How to save energy at home
Understanding how much energy you use and making your home more energy-efficient can save you money and help the planet – here's our top tips.
As you start to explore ways to save energy, understanding the information on your energy bill can go a long way to helping you get to grips with your energy use at home.
Explore our handy guide to find out what everything means on your energy bill.
According to Ofgem, the average British household has 2.4 people living in it and uses 2,900 kWh of electricity and 12,000 kWh of gas per year. The average cost works out at £1970 per year or £164 per month based on typical domestic usage and default tariff covered by Ofgem’s price cap and paying by direct debit.
Your bills could be higher or lower than the average depending on your lifestyle, your home’s size and how many people you live with. Read our guide to find out how your energy usage compares.
Just making a few tweaks to your everyday routine could help cut down your energy bills.
1. Turn your thermostat down a little
One of the simplest ways to save energy is by turning your heating down a single degree. You might not think such a small amount would make much difference – but according to the Energy Saving Trust lowering your thermostat from 20C to 19C (for example) can save 10% on your heating bill.
2. Bleed your radiators
Getting more surface area heat out of your radiators and reducing cold spots can help lower the amount of energy they need. And you don’t need to be a DIY whiz to do it – here’s our engineer to show you how.
3. Unplug your devices
Your phone, tablet or TV still use energy on standby. Avoid paying for energy you don’t use by unplugging them when you can. You can save around £55 a year just by remembering to turn off your devices and appliances when you’re not using them.1 You could also think about getting a standby saver or smart plug which allows you to turn all your appliances off standby automatically.
4. Move your sofa
Big furniture close to your radiator can stop heat reaching the room. Move them an inch or two away for better air circulation and your rooms will be warm and cosy much faster.
5. Close the curtains
Heat starts to escape when the sun goes down. Draw curtains or close blinds to keep the warmth in – especially if you have older windows.
6. Switch off the lights
Remember when your parents told you to turn the lights off when you left a room? They had a point. Getting everyone in the habit of only lighting rooms that are being used can help you save around £20 on your annual energy bills. 1
There are more ways to reduce energy use in your home if you’re able to spend some money.
1. Fit radiator reflector panels
On exterior walls, reflector panels behind your radiators can direct more heat into your rooms making them warmer. They’re relatively cheap and easy to install. You can achieve a similar effect for even less money by putting aluminium foil on the wall behind the radiator.
2. Draught-proof windows and doors
LED and smart bulbs use low energy tech and are far better for your energy bills and the environment. They’re more expensive to buy initially but they use much less electricity. Replacing all the bulbs in your home with LEDs could save around £30 a year 2.
3. Replace your lights
LED and smart bulbs use low energy tech and are far better for your energy bills and the environment. They’re more expensive to buy initially but they use much less electricity. Replacing all the bulbs in your home with LEDs could save around £30 a year.2
4. Smart home technology
If you can spend money on making your home more efficient, then you could consider smart home technology.
Here are our top tips for saving energy (and money) as you make meals throughout the week.
1. Keep your oven closed
Opening the door when food’s cooking lets heat out and uses more energy. It slows down cooking too – so use the window to check on food instead.
2. Defrost your fridge and freezer
Regularly defrosting your current fridge and freezer keeps ice under control and keeps everything working efficiently.
3. Consider energy ratings when buying new appliances
If you’re renewing any appliances in the kitchen, check the energy ratings of the models you are looking at. Choosing more energy-efficient options can be a way of making long-term savings. For example, choosing a D rated fridge freezer over an F rated one may cost more initially, but could save you around £570 in energy bills over its lifetime. 3
Energy saving cooking
Cooking typically accounts for around 13.8% of electricity demand in UK homes so cooking your favourite meals a little more efficiently can make a significant difference and all the family can get involved. 4
How to cut your energy use and shrink your bill – but not your clothes.
- Use the economy setting on your washing machine to save water and energy
- Dry your laundry outside where you can, instead of using an energy-hungry tumble dryer
- Avoid drying clothes on radiators – it just makes your boiler work harder
- Use eco-balls in your tumble dryer to spread your clothes so they dry more quickly
Save energy in Summer
Here’s some more top tips to help you save energy during the warmer months.
How much money can you save on your energy bills each year?
You might be surprised by how much you could save by making a few simple changes around the home.
If you can spend a little on making your bathroom more energy efficient then you could:
- Change your showerhead. A low-flow design still gives you a satisfying shower but uses much less hot water
- Get an extractor with a timer. Running your bathroom fan for more than 20 minutes can waste energy and money.
For more tips to help you save energy during the summer months check out our blog.
With the quick and easy fixes taken care of, here’s a few long-lasting projects to think about putting money aside for. And don’t forget to see if any government grants can help you.
1. Insulate your loft
About 25% of the heat loss in your home happens through the roof, so adding insulation could cut your heating bill dramatically. Again, it’s worth checking the latest from the government to see if help is available.
2. Cavity wall insulation
If your house was built before the 1990s, you could be losing up to a third of your heat through the walls. So ask a builder about cavity wall insulation. It could help you cut your energy bills – and keep your house warm and cosy all winter long.
3. Replace your boiler
Boilers usually last from 10 to 15 years. So if yours is getting on a bit, it might be time to upgrade to a more energy-efficient model. Take a look at our What’s the right boiler for me? guide to explore your options. If you live in a detached house and replace your old gas boiler with a new A-rated condensing boiler and thermostatic controls, you could save from £260 to £580 a year. 5
4. The Mixergy tank
By using clever tech and science know-how, the Mixergy tank heats only the water you need, when you need it. It’s up to 20% more efficient than conventional tanks, so it’s a great way to cut your bills and do your bit for the planet.
5. Air source heat pumps
Air source heat pumps use outside cold air to generate warmth for your home. And for every 1kWh of electricity used, they can generate around 3.5kWh in heat – that’s 350% efficiency. Interested to find out more? We’re now rolling out air source heat pumps up and down the UK. Find out more about air source heat pumps here.
6. Powerflush your system
Cold radiators could be solved by a Powerflush, keeping you warm and cosy all winter long. It’ll save energy and comes with a lifetime guarantee. 6
7. Get thermostatic valves
If your radiators have basic valves that only let you turn them on or off, consider upgrading to thermostatic valves. These have temperature settings – usually from 1-5 – which allows you to keep rooms you don’t use very often at an energy-saving low temperature. And for even more control of individual radiators, think about getting smart thermostatic radiator valves like these from Hive.
If you haven’t already, choose smart meters and use your smart meter display as you try our hints and tips to see which ones work best for you.
You can also choose to fix your energy prices, go green or include home energy services as a bundle.
We know it's not always easy to pay your bill and that everyone's circumstances are different. If you’re struggling to pay for your energy, head to our dedicated page to find out how we can help you take back control.
Using less energy is great for the environment, but there’s always more we can do. Find out how we’re helping to support conservation projects in the UK and around the world on our go green page. And for everything green and sustainable, from our wood growing projects to getting your home ready for an electric vehicle, check out our green home hub where we’ve got all the latest information.
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Your energy bill
Understand what all the information on your energy bill means.
Average energy bill
How does the energy you use compare to the typical UK household?
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Lifetime guarantee is offered to all customers who have purchased a Powerflush, provided they have an existing and ongoing HomeCare contract that covers your central heating system.