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Energy saving tips for the home

Energy bills may be coming down, but they’re still higher than they were. Discover how to save energy at home to save even more money on future bills.

 Person choosing eco mode on dishwasher

The question of how to save electricity and gas to cut your energy bills has always been important. That’s still true even as gas and electric bills continue to fall from their 2022-2023 highs. There’s never been a better time to find ways to save energy that will put more money in your pocket and help the environment too. Better still, some of the most effective ways to save electricity and gas won’t cost a penny to implement. 

Whether you’ve a few hours to spare or even just a few minutes, discover how to potentially cut hundreds of pounds from future bills.

One of the biggest tips associated with your living room is the idea that many appliances are considered ‘vampire devices’. This means that when they’re left in standby, they continue to drain power and help rack up the bills.

The problem isn’t as bad as it was – TVs, set-top boxes and other devices are now much better at minimising their power use when in standby mode, but try not to leave them switched fully on when they’re not being used.

You should also look in each device’s settings for a power or eco mode as well as sleep timers – these can minimise the power draw even in use, as well as more efficiently handle standby modes where the device doesn’t go into a deep sleep.

Mobile charging

It’s tempting to charge your mobile devices overnight, so you wake up with a fully charged battery. However, even if your charger has an automatic cut-off feature, it’ll still be drip-feeding the battery for longer than necessary. This adds to your energy bills, but it’s not good for your battery’s health either.

Try to get in the habit of charging during the day – consider investing in a solar-powered charging bank, which can power your devices for free during daylight hours. Also check your phone’s power-saving settings - if your phone can run longer between charges, this will help to extend its lifespan.

Read on to discover how to cut energy costs in one of your home’s biggest energy drains: the kitchen.


The kettle is one of the kitchen’s worst offenders, typically rated at 3kWh. If you’re constantly filling it up for hot drinks you can easily add £1-2 to your daily bill, which soon adds up. Here’s how to use it to best effect:

  • Only boil the amount of water you need at any given time. If necessary, buy a kettle with a water gauge to help judge the right amount – you’ll soon be saving money and time as the water boils much quicker.
  • Need some boiling water for the hob? It’s quicker and cheaper to use the kettle to boil the water rather than heat it on the hob.


If you can’t handle washing by hand, then the following tips will help your dishwasher do its job for less money:

  • Only use your dishwasher when full – you’ll use the same amount of water and electricity whether it’s full or half-full.
  • Avoid prewashing dishes – simply scrape off the leftovers into your food waste bin before putting plates and bowls into the dishwasher.
  • Use the eco setting – this takes longer to heat the water but can reduce energy usage by up to 20%.
  • Skip the drying cycle – when the washing cycle finishes, open the dishwasher to let everything dry naturally.

Fridges and freezers

Your fridge and freezer work around the clock to keep your food fresh. Here’s how to cut their sizeable contribution to your annual electricity bill:

  • Keep your fridge at between 3-5°C and your freezer to -18°C. This ensures food is kept fresh while reducing your energy bills. If your fridge’s dial doesn’t provide a temperature gauge, you can pick up a fridge thermometer for as little as £1.
  • Let cooked food cool before placing it in the fridge or freezer to reduce the amount of energy required to chill or freeze it.Your fridge is most efficient when it’s reasonably full (but not crammed). If it’s looking bare, temporarily fill the space with bottles of water or even stuffed newspaper.
  • Don’t leave the freezer or fridge door open for long periods to avoid it wasting energy cooling its contents again.
  • Make sure you leave a gap – around 10 cm – between the back of your freezer and the wall. This gives the coils plenty of space to efficiently transfer heat away from the refrigerating components. Regularly dust or vacuum this area (with the freezer switched off) to keep it clear.
  • Defrost your freezer every 6-12 months to keep it working at peak efficiency.
  • Keep an eye on the door seals – keep them in good condition or replace them if necessary to keep cold air locked in.
  • >Don’t forget to switch your freezer’s fast freeze off if you use it after defrosting.


The following tips help reduce the added cost of heating your food:

Reduce your oven usage

  • Use your microwave instead of your oven when you can. Not only does food cook more quickly, but you’ll also save loads of electricity.
  • Alternatively, use an air fryer. There’s no preheating involved, and food cooks quicker in the fryer’s confined space. Make sure you buy a model large enough to meet your needs.
  • The most energy efficient alternative to the oven is a slow cooker. These consume just a fraction of the energy of your oven – under 0.2kWh in some cases. That compares to 2-2.5kWh for a typical fan oven.

