements.

Home Energy Scotland has helped over 24,000 homeowners and private tenants to benefit from the Scottish Government funded Warmer Homes Scotland programme. Eight out of ten of these homeowners have received free energy efficiency improvements, and have also saved on average around £300 on their energy bills per year.

Changeworks deliver Home Energy Scotland in the South East and Highlands and Islands, but the service is available nationwide. You can get in touch on 0808 808 2282 or visit homeenergyscotland.org/contact to email them or to ask for a call back.

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