As winter arrives, we all want to save some money wherever we can on our energy bills, but it can be hard to know where to start. Whether you are looking to save money on bills or hoping to lower your carbon footprint this winter or perhaps do both, saving energy is a great thing to do for you, your property and your wallet. Most of us know that we can save money by putting on a jumper instead of cranking up the thermostat, but there are lots of easy ways to cut your energy bills. Here are 10 of the best tips to save energy this winter.
Sort the draughts
Draughts in your home are not only annoying, but can be a huge waste of energy. Instead of paying more money to heat your house, fix some of those draughts. Gaps in doors or windows can let warm air out and cold air in. You can fix these with draught excluders, sealants or homemade alternatives. You might want to use a rolled-up blanket at the base of your door or fill some gaps with newspaper. Gaps and cracks in floors can also be responsible for heat loss in your home, so make sure you check your floors carefully and fill any gaps with a suitable sealant.
Green Home Grants can be utilised for draught proofing properties, which is a secondary measure under the scheme.
Insulate your home
A well-insulated home will keep you warm for less. It’s as simple as that. The better insulted your home, the less you’ll need to pay in heating bills each month. You can insulate your roof, put insulation under your floorboards, insulate your cavity walls and even solid brick walls. There are grants and government schemes available that could help you with the cost of insulation. The level of funding depends on a number of factors including whether you are on a low income. Free insulation for people on benefits is available through Green Homes Grants, for example, but if you are a homeowners on a higher salary looking for grants to help with loft insulation, you would still be eligible for a Green Homes Voucher. The difference is that you would need to contribute one third of the cos of the work with the voucher covering the cost of the rest (up to a maximum of £5000).
Change your bulbs
This is such a simple way of saving energy. If you haven’t already, switch over all your light bulbs to LED energy saving bulbs. Many LED energy-saving light bulbs have a life of 50,000 hours, which means if you left them on for 12 hours a day, they would last you for 11 years. LED bulbs use much less electricity than traditional light bulbs, such as halogens. LED bulbs also do not get as hot as other alternatives, making them less of a potential fire risk. According to the Energy Saving Trust, switching to LED light bulbs could save your household £35 a year in electricity bills.
Keep your heating under control
Turn down your thermostat just a little. Reducing your room temperature by just 1°C could cut your heating bills by up to 10%. Remember that you can also turn the thermostat on your hot water tank down, to save more money on water and energy. Making sure your property is properly insulated will enable you (by having a warmer, better insulated property) to turn down your thermostat by potentially more than a single degree.
Wash and dry with care
Unless you have a specific reason to do so, there’s really no reason to be washing your clothes at a temperature higher than 30ºC. Today most laundry detergents will work at temperatures of 30 degrees or lower. That extra heat isn’t always and necessarily making your clothes cleaner (unless they are particularly dirty) but will be costing you money and using up more energy. Around 90% of a washing machine’s energy is spent heating the water. Make sure that every time you do the washing you are washing a full load and invest in a drying rack so that you don’t have to use a tumble dryer. Not only will air drying your clothes save you energy but it will also mean that your clothes will last you longer.
Switch off and unplug appliances around the home
Try not to leave any of your electrical appliances on standby. If you’re done with your hair dryer, unplug it and switch it off at the wall. Leaving appliances like TVs, DVD players or changers plugged in can waste energy. Whenever possible switch them off and unplug them. According to the Energy Saving Trust, you can save around £30 a year just by avoiding using your appliances’ standby mode.
Draw your curtains
Windows can let a lot of heat out of your home, especially if they’re not double glazed. Make sure that in the evenings you would draw your curtains to keep the warmth in and keep the cold air out. Not only will you save energy but it also means that your home feels really cosy!
Every time you use your oven, every shelf within the oven is getting hot, whether there is food on it and in the oven or not. You can save energy by cooking more efficiently; batch cooking your food and using every shelf in your oven. Once you’re done cooking, open up your oven door and let the heat from the oven warm the room. This way you are warming your home with energy that would otherwise just be removed by the extractor fan.
Service your boiler regularly
If you have gas or oil central heating, aim to have your boiler serviced every year by a qualified engineer to make sure it’s running efficiently. If your boiler is over 15-years-old, it will more than likely be time for a new and more efficient one. You could save close to £350 a year when you switch.
Don’t block the heat
If you’ve got your radiators turned on and your heating up your house make sure that you’re not wasting that energy. If your radiator is being blocked by a sofa or a bookshelf you’re not going to be getting as much heat as you could from it. make sure that your radiators are clear so they can heat up the room instead of just the back of your sofa.