Cooking on the hob

  • When cooking on the hob, use the correct sized hob for the pan you’re using.
  • Use the smallest practical saucepan when cooking food, but the largest pan when heating liquids, as they heat quicker over a larger surface area.
  • Place lids on your pans to trap the heat and speed up cooking times. Consider switching off the hob 5 minutes before cooking completes. There should be enough heat in the pain to finish cooking.
  • Consider using a pressure cooker to speed up cooking meat, beans and stews.

Efficient use of your oven

  • Set a timer when preheating your oven so you don’t leave it empty for longer than needed.
  • Keep your oven door clean – that way you can see inside and judge when your cooking is finished without having to keep opening the door. Every time it’s opened, it loses up to 25°C of heat.
  • Switch off the oven 10 minutes before cooking time is completed – the ambient heat should be enough to finish cooking your food.
  • Look to cook bigger meals that can be used on 2 or more days. Store leftovers in the fridge (for next day) or freezer (for later). They can then be quickly reheated in the microwave.
  • After cooking, leave the oven door open if you’ve no further use for it. This can help heat the kitchen for free.
  • When your old appliance needs replacing, take the time to source a more energy-efficient alternative. Find out more with our guide to the cost of running appliances.

The following tips will help slash the cost of washing and drying clothes:

  • Wash at 30°C (or even 15°C) instead of 40°C.
  • If there’s an eco option, use it – it extends the washing time, but you use significantly less energy to heat the water.
  • Reduce the number of washes per week by only washing full loads – but don’t overload the drum.
  • Make sure your clothes are properly spun out to reduce their drying time.Avoid using the tumble dryer whenever possible – look to dry outside or indoors on an airer.
  • Consider a heated clothes airer for winter use, which can consume as little as 0.3kWh. There are 2 main types: rack-style airers and heated pods that dry clothes on hangers. Remember to leave a window slightly open to allow moisture to escape.
  • If you can’t live without your tumble dryer, keep it in a warm room, and regularly clean the filters and vents to maximise energy efficiency.

There are plenty of ways you can save water in the bathroom. Get out of the habit of leaving the tap running when cleaning your teeth, for example. Also investigate ways of reducing the amount of water used with each flush. Turn your gaze on your shower and you can save electricity too – here’s how:

Now that LED bulbs are on the scene, there’s no excuse not to replace those old energy-guzzling bulbs that belong in the last century. LEDs don’t just use even less electricity than their predecessor, the CFL (compact fluorescent lamp). They also provide instant brightness equivalent to your old incandescent bulbs and will last a lot longer too.

The following table helps you choose the correct wattage bulb depending on the type you need:

Bulb type Low brightness  Medium brightness  High brightness 
Incandescent  40-60 watts  60-75 watts  75-100 watts
CFL 12-15 watts  15-18 watts
18-23 watts
LED  4-5 watts
6-8 watts
9-13 watts 

Here’s what else you can do to cut your lighting costs:

  • Remember to turn off lights whenever you leave a room. Alternatively, install a smart lighting system that switches on and off automatically when people enter or leave a room.
  • Don’t forget to change your non-standard bulbs too: there are LED tube lights for the kitchen and LED spotlights for elsewhere in the home too.
  • If you have dimmer switches, use them to reduce the ambient lighting and save energy at the same time.
  • Clean your bulbs and light fittings regularly to remove dust that will dim the light.

Gas has become a lot more expensive in recent years, but you can shave hundreds of pounds a year off your bills by implementing some or all of the following changes:

Boiler tips

  • If you have a combi boiler, visit the Money Saving Boiler Challenge website to learn how to cut around £65 a year from your bill. It works by reducing your boiler flow temperature to 60°C. You won’t notice the difference, although your house will take a little longer to heat up. If your combi boiler has separate settings for heating and hot water temperatures, try reducing your hot water setting even further.
  • You can also reduce the temperature on non-combi condensing boilers too. However, you need to ensure your hot water reaches the storage tank at 60°C to eliminate the risk of legionnaires disease. To guarantee this, set a higher figure.
  • The above tip works best if your home is well-insulated and warms up quickly. After reducing the boiler flow temperature, keep an eye on your thermostat. If your home feels much colder, or struggles to reach the thermostat temperature, revert to your original settings. If your combi boiler has a pre-heat mode and you’re out during the day, switch this off to save more money.
  • Ensure your boiler is regularly serviced to keep it running at peak efficiency for longer.
  • Check your boiler’s pressure gauge – it should be between 1.0 and 2.0 bar for maximum efficiency.

