Are you torn between renovating your current home and moving to a new property? We've broken down the pros and cons for you.
As it is Big Energy Saving Week, we have collated 40 tips to help you save heat and fuel and make your home more energy efficient. Not only will these tips help you save money on energy bills, but they can help make your home cosier and more sustainable to run!
Big Energy Saving Week is a national campaign to help people cut their fuel bills and get any financial support they are entitled to. The week (18-24 January 2021) aims to raise awareness on how to switch energy supplier or tariff to get the best deal, how to access discounts and how to make homes more energy efficient.
This is the 8th Big Energy Saving Week, a partnership between Citizens Advice, the Energy Saving Trust and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy with the support of numerous organisations, charities and companies.
Here are 40 tips to save energy, fuel and money:
- Investigate switching to a different energy supplier. You might be able to get a cheaper deal, especially if you haven’t switched for at least three years. Further information is available in this leaflet provided by the National Energy Foundation on switching your supplier.
- Avoid estimated bills. Keep your bills accurate by submitting regular meter readings to your energy supplier.
- Buy an energy monitor. These allow you to see which appliances use the most electricity so you can adjust how much you use them.
- Turn it down! Turning your thermostat down by 1°C could save you energy and money (c.£75 per year), without noticing any difference.
- Understand your heating system - learning how your heating system and its controls work means you can use it in the best and most cost-effective way for you. For example, your home will take about 30 minutes to cool down (longer in a well-insulated property) so consider turning the heating off half an hour before you go to bed.
- Replace your light bulbs with energy-efficient versions. Lighting accounts for about 7% of a household's energy bill. Old-fashioned filament bulbs are only 5% efficient while energy-saving (CFL) bulbs use about 75-80% less energy. Light emitting diode (LED) bulbs are the most efficient and overcome many reservations people have with CFLs, but they are also the most expensive.
- Fit a 'chop' device for your central heating. These devices automatically turn your central heating off for a pre-set period during every hour it's working, thereby using less energy.
- Install motion detector or time-delay lights. These turn off automatically so save electricity.
- Check the insulation in your loft/roof. Around 25% of heat lost in a typical uninsulated home escapes through the roof. You should have at least 270mm (11.5 inches) of insulation in the loft. If you add extra insulation, make sure it doesn't get compressed. Raised platforms, above the height of the insulation, can be installed for storage.
- Check your wall insulation. Around 35% of heat lost in a typical uninsulated house is through the walls. If you have cavity walls, think about having them filled. Solid walls can also be insulated (either internally or externally) but this is more complex and costly.
- Fit double or triple glazing. If your windows need replacing, consider fitting either double or triple glazing. Both reduce heat loss through the glass. Or, fit secondary glazing. Putting a second pane of glass in an existing window can be almost as effective as sealed replacement units, but it costs a lot less.
- Fit radiator reflector panels. You can lose heat if a radiator is on an external wall, especially if it isn't insulated. Reflector panels help to reflect that heat back into the room. You can buy them from hardware shops, fit them yourself and you don’t need to remove the radiator.
- Fit a radiator booster. This sits on top of a radiator and sucks up lost heat from behind it. It uses a small electrical fan to circulate the warm air round the room so you should be able to turn down your thermostat.
- If you don’t have them, install thermostatic radiator valves. TRVs allow you to control your heating on a room-by-room basis so you can turn it off in rooms you don’t use.
- Fit a chimney balloon. If you have an open fireplace and it’s not being used, consider placing a chimney balloon in it.
- TV’s on standby COSTS! Leaving appliances on standby can use as much as 75% of the energy they use when they're fully switched on and could cost you up to £80 per year.
- And CHARGERS… unplug or turn off chargers. Here’s one for the teenagers in the house, especially as some older models use electricity even when they're not plugged into a device.
- Insulate your hot-water tank. Put a jacket over your tank or buy one that's already covered with rigid foam.
- Lag your pipes. This will help keep heat inside the pipes and prevent them freezing if they pass through an unheated space.
- Change your shower head to an 'eco' version. This will reduce the amount of energy needed to heat the water.
- Banish drafty doors – if you insulate your door furniture by fitting covers on letter boxes and keyholes you will keep heat in. You'd be surprised how much heat can be lost!
- Buy energy-efficient appliances. When replacing a household appliance, buy an energy-efficient model. Look for the energy rating.
- Use your toaster rather than your grill. A toaster uses less energy than a grill.
- Don't overuse your kettle. Kettles use quite a lot of energy so only boil as much water as you need.
- Leave your oven door open. After you've finished cooking in the oven, leave the door open to keep the kitchen warm.
- Use a slow cooker. Slow cookers take longer to cook food but they're cheaper to run than conventional ovens.
- Look after your fridge and freezer. Regularly defrost your freezer and try to keep it reasonably full, to avoid wasting energy. Check the seals are tight to make sure that no warm air is getting in.
- Don't leave your fridge door open. The longer it’s open, the more energy it takes to get it back to its correct temperature.
- When washing clothes and bedding, use full loads. This will reduce the number of loads. If you need to do less than a full load, use the 'half load' or 'economy' setting on your washing machine.
- Tip number 30 is of course, use the 30°C wash setting. Nowadays, this is more than adequate to clean clothes and will save you up to 75% of the cost of the hottest cycle.
- Use a shorter wash cycle. A cycle that lasts an hour, for example, is adequate for most washes. If you combine a shorter cycle with a lower temperature setting, you can save energy on two fronts.
- Use your tumble drier sparingly. Tumble driers can use a lot of energy. On nice sunny days, dry your clothes outside. If you must use a tumble dryer, only tumble dry those clothes that really need it.
- Clean your tumble drier filter. Do this regularly as it helps your drier operate at its most efficient.
- Use eco balls in your tumble drier. These create gaps between your clothes, allowing the heat to move freely around and dry your clothes more quickly.
- Use a clothes airer and not the radiators – putting clothes or towels on radiators lowers the quantity of heat released, so the boiler must run for longer to achieve the same room temperature, thereby using more fuel overall.
- New computer? Think about buying a laptop, which will use around 85% less energy than a new desktop.
- Time for a new boiler? Install an energy-efficient condensing boiler. These are much more efficient than old boilers, use less fuel and are available for use with mains gas, oil or Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
- Draw the curtains. Especially at night, to keep the warmth in and the cold out. Also, tuck your curtains behind the radiators.
- And when you go to tuck yourself in - use a hot water bottle. It's cheaper than an electric blanket!
- Of course there is the one additional tip that we have all heard – put another jumper on before you turn the thermostat up!
Also worth remembering, for those bigger improvements, the Green Homes Grant scheme has been extended to the end of March 2022. Homeowners in England can access vouchers worth up to £5000 to help fund energy-efficient home improvements under a new Government scheme which launched at the end of September. Read more here.