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How to lower your energy usage around the home

How to lower your energy usage around the home

Close up of small seedling growing alongside a lightbulb and spilled jar of money

The average annual gas and electricity energy bill is an eye-watering £1,289. It’s shocking to think that for most of us, it’s our second most expensive household bill after our mortgage or rent payments. Our energy usage around the home is increasing with every gadget we buy, so it’s more important than ever to reduce it or at least get it under some sort of control, but how?

We know you’re already thinking about how to spend less on your energy. We get it, and we’d rather have the money in our pocket too. By making small adjustments in our homes, it could save hundreds of pounds. We’re dreaming of spending the extra money on a spa day or a weekend staycation. Wouldn’t that be great? Whether you’re new to saving energy or you’ve been doing it for years, we’ve got new tips and tricks to reduce your consumption. Start planning how you’ll spend your extra cash!

Smart meters show energy usage around the home

They say that to know where you’re going; you need to know where you’ve been. Similarly, you need to know how much energy you’re using, to see where you can save it.

The first step is to install a smart meter.

Energy companies all over the UK are pushing to get smart meters into homes by the end of 2020, but due to COVID the government has relaxed that target to mid 2021. Not only can it save you money, but installing one comes at no extra cost – all you need to do request a smart meter and have an engineer visit to install it. Then, you plug your smart meter in and watch the readings flood in real-time.

Your smart meter can show how much energy you’re using throughout the day and instantly, so when you flip the switch on your kettle for your morning brew; you’ll see your usage begin to increase. It’s a great way to know where you can reduce your energy usage around the home and how rates differ from day to day. If you can’t measure it, how are you expecting to manage it?

Your appliances energy usage around the home

It wouldn’t be fair to suggest going out and purchasing brand new energy-efficient appliances throughout your home – we are trying to save money after all. But perhaps instead we can look at which appliances typically use more energy than others. That way you can prioritise which devices to upgrade in your home, as and when you can afford to.

How to reduce the energy usage of your fridge freezer

There aren’t many ways you can decrease the energy usage of your fridge freezer. Keeping the doors closed when not grabbing something and ensuring you defrost your freezer regularly are two great options. Still, ultimately the appliance is trying to keep itself at a set temperature 24 hours a day. Meaning there is little in your control to reduce its energy consumption. It’s for this reason that when upgrading to energy-efficient appliances, you should prioritise your fridge freezer.

You might be familiar with the symbols for an A+++ appliance, but be sure to shop around and find something that works in your budget as well as it being efficient. This article from TechTalk at Currys is a great place to start your research.

How to reduce the energy usage of your television

It might surprise you that your television is the next electrical item you should consider upgrading. Although it’s not as bad as your fridge freezer, it uses a significant amount of energy – partially because of the amount we use it. Especially throughout lockdown, we’ve all been having Netflix binges lately.

Make sure your home has an LED option, they use 25% less energy than LCD and 40% less than plasma.

We can reduce the amount of energy our TV uses by switching it off at the wall, but for many of us, the plug socket for our TV is behind a big unit that is a struggle to reach. Do you see a pattern start to form? The items what we struggle to minimise our usage of are the first to be replaced with more energy-efficient options. This article from Green Coast shows the 7 best energy-efficient TVs of 2020.

How to reduce the energy usage of your tumble dryer

A tumbler dryer is used for an average of 150 days per year, but if you use it 4 days per week, it can cost you over £110 a year to run. Imagine that; £100 just to speed up the time it takes to dry your clothes! If you’re a family of 4 or more, a tumble dryer is a great tool to have to minimise the amount of clothes horses stacked up around the home, but there are other options.

It doesn’t have to be a hot day outside for your clothes to dry, a gentle breeze will go a long way.

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Another great tip is to put a spin cycle on your washing machine; this will help speed up the drying process and minimise the amount of time a tumble dryer is needed. Of course, the best option is not to use a tumble dryer, use the space in your home to hang clothes up to dry – after all if you’re heating your home in the winter months, your home is already warmer to dry your clothes in. Hang clothes on door frames, over radiators, on bannisters – we’re even quite impartial to hanging them on our curtain rails in rooms where the sun tends to shine through. Be sure that wherever you choose to air dry your clothes indoors, that you ensure there is suitable ventilation to prevent the growth of condensation and mould. This is easily done by cracking open a window.

Our quick top energy saving tips

Aside from replacing appliances and learning more about our energy usage around the home from smart meters, there are some easy small ‘wins’ that you can do to save. We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 favourites:

  1. Always put a lid on the pot you’re cooking with. This makes the water heat up faster and reducing cooking time.
  2. Give up the dishwasher. For a dishwasher to be efficient, you need it to be full, which means allowing dishes to pile up before using it.
  3. Only boil the water you need in your kettle. Fill up your mug with water then tip it into your kettle to get an accurate amount.
  4. Switch to extension cables that have a switch. This way, you only need to turn off one switch to turn off all your electrics at the end of the day.
  5. Don’t go for cheap lightbulbs, get the energy-efficient ones. They last longer so help you to save money on your energy bills.
  6. Fill the empty space in your freezer with tubs of water. This reduces the amount of air that the freezer has to cool. The more empty space, the harder it has to work.
  7. Turn your thermostat down. Even if it’s just by one degree, it could save you a whopping £80 per year!
  8. Use reflector panels behind your radiators. This can help radiate the heat around the room more efficiently, so your heating doesn’t need to be on for as long.
  9. Insulate! Not just your home, but yourself. If you’re cold, forget turning up the heating and throw a blanket or jumper on instead. There are some grants available to improve the insulation of your home.
  10. Shut down the computer. A lot of us are still working from home, and we’re in the habit of simply putting our computer on ‘sleep mode’ or just closing the laptop. It might save us an extra minute or two when switching on in the morning, but it uses more energy while it sleeps in comparison to being shut down properly.

What if you’re doing all of that and more?

Perhaps you’re reading these suggestions, and you feel like you’ve maximised the amount of energy you could be saving. Now is the time to ask whether you should be investing in creating some instead?

Solar energy costs have decreased by 90% since 2009; it’s more affordable than ever to invest in solar energy. Could you perhaps have a couple of panels on your roof? It’s certainly something to consider. If you’re wondering if solar energy is an affordable option for you, be sure to check out this article from the Money Saving Expert.

There are more than enough ways to reduce your energy usage around the home, and if not, then you can move onto the next step of creating it. You might even have enough land to build a solar farm – there are plenty of opportunities worth investigating.

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