Hot water system

  • Make sure your hot water cylinder is properly insulated: fit a British Standard Kitemark-marked jacket (80 mm thick) and you can save around £40 a year.
  • Also check the hot water tank for a thermostat – set this to 60°C to cut your bills. The water will remain hot enough, and you’ll keep the legionella bacteria at bay.

Heating system

  • Reduce your thermostat by 1°C to save up to £100 a year. According to the World Health Organisation, you can reduce it to as little as 18°C for healthy adults.Install a smart thermostat and controls to fine-tune your heating and cut up to £40 a year from your bills.
  • If you live alone, consider alternative and cheaper ways of warming the space around you rather than your whole home. For example, using an electric blanket at bedtime will consume just under 0.1kWh. Also consider heated jackets and other clothing powered by a rechargeable battery.

Some suggest that leaving the heating on all day can prove as efficient (if not more efficient) than heating the house up on demand during the colder months. It might be worth considering if you meet the following criteria:

  • You spent most of your free time (evenings and weekends minimum) at home.
  • You have a heat pump or modern condensing boiler.
  • You have walls that aren’t particularly well insulated, such as exposed brickwork.
  • Your home suffers from damp and/or mould.

If you meet these criteria, then try the experiment over a set period. First, monitor your smart meter to see how much energy is currently being used. Then set the thermostat to 18-19°C and leave the heating on constantly for the same period. Assuming the conditions are similar for both periods, you’ll be able to determine which is most efficient.


  • Keep your radiators in good condition – regularly dust them using a radiator brush, plus bleed them at least once a year.
  • Improve your radiators’ efficiency by fitting reflector panels behind them to divert the heat back into the room. Other options include fitting a radiator shelf above the radiator or investing in radiator boosters, although these require electricity to run.
  • Avoid placing items of furniture like sofas directly in front of your radiators – leave a minimum 10 cm gap.
  • Turn down radiators in rooms you don’t use (remember to shut the doors to those rooms too!).

Boost insulation and minimise heat loss

  • Check you have the required roof or loft insulation with the help of the Energy Saving Trust.
  • Insulate your pipes – not only does this stop them freezing, but it reduces the amount of heat lost when transporting hot water around your home. If the pipes are easily accessible, measure the pipe diameter so you know which tube-shaped insulation to get from your local DIY store. Use foil tape to insulate joints and bends.
  • Close curtains in rooms during colder parts of the day and at night. Thermal curtains or window blinds can also help reduce heat loss through windows. Make sure the curtains are open on sunny days to let the sun naturally heat the room.
  • Draught-proof your home – seek out and seal unwanted gaps around windows, doors, floors, chimneys and elsewhere. Don’t touch any ventilation devices like extractor fans or air bricks. Find out more with our home warming hacks guide.

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, find out how to keep your energy usage down with the following top tips:

  • If you’re thinking about buying a hot tub, be prepared to pay more for one that’s better insulated. This will cost less in the long run to heat. If it doesn’t come with a cover, get one that’s a snug fit to lock in more heat and save more energy.
  • Cut back on your lawnmower use – not only will you use less energy, but your garden will reward you with more wildflowers and wildlife, including birds and butterflies.
  • Switch to an electric lawnmower – they’re cheaper to run than petrol mowers, and don’t need constant refilling (although you will need a suitable extension cable). Make sure you choose an appropriate size for your garden.
  • Avoid patio heaters – they commonly use 1.5-3kW of power to run and aren’t effective at heating a large area. Wrap up with extra layers instead – maybe even treat yourself to a heated jacket.
  • Switch to solar garden lights – these charge during the day and cost nothing to run at night. The lack of cables means they can be placed anywhere you like too.
  • Dry your clothes outdoors whenever the temperature is 16°C or greater. If your garden is sheltered and south-facing, you might be able to dry clothes at 14 or 15°C in sunny or windy weather. At the height of summer, clothes can dry in under an hour, making it easy to concentrate all your washing into a single day.

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