A simple way to cut your energy usage and reduce the amount you pay in gas and electricity bills is to identify the appliances and other products which use the most power. Some will be obvious – for example your central heating boiler, and your cooker – while others, such as a flat-screen TV, might be less so.
Once you’ve worked out the items that are the biggest drain on your home’s energy supply, you can take steps to curb their use and make sure they are not wasting gas or electricity.
You don’t have to do anything drastic like ban central heating or limit your TV watching to an hour a day. But there are a number of straightforward measures you can take to ensure you and your family are using no more energy than you really need.
Which appliances waste the most power?
Generally speaking, anything in your home which generates heat and/or light is likely to be a heavy user of either gas or electricity. So these are the items you should focus on when cutting excess consumption.
But keep an eye on other sources of waste – leaving a mobile phone plugged into a socket even after it has charged will waste electricity, for example. Over a year, that excess consumption can really mount up.
Here are some of the most common energy-wasters, plus tips for cutting back:
Your boiler is probably your home’s biggest energy user. None of us can really go without hot water or central heating, so consider ways to cut down on excessive use.
Keep doors inside the home shut during cold weather so heat doesn’t escape, and make sure you turn off radiators in rooms which aren’t being used.
If you increase your boiler’s power when it’s really cold, make sure you turn it back down again when temperatures outside get milder. And don’t be fooled into thinking that leaving your heating or hot water on permanently – even when you’re out at work – is cheaper than turning it on only when it’s needed.
Many people believe that leaving a boiler running at a low temperature uses less energy than switching it on just when needed and forcing it to heat up water from cold. But, according to the Energy Saving Trust, this is not true.
Using items such as ovens and kettles as efficiently as possible can have a big impact on your energy costs. So if you’re making a single cuppa, it’s not necessary to fill the kettle to the top.
And if you’re using the oven, try to cook more than one thing at once – put a tray of biscuits in at the same time you’re baking a cake, for example.
Defrost food overnight in your fridge rather than in the microwave – but using your microwave to reheat is normally the most efficient option.
Your TV is likely to be one of the biggest wasters of energy when you’re not even watching it. Many families leave their tellies on standby whenever it’s not switched on, wasting a large amount of electricity over the course of a year. Turn it off either on the TV itself or at the mains.
The same applies to DVD players, set-top boxes and games consoles. You can buy remote controls that switch off appliances at the mains, so you don’t have to go reaching behind the TV every time.
Don’t have your telly brighter than you need it. And if you’re about to buy a new model, bear in mind that the bigger the screen size, the more expensive it will be to run.