How to save energy and reduce your bills
Want your home to be more energy efficient? Read on for a host of ideas you can put into action right away to cut costs and fight climate change.
What is energy efficiency?
In a nutshell, it’s about cutting your energy use while still enjoying a good quality of life.
Take modern boilers for example. They use much less fuel than old-fashioned models but they keep your house just as warm.
Want to understand your bill better?
Read our British Gas bill explained guide to see where your money goes.
How to save energy at home
The good news is that you don’t have to triple glaze your house. Or rush out to buy the latest energy-efficient boiler. Though both of those would help.
Small changes. Big difference.
It’s surprising how much you can achieve by making a few easy adjustments to your home and daily habits. Just be consistent and you’ll soon see the savings build up.
Try these ideas to get started:
Turn off the lights
Do it whenever you leave the room. And fit energy efficient bulbs. They’re more expensive initially but they use much less energy and replacing all bulbs in your home with these could save about £40 a year on your electricity bills. So they’re well worth it. 1
Unplug your chargers
Leaving your phone, tablet or laptop charger plugged in when you’re not using it drains money from your pocket. You’re just paying for it to waste energy by getting warm.
Switch off your TV
Leaving your TV on standby means it’s still using energy. And experts have calculated that UK households waste an average of £30 a year powering appliances they’re not even using.
Move your sofa
Furniture pressed up against a radiator stops heat reaching the room. Move things an inch or two away and better air circulation will have your room getting warm and cosy much faster.
Close the curtains
When the sun goes down, heat starts to escape. Drawing the curtains or closing the blinds will help to keep the warmth in. Especially if you have draughty, old-fashioned sash windows.
Fit foil panels
It’s surprisingly easy to add reflector panels behind your radiators to bounce more of the infra-red heat rays back into your room – so less warmth gets lost through the wall.
Bigger ways of saving energy at home
Once you’ve seen the power of small changes, you’ll probably feel inspired to make even bigger savings.
Here are some great places to start:
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.
Check if it’s free
If you’re on certain benefits, you could even get it fitted for free – so it’s worth searching online for the latest schemes.
Cavity wall insulation
If your house was built before the 1990s, it might not have any insulation in the walls – losing up to a third of your heat. So ask a builder about cavity wall insulation.
Check if it’s right for you
It could help you cut your energy bills, and keep your house warm and cosy all winter long. But it’s not right for everyone, especially if your home is exposed to rain driven by high winds – mostly on the UK’s western coasts.
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.
Big savings are possible
If you live in a detached house and replace your old boiler with a new A-rated condensing model, with a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator controls, you could save from £170 to £315 a year. 2
Three things to try first
Buying a new boiler is a big decision. So you could also try:
- Re-setting the controls – or the radiator valves – so you only heat the rooms you’re using. And only get hot water when you need it
- Adding chemical inhibitors to your central heating system to fight rust and keep things running efficiently
- Moving furniture away from radiators so warm air can flow more easily to make your room cosy sooner
British Gas energy. How much could you save?
From flats to family houses, our gas and electricity tariffs have you covered. Get a quote to see if you could cut your bills by switching.
Saving energy in the kitchen
Your kitchen is where you use a lot of energy as you cook, wash up, make tea and put left overs into the fridge or freezer.
Here are some tips for smart savings:
Boil water in the kettle for cooking
It’s quicker and uses less energy than heating up a full pan on the stove – so you’ll have dinner on the table sooner.
Cook with a moderate flame
You just need it to be big enough to heat the base of the pan. If it’s licking up the sides, you’re wasting gas and money.
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 see how your food is doing.
Switch your oven off early
Most dishes will keep cooking a little longer while the oven temperature slowly cools, thanks to good thermal insulation.
Defrost your fridge and freezer
We all know we should do it regularly to keep ice under control. That way everything stays efficient. But it’s still easy to put it off.
Upgrade your old fridge-freezer
This tip’s more expensive upfront. But an A+++ rated model can save around £190 in energy over its lifetime compared to an A+. 3
Saving money doing the laundry
If you have a big family, it probably seems like the washing machine is on all the time.
