Energy Saving Tips
There are many low cost or free measures that you can take to reduce your energy bills. We have listed some of the main ones below.
The European Community has introduced a labelling scheme for fridges, freezers, fridge/freezers, washing machines and tumble dryers.
The label will tell you at a glance the energy efficiency of each model compared with other appliances of the same category.
Models labelled 'A' are the most energy efficient and can use less than half the energy of a similar 'G' rated model.
Remember to check the label and to buy appliances as close as possible to 'A'.
There are lots of things you can do every day to save energy and save yourself money.
Here are some suggestions:
Fridge or fridge/freezer
- don't leave the fridge door open for longer than necessary, as cold air will escape
- avoid putting hot food straight into the fridge; let it cool down first
- defrost your fridge regularly as this will help it to keep running efficiently, and so reduce running costs
- If the appliance refrosts quickly check that the door seals are working properly
- try to site your fridge in a cool place with adequate ventilation at the back
Washing machines/tumble dryers
- wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine. If that is not possible, use the half-load or economy programme if your machine has one
- choose a cool wash cycle of 40ºC for most of your washing
- don't put really wet clothes into your tumble dryer; wring them out well or spin dry them first. It is much faster and it will save you money
Pots and pans
- choose the right size pan for the food and cooker, and keep lids on when cooking. The base should just cover an electric ring. With gas you need to ensure that the flames only heat the bottom of the pan. If they are coming up the side of the pan then you are wasting heat
- Don't use more water than you need
- water should not be heated to a scalding temperature. For most people setting the cylinder thermostat at 60ºC/140ºF is usually quite adequate for bathing, washing and laundry
- always remember to put the plug in a basin or sink. Leaving hot water taps running without the plug is both wasteful and expensive
- take a shower instead of a bath: it uses less than half the hot water
- heat only the amount of water you are going to use, but make sure you cover the elements, so don't fill the kettle up for just one drink
Televisions, music centre and home computers
- when not using these electrical goods, switch them off at the on/off button rather than leaving them on stand-by. It is safer and a simple way to save money.
In most homes, lighting accounts for 10-15% of the electricity bill. You can save up to £10 in a single year by replacing a 100 watt ordinary bulb with an equivalent energy-saving bulb.
Energy saving lightbulbs
There are two types of energy saving lightbulbs, Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). They use a fraction of the electricity of the older style filament bulbs and last for several years. LEDs are the most efficient energy lightbulb but may not be suitable to use with dimmable light fittings or specialised lighting.
There are several different shapes and sizes of bulb to suit table and standard lamps, as well as ceiling and wall light fittings. They come with the same choice of bayonet or screw fittings as the older style filament bulbs.
High frequency ballasts for fluorescent tubes are more expensive, but they do avoid flicker and can save you a further 15-20% energy.
They are particularly suitable for kitchens, halls, workshops and garages.
- if you are too warm, turn the thermostat down by 1ºC;
- if you are going away for a few days then leave the thermostat on a low setting to provide protection from freezing without costing too much;
- draw the curtains in the evening when it is cold and the heating is on.
If your boiler is unreliable or needs updating, replace it with one that is modern, energy efficient and correctly sized.
You could cut your fuel bills by up to 30%.
Take advice from heating professionals on the types of boilers their reliability and how to site radiators for maximum efficiency.
Expected payback period based on lower fuel usage: 3 to 4 years
By upgrading heating controls, you will improve the efficiency of any central heating system, and cut your costs by up to 20%. You can choose from a wide range of controls, especially important are:
- room temperature
- the temperature of stored hot water
- on-off times for heating and hot water
- switching off the boiler when heating is no longer required
- Thermostatic radiator valves also provide the added benefit of individual room control.