12 Surprising ways to reduce your energy use at home

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If you are trying to cut down on energy use at home - you’re not the only one. It is estimated that almost 24 million people have attempted to cut their energy use between March and June, according to the latest office for national statistics report. 

As we’re heading into the cold winter months, with dark mornings and equally dark evenings, many of us will have to watch our energy consumption, even more, to avoid having to pay exorbitant bills at the end of the month. By making some small changes however, it is possible to keep your energy use at bay and regain some control over the cost of your utility bills. 

Below we have outlined 12 ways to reduce your energy use at home - which you may not have considered below:

1. Wash bigger loads less often

White appliances - such as washing machines and dishwashers, are notorious for cranking up your energy bills. Many of us don’t take into consideration how much we use them, and how much we could save every year by simply being more mindful about their use. 

When looking to cut back costs, reconsidering how often we wash our clothes is the place to start. You can save substantial amounts annually by simply having a straightforward clothes-washing routine. Instead of doing small last-minute cycles consisting of a couple of essentials for the next day, make sure to run one to two full laundry cycles per week. 

Washing machines use the same amount of water and energy no matter the size of the load - therefore, doing two large cycles instead of, let’s say, four smaller ones will cut your appliance usage by half. Washing your clothes at low temperatures such as 30 degrees, will also help save around 40% of the energy used each year, as according to a report by energysavingtrust.org.uk

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2. Make a brew on a budget 

Statistical data from forbes shows that 45% of the UK population drinks between 2 to 5 cups of tea per day. Taking into consideration that the average household consists of at least two people, this can add up significantly to your annual energy usage. 

The most obvious option to cut down is to simply consume less. However, many will agree that a cup or two of tea in the evening is one of life’s simplest pleasures, which many are simply unwilling to let go of. A life hack for those extremely keen on cutting down their energy use is to simply avoid reboiling your kettle multiple times a day. 

Boiling a whole kettle in the morning and putting the remaining hot water in a well-insulated hot water flask will allow you to enjoy multiple cups of tea throughout the day without having to switch the kettle on each time, bringing up the price of your electricity bill. 

3. Switch your boiler off 

Many people forget about the fact that boilers are notorious for using up electricity. Display screens, back-lighting bulbs, and smart thermostats will all use electricity to help keep your home heated and supplied with hot water. 

Our boilers are one of the few things in our homes that we do not switch off on a regular basis. It turns out that switching your boiler off when leaving the house for work can help you save on your energy bills. You shouldn’t expect huge savings; however, at a time when energy prices are reported to increase by an additional 80%, the smallest changes are ones that can help us improve our energy efficiency in the long run. 

4. Draught proof your house 

About 32% of all heat leaves through excessive ventilation or, simply put, poor draught proofing across a property. The good news is that draught-proofing your house can be done simply and on a budget. Your main areas of concern should be external doors, windows, and letterboxes. 

Go around your house and conduct a short energy efficiency survey - check all nooks and crooks where cold air could be getting in. Doing this on a particularly cold and windy day, especially while you’ve already had your heating on for a while, will help you find the exact spots where cold air may be getting in through the outside. 

You can use tape, silicone, or other draught-proofing tools easily available online to plug up any gaps and spaces where cold air may be squeezing through. Alternatively, a more costly but permanent solution could be to replace your windows and doors with ones that provide better insulation. 

5. Remove limescale from your kettle 

Another option for tea and coffee lovers. If you are not quite ready for extreme measures, like keeping hot water in a flask all day to avoid having to boil the kettle, simply cleaning your kettle from any remaining limescale can add up to your annual savings. 

The more limescale the appliance has accumulated, the more energy is required to heat the water. If you are quite the hot drink enthusiast, you may find yourself boiling the kettle a few times a day - which can easily make your energy bill creep up. 

By efficiently removing the limescale in your kettle, you can potentially cut boiling time in half, and therefore see substantial savings on your electricity bill over time. 

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0345 355 2270

Mortgage and Protection Advice is provided by Mortgage Joy Limited (FCA: 955439)

6. Whip out the air fryer 

Using versatile kitchen appliances such as an air fryer, slow cooker, or even microwave can offer potential savings. Ovens have a bigger surface area and therefore require more time to heat up, whilst other cooking appliances tend to be smaller and much more efficient. 

Air fryers, as an example, can easily and quickly heat up and cook all of your dinner essentials - from meats, vegetables, and pastries to even some dessert staples, whilst using significantly less electricity than a conventional oven. 

Microwaves, on the other hand, are said to use anywhere up to 80% less energy than a regular oven. Many modern microwaves also offer grilling options, making them a superior choice to regular ovens - both in regards to the cooking time and energy use. 

7. Give your fridge some TLC  

Cleaning the coils located behind your fridge can bring down its energy consumption, a difference that you will be able to notice on your annual energy bill, as stated by home improvement experts. 

Your fridge will be forced to work harder to keep your food cold if your coils are dirty and therefore use more energy for its day-to-day functioning. Defrosting your fridge will also help it function better, further contributing to additional savings. 

8. Switch off standby devices at the plug 

When your electronic devices are on standby, it means they go into a type of sleep. According to EST, between 9% and 16% of electricity consumed in homes is used to power appliances on standby mode. This is because they’re not actually off - as much as they are not consuming as much energy as they would if they were fully on, they are constantly being powered by electricity to make them easier and faster to switch back on. 

Game consoles, TVs, speakers and radios, mobile phones, and tablet chargers all stay on standby mode if not switched off at the plug. By simply remembering to unplug these devices on a regular basis, you can make noticeable cuts on your energy bill. 

9. Avoid the tumble dryer 

Tumble dryers are notorious for using substantial amounts of electricity. It is estimated that the average tumble dryer uses roughly 4.5kWh per cycle. Based on the average cost of 34 pence per kWh for the price cap period from 1st October to 31st December 2022, this means that a single cycle would cost you £1.53. 

A household that goes through four loads of washing weekly can expect an additional cost of roughly £6 a week by drying their clothes in a tumble dryer. This can add up to a staggering £300 a year - an amount that can be easily saved by using a traditional clothing rack to dry clothes instead. 

10. Take a look at your insulation 

The insulation in your house is what keeps it cosy, and stops warm air from escaping. Depending on the type of property you live in, your house could be poorly insulated, causing fluctuating temperatures - prompting you to use additional methods of heating such as electric heaters and blankets to keep warm. 

There is a myriad of ways a property can be insulated, but your energy performance certificate will be the best starting point to find out how effective your insulation is right now. This document is issued during the sale of the house, and shows a rating from A to G which represents the energy efficiency of your property. 

You may also want to check your loft for any missing or damaged bits of insulation, which can significantly improve your home’s efficiency once repaired or replaced. 

11. Switch over to LED’s 

Love ambient lighting? Switch over to LEDs. You can easily purchase LED bulbs or LED lights which use almost 90% less energy than halogen bulbs. Alternatively, if you’re not a fan of bright lighting, opt for some atmospheric LED string lights, which will help you save on energy whilst adding a warm and cosy glow to your interior. 

12. Heat your bed not your room 

Next time you find your home getting particularly chilly at night, you may be tempted to switch on your heating to bring the temperature up across the property. Many will use electric heaters or fireplaces to get their rooms warm and cosy before bed. As much as this will guarantee a comfortable night’s sleep, it is also likely to significantly increase your energy bills. 

An electric blanket proves to be a fantastic alternative to other electric heating devices, providing you with soothing comfort whilst keeping your electricity bills lower. The average electric blanket will use less than 5p worth of electricity per hour, in comparison to the 68p it would cost to run an electric heater on full power. 

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