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13 May 2019
Adam Bate

Household energy efficiency tips


 piggy bank on radiator - energy efficiency saving money

Whether you want to cut your carbon footprint, or you’d just like to save a little money, there are a number of things you can do to become more energy efficient.

From making some simple changes around the home to just altering a few habits, small changes can make a world of difference to both the planet and your monthly utility bills.

First and foremost, to help keep your bills as low as possible, it’s best to ensure you’re on the cheapest tariff.

You can check this using our gas and electricity comparison tool, which will provide quotes from the whole UK market. Once you’re happy with your tariff, try the following tips to lower the price even further.

How to be more energy efficient at home

Changing your habits when it comes to gas, water and electricity can help reduce your bills and carbon footprint. Make these simple changes around the house and see what a difference they make each month:

Turn down thermostats

The first thing to try is to keep your heating low. This can be tricky, especially in winter, but the lower your thermostat, the lower your energy bill. This doesn’t have to be a dramatic change, even just 1 degree lower than your usual number can save a lot of money. If the house gets a bit too chilly for you, close your curtains to retain heat or invest in thermal curtains for winter. 

Also, installing a smart thermostat could also help save you hundreds of pounds a year. These work by only heating the rooms you are using and are controlled through your phone, so you can heat your home more efficiently and save money in the long run.

Don’t leave lightbulbs on

This goes without saying, but ensuring you turn off a light switch when you leave the room can alter your electricity bill. So, remind your flatmates or family. To make an even more significant change, switching to energy efficient bulbs could take a lot off of your bills. Not to mention they last longer than regular bulbs.

Never leave appliances on standby

Similarly effective to turning off lightbulbs for energy conservation, you should also turn off appliances after use. This includes laptops, televisions, printers, washing machines, etc. Switching these items off at the plug allows you to save roughly £40 a year according to Energy Saving Trust.

Wash clothes at a lower temperature

Washing your clothes at 30 degrees, instead of higher temperatures, uses roughly 40% less energy, which can save at least £50 a year. Just ensure you have a laundry detergent that works at lower temperatures – having to wash your clothes multiple times will defeat the purpose.

Wash full loads

Also, when washing your clothes, remember to do it in full loads rather than several smaller loads, as this again uses less energy. So, rally around the house and collect everyone’s washing. This also applies to the dishwasher, you should always ensure it is full before turning it on.

Defrost your freezer

Regularly defrosting both your fridge and your freezer helps them to run more efficiently in the future. Also, it’s helpful to pack your fridge full. Surprisingly the more food you stock, the less time the fridge has to run to remain cool.

Keep heat in certain appliances

Allowing heat to escape from your oven, or steam to escape from your pots and pans only requires more energy to heat the food up. To be more energy efficient, keep the lids on pots while boiling food and try to keep the oven door closed. If you’d like to use even less energy, opt for a microwavable meal occasionally instead of depending on your oven.

Avoid wasting water

A final tip to save energy around the house is to monitor your water consumption. Small actions such as showering instead of taking a bath or turning the taps off while you brush your teeth can make all the difference. In short, try to avoid water running for a long period of time. Also, when using the kettle, ensure you only fill it to the amount you need, rather than filling it to the maximum every time.

How to make your home more energy efficient

As well as altering your habits, there are many energy saving changes you can make to your home or property. While the following may come at a cost, they all make up for it in terms of the money you save on heating bills. Not to mention they make your home more valuable. 

Install a smart meter

Smart meters are a new type of energy meter that track your consumption close to real time and allow you to see how much energy you are using and how much money you are spending on that energy. To get a smart meter you have to ensure that your supplier is installing them in your area, so check with them.

Install loft insulation

This may not seem necessary, however properly insulating your loft can help keep the heat in your home and the energy bills down. In fact, having your loft insulated could save you hundreds of pounds each year.

This doesn’t have to apply exclusively to your loft. Insulating any cavity walls around the house can also drastically reduce carbon emissions and your heating bill.

Try energy efficient appliances

As well as energy efficient light bulbs, other appliances can make a world of difference.  For example, an electric oven with an A+ efficiency rating uses roughly 40% less energy than a B rated oven according to Energy Savings Trust. As well as this, consider energy efficient dishwashers, fridge freezers and even eco kettles to keep energy down.

Install a new boiler

Although investing in a new boiler may be pricey, it can make the biggest difference to your home, as heating accounts for roughly 55% of your energy bills. Therefore, upgrading from a G-rated boiler to one with an A-rating can save you around £300 a year.

Opt for a water-saving shower head

Energy efficient shower heads work by reducing the amount of water used. They do this by mixing the water with air or lowering the flow rate of the water. If you don’t want to spend money on a new shower head, simply try and reduce the amount of time you spend in the shower, if you can stick to 5 minutes this will help lower your bill.

Install double glazing

Double glazed windows involve two sheets of glass to trap more heat inside your house, allowing you to lower the thermostat and consequently, your bills. Installing double glazed windows with a rating of A++ could produce annual savings of £115. 

If you don’t fancy forking out for A++ windows, you could also consider draught proofing your home, which will be cheaper. This involves a professional blocking any gaps in your home which allow air through – this could be in the windows or door, the floor or chimney.

Try solar energy

Finally, an important thing to consider when it comes to increasing your energy efficiency is solar energy. Installing solar panels on your roof allows you to generate your own power instead of paying for it. Energy Saving Trust estimates that you can provide 40% of your home’s energy with these cells. On top of that you can even proceed to sell this energy back to the National Grid. 

However, these systems don’t come cheap and will cost you roughly £12,000. Although this is pricey, they will also result in the most savings. It’s important to check with your provider first, as some companies even offer free solar panels if you return any income made through selling the energy back. This often means you can receive free energy for your home.

What if you work from home?

If you work from home, you’ll naturally use more gas and electricity than if you were out at work all day, which means it even more important to be mindful of your energy usage. If at least half of the energy you use is for business purposes, it’s worth comparing business energy deals to see if you could save money with a commercial energy tariff.

How to switch energy supplier

If you want to cut the cost of your energy bills, switching supplier is the simplest way to save money. To start an energy price comparison, simply click the ‘COMPARE ENERGY PRICES’ button at the top of the page. Then just enter a few more details and we’ll instantly compare prices from suppliers across the entire energy market. All you then need to do is choose the deal you prefer and we’ll handle the rest of the switch for you.

For more information on how to switch, check out our energy switching guide.


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