So here are some tips to cut your energy use, and shrink your bill – but not your clothes.
- Always put a full load in the machine, and try to do the week’s laundry in one go
- Use the economy setting on your washing machine to save water and energy
- Air-dry your laundry outside instead of using an energy-hungry tumble dryer
- Don’t dry clothes on radiators. It just makes your boiler work harder
- Keep your tumble dryer’s fluff filter clean so heat can flow freely inside the drum
- Put eco-balls in your tumble dryer to spread your clothes so they dry more quickly
How to save energy in your bathroom
Do you love a long soak in the bath? Or are you in and out of the shower in minutes?
Changing your bathroom routine could cut your energy consumption.
Try these simple ideas:
- Change your showerhead. A low-flow design still gives you a satisfying shower and uses much less hot water too
- Shorten your shower time. A long shower – especially a power shower – can use enough hot water to fill a bath
- Unplug your toothbrush charger. Most electric toothbrushes only need one charge a week to keep your smile sparkling
- And your hair straighteners. Don’t leave shavers or hair straighteners on standby charge either. Turn them off instead
- Air-dry your hair. Why not try the natural look for a change? It’ll save energy and maybe even a bit of time
- Get an extractor with a timer. Running your bathroom fan for more than 20 minutes just wastes energy and money
How does saving energy help the environment?
Cutting carbon emissions and saving natural resources are high on everyone’s list.
Zero emissions by 2050
The UK Government has recently adopted the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change’s report, and announced plans to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
We’re leading the way
It’ll take lots of hard work, and even more investment. But we’re already playing our part – with 56% of our electricity coming from environmentally-friendly sources. Compared to a national average across suppliers of just 33%. 4
Towards a sustainable future
We’re also investing millions in the development of new technology to provide more sustainable forms of energy.
Want to know more?
We also make your gas use greener through carbon off set projects in the developing world.
Home improvements that will cut your energy costs
Getting your electrics, hot water and heating system working efficiently could help you cut your energy consumption – and your bills.
You can make some improvements your self. And we can help you with others.
Powerflush your system
Cold radiators could be solved by a Powerflush, keeping you warm and cosy all winter long. It’ll save energy too, and comes with a lifetime guarantee. 5
Get thermostatic valves
Achieving the perfect temperature can be tricky. But switching to thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) helps you save energy by adjusting every radiator individually.
Fit a water softener
It won’t just make your bath feel more luxurious. It’ll also help to reduce limescale build up. So your appliances work more efficiently and last longer.
These are just a few of the home improvements that our expert engineers, electricians and plumbers can help you with.
Find out what else you could do to save money and energy all around your home.
A smart meter could help you save energy
With a smart meter you’ll see how much gas or electricity you’re using, without having to wait for a bill.
And by watching your energy consumption as you try our hints and tips, you’ll be able to see which ones work best for you.
Control your home and energy bills with Hive
Forgotten to turn the TV off standby mode? Or left a light on?
Control everything – remotely
With Hive you can control your heating, hot water, lights and appliances from your phone or tablet.
Just tap the app to turn off the gadgets and lights you’ve left on, wherever you are. Or switch on the heating a few minutes before you get home. Find out more about Hive Active Heating.
Other ways to cut your energy costs
We’ve also put together some useful guides to help you save money on your energy bills.
You’ll also discover it’s easy to switch energy suppliers and make big savings.
Help if you’re struggling to pay for your energy
We know it's not always easy to pay your bill – and that everyone's circumstances are different. Go to our dedicated page to find out how we can help you take back control of your energy debt, including any financial hardships caused by Covid-19.
Want to know more?
Your energy bill
Understand what all the information on your energy bill means.
Save money by getting your gas and electricity from the same energy company.
By investing in wind farms, solar and green gas, we’re helping customers reduce their home’s CO2 emissions.
Figure covers period between the 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2019.
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.