Seven steps to saving energy straight away

1. Turn it down!

Many households have their central heating set higher than they need it, without even realising it. Try turning your room thermostat down by one degree. Leave it for a day and if you still feel warm enough, try turning it down another degree. Carry on until it feels a bit too cool and then turn it back up one degree.

Every degree that you turn it down could save you around £65 a year on your heating bill.

2. Turn it off!

Make sure you turn your lights, appliances and chargers off when you’re not using them. If you turn a light off for even a few seconds, you will save more energy than it takes the light to start up again, no matter what sort of lights you have. And nearly all electrical and electronic appliances can safely be turned off at the plug without upsetting their systems – the only exceptions are satellite and digital TV recorders which should be left plugged in so they can keep track of any programmes you want to record – but check the instructions on any appliances you aren’t sure about.

A family could save between £50 and £90 a year just by remembering to turn things off, if they don’t already do this.

3. Careful in the kitchen!

You can save another £40 a year just by being careful how you use your kitchen appliances.

Set your washing machine to wash at 30°C.
Only use your tumble dryer when you can’t dry your clothes outside.
Don’t fill your kettle right up every time – just boil the amount of water you need.
Next steps

Most households could do steps one, two and three without having to spend even a penny. So if you’re not doing them already, start now and you could save up to £155 a year – that’s more than home energy bills went up at the last big price rise.

Now let’s re-invest some of those savings in some simple measures that will pay back quickly, and see if we can double those savings…

4. Get a head!

An eco shower head, that is. If you’ve got a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank (rather than an electric shower) then you may be able to fit a water-efficient shower head and cut your hot water use without noticing any difference when you shower.

A shower head will cost around £27 and a family of four will save around £75 a year on water heating, and another £90 on water bills if they have a water meter.

5. Don’t lag behind!

Lag your tank instead. If you have an uninsulated hot water cylinder, you could start saving now by fitting a tank jacket. And while you’re about it, insulate any exposed hot pipework around the cylinder and around the boiler.

It’s easy to fit yourself, the materials for the whole lot will only cost you around £25, and you’ll save £60 a year.

6. Be a draught excluder!

Unless your home is very new, you’re likely to be losing some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, maybe up a chimney or two, and a whole host of other little holes around the house.

So why not buy some proper draught-proofing products for the doors and windows, seal your skirting boards with silicone sealant, and fit chimney draught excluder or sealed fire guards? Depending on your house, materials could cost up to £160 but you could save up to £75 a year, so they’ll pay for themselves in less than two years.

7. Lighten your load!

Have you changed all your light bulbs for low-energy ones? Even the halogen spots? You can now get LED spotlights that are bright enough to replace halogens, as well as regular energy saving bulbs (‘compact fluorescent lamps’ or CFLs) for pretty much everything else. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and fittings. Look for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo to be assured of light quality and lifetime.

If the average household replaced all their remaining old-fashioned bulbs with CFLs and all their halogens with LEDs it would cost around £125 and save around £60 a year.

Total savings

Add them all together and – well, you can’t really add them all together, because very few houses could do all of these, and some of them overlap a little, but a great many households could save between £150 and £300 a year while spending less than that to fit everything in the first year. Remember that the savings you can achieve will depend on what you’re currently doing, and how many changes you choose to make.

Posted on Jun 04, 2013.

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