The era of cheap energy is now a thing of the past, and as gas and electricity prices continue to increase, more people than ever are looking for ways to reduce their utility bills. Most of us know there are things we can do to save money on our energy bills, but it can be difficult to know where to start and how to make the change.
Anchor’s Energy team frequently work with people on fixed incomes, such as pensions, and have written this guide to show that by becoming more energy efficient and simply reducing what you waste, rather than what you use, you can quickly start to save money and minimise your impact on the environment.
Our energy efficiency tips feature easy changes you can start making today for little or no-cost and that will make a significant difference to your energy bills.
Anchor’s top 20 energy saving tips
- Heating water is one of the biggest uses of energy in our homes, so when using the kettle be sure to only boil as much water as you need.
- Use thermometers to help you gage the true temperature around your home. Age UK recommend keeping room temperature at between 18 to 21 degrees for comfort and good health, but many people have home hot and cold spots. Position them away from direct sunlight and artificially heated or cooled areas, such as near radiators, for the most accurate readings.
- If possible, turn your thermostat down. According to the Energy Saving Trust, turning your central heating down by just one degree could save you 10% on your heating bill. If you are regularly heating your rooms to significantly above the Age UK guideline temperature, give this minor reduction a try and see the difference it makes to your bills.
- Keep out those drafts; use draft excluders and cover up keyholes. These seemingly small gaps can let in a lot of cold air.
- It might sound obvious, but turn your lights off when you leave a room.
- Change to energy saving light bulbs which not only save you money when they are in use but are often more durable and need to be replaced less frequently. Find out more about the different types of energy efficient light bulbs available here.
- When suitable, turn off your appliances properly – don’t use standby mode as this still consumes energy. Turning appliances off at the plug ensures no energy is being used at all and reduces the risk of plugs heating up and causing fires. Some equipment, such as sky and digital boxes, need resetting if switched off at the mains so you should leave these appliances on. Similarly, certain new televisions are designed to be very energy efficiently and don’t have an off switch, meaning these can also be left on at the mains
- Don’t leave items on charge longer than necessary. Continuing to charge appliances once they are full will cost you money and can be a fire hazard, in particular laptop chargers.
- Another obvious one, but turn off taps when you don’t need to use running water, for example when you are brushing your teeth.
- Don’t ignore dripping taps; fix them. Often all that is needed is a new washer to stop wasting water.
- Cook smart - cooking instructions often say to preheat your oven for a long time but most modern ones, fan ovens in particular, don’t actually take very long to warm up.
- Use your microwave to cook vegetables instead of the hob. In contrast to boiling, microwaving helps vegetables retain their colour, taste and nutrients, and uses less energy.
- When cooking on the hob, be mindful of the size pan you use and always use a lid to help your food cook quicker and reduce the amount of energy lost through steam.
- Keep the ice in your freezer under control. If the frost gets thicker than about 6mm (¼ inch) your freezer won’t work as efficiently, so be sure to defrost it as necessary.
- Most of the energy used to wash clothes comes from heating the water, by switching your washing machine to 30°c you can save a surprising amount of energy. Clothes are also less likely to shrink or wear out when washed at lower temperatures, but do remember it’s important to wash certain items, like towels and bed linen, at high temperatures.
- A tumble dryer is one of the most energy hungry appliances in the home. Try reducing the time and temperature you use it for rather than using a pre-set programme. You may find your clothes are actually dry long before the setting usually turns the dryer off.
- Dry clothes outside or on a clothes rack wherever possible, but don’t put them on the radiators. Doing so can cause damp, condensation and health issues, it also makes your boiler work extra hard which in turn will cost you more money. When drying clothes inside be sure to open windows regularly to increase the flow of clean air and reduce these risks.
- Myth-busting! Leaving the heating on low all day isn’t cheaper than turning it on when you need it.
- Submit meter readings as regularly as possible to ensure you only ever pay for the energy you use. Bills based on estimates can see you either over or under pay. Under paying bills can be tempting but may leave you with a large catch-up bill at a later date.
- Use an energy monitor to help keep track of your electricity usage. These simple handheld gadgets are designed to show you how different appliances affect your energy bills and help you to cut your electricity consumption.
At Anchor we are committed to responsible energy management, reducing energy costs for our customers and minimising our environmental impact. Find out more about Anchor's approach to reducing energy waste and energy efficient technology here.