How your home life affects your energy bill

What affects my energy bill

Want to save money on your energy bills? Taking steps to understand your home and how you use everything from lighting to everyday household items can put you on the path to better energy efficiency. Although reducing your energy consumption will help you save money on gas and electricity, it’s also a good idea to check you’re on the best tariff.

Electric appliances using the most energy

Washing. Cooking. Cleaning… all everyday necessities but some of the biggest energy culprits in your home. Fridge freezers are on all day, every day. Electric hobs and tumble driers also use a lot of energy. TV? Plasma screens use more electricity than LED ones. The bigger the screen, the bigger your bill.

Appliances also vary a lot in their energy efficiency. Those with a rating of A+++ consume less energy, while those with a G rating use the most.

When you’re looking to replace older appliances, look for ones with A+++ - they may cost more but they’ll work out far cheaper to run in the long run by saving you money on your energy bill.

How much you could save

If you choose an A+++ fridge freezer over an A+ unit, you could save around £255 in energy bills over the lifetime of the product. And if you choose a smaller fridge with the same energy rating, it will use even less energy. You can compare the total energy consumption of all your appliances, for more savings by looking for their yearly energy consumption in kWh/ annum displayed on the bottom right of the energy label.

Energy efficient lighting

Looking for a lightbulb moment? Lighting makes up about 15% of your energy costs, so small changes can make big differences. Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are the most energy efficient on the market, but Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) also consume less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs.

How much you could save

Although LED light bulbs are still slightly more expensive than incandescent bulbs, you can make back the upfront cost in just a few months. Invest in them and you’ll get reduced energy consumption as they last up to 20 times longer.

Gas appliances using the most energy

Heating and hot water makes up about 62% of your energy bill, so your boiler and how you use it can have a big impact. Ways to reduce your gas bill include:

  • Replacing your boiler and controls with more energy-efficient models
  • Re-setting the controls so you only get heat in the rooms you’re using and hot water when you need it
  • Adding chemical inhibitors to your central system to make sure it runs efficiently
  • Keeping your radiators clear

How much you could save

The older and less efficient your boiler is, the higher the savings could be when you decide to upgrade. If you live in a detached house and replace your boiler with a new A-rated condensing boiler with a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator controls, you could save anywhere between £180 and £305 a year. Here’s another heating hack that’s really simple –  turning down your thermostat by 1°C could reduce your heating bill by 10%.

What else affects your energy bill

The size of your home, number of people living in it and how well it’s built all affect its energy consumption. Don’t be surprised to see your energy bill varying season to season – you’re likely to use more heating and lighting in the winter than the summer. It’s also dependent on the quality of your insulation.

Save energy by changing your habits

Little changes can add up to making a big difference. Here are some of the most effective home hacks you can try to be more energy efficient.

A woman doing laundry which can be better managed to conserve energy

Laundry tips

  • Set your washing machine to a low temperature when your clothes only need a refresh (although 40 or higher is best when washing things like underwear or bed linen)
  • Only use your washing machine with a full load and use the economy cycle as much as possible
  • Dry clothes outdoors in good weather
  • Only use your tumble dryer when you have a full load

 

A man standing by an open fridge which could be closed to reduce energy consumption

Kitchen tips

  • Only boil the amount of water you need when switching on your kettle
  • Close the fridge door as quickly as possible to avoid overworking it
  • Don’t put warm food in the fridge
  • Keep your freezer defrosted so it runs smoothly
Children sleeping in a well lit room, which could be dimmed to reduce energy consumption

Lighting tips

  • Always turn off the lights when leaving a room – even if it’s just for a short time
  • Only turn on the lights you need when in a room
  • Put sensors and timers on outdoor lights
A phone plugged in which should be unplugged once charged to save electricity

Charging tips

  • It may seem convenient, but leaving your phone charging overnight burns up a lot of energy
  • Before you go to bed unplug all devices not in use, including your laptop
  • Never leave TVs or other appliances on standby
An example of loft insulation which can be used to conserve energy by making homes more energy efficient

Insulation tips

  • Install insulation or draught-proofing throughout your home – this includes loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and around hot water cylinders and pipes
  • Invest in some thick curtains and close them when the sun goes down to trap the heat

Stay smart

Finally, thanks to new smart home technology, it’s now even easier to see which appliances in your home are using the most energy. You can even turn them off or on remotely from wherever you are. Find out more

Smart meters

Smart meters are a great way of seeing how much gas and electricity you’re using. Your meters are linked to a monitor that shows how much energy your appliances are using – in near real time and in pounds and pence.

Put the monitor anywhere in your home. Smart meters can give you access to a broader range of tariffs on the market, including potentially cheaper options.

Hive

Why let your home use energy when you’re not there? Hive uses wireless technology products to control heating and hot water, lighting and appliances from your phone, tablet or laptop – check in and check out your energy usage wherever you are – find out more

Smart plugs

On average, UK households spend about £30 a year powering appliances left in standby mode. Smart plugs help you make savings by letting you control the electricity supply to any plugged-in device. Tap an app and you can turn off gadgets and devices when you’re not there.

Looking to lower your energy bills?