As we all know, there is a big increase in energy costs, and this will no doubt be affecting family financial budgets across the UK. It is scary to think that you may have to make decisions about heating your home and deciding when to use energy. However, generally speaking, while you can be careful, there are ways that you can save a little bit extra when it comes to your energy usage.
As energy bills and energy consumption rises we will all be looking at where we can make savings. Whilst you don’t need a professional energy audit in a typical family home, we can take a good look at how much energy you are using and where you could potentially make some small changes that will help us all beat the price rises.
The first thing to say is don’t not pay your bills. There has been some really poor advice shared about not paying a utility bill and the government will have to listen – that is false and ultimately could result in you being cut off.
If you pay your energy bills by direct debit then the summer is when you will naturally build up a reserve and this will be more important than ever with the rising price cap. We are set to see bills increase dramatically but you can make some energy savings now if you get smart around your usage.
Before we look at the different rooms in your home and consider our energy audit checklist look at your home from a new perspective. Start with the big questions and look at where you have energy leaks. By this we mean is does your home have proper insulation?
Modern homes are usually efficient homes and have proper attic insulation but older homes may not be so efficient. Therefore check if you are entitled to any grants that will better insulate your home. If you are in rented accommodation, get onto your landlord to ensure that you have the best insulation that you can. By doing this you are literally plugging the gaps. Hot air rises which is why it is important to insulate your loft or attic.
Also check the attic hatch is well sealed and make improvements if not.
Again look at your heating systems and water heater and get them serviced to see if they are working efficiently. Also, feel around your window frames, are they well sealed. or do they suffer from heat loss. If not you will literally be heating the home and letting the hot air straight back out. A very simple way is to add draft excluders to your doors. You can opt for tape or even make fabric draft excluders.
Finally, get a smart meter this is one way to know exactly what you are spending on your electricity bill. Once you have a clear understanding of your daily usage you can start changing habits. By looking at your smart meter over a period of time you will be able to see hot spots and power consumption. This important information can help you start being more smart at home with how much electricity you are using.
Room by Room Energy-Saving Checklist
So here is a room-by-room energy-saving checklist to help you out, think of it like a DIY energy audit, be honest, realistic and be practical. Hopefully, you will see where you can make some savings if you adjust your habits.
In your kitchen
One of the places in your home that has high energy usage is your kitchen. So here are some of the things to keep in mind when it comes to energy use in the kitchen.
Cook in bulk
Cooking in bulk means you are using energy once but creating more than one meal. It is a great way to save on energy usage for your stove and oven, and also helps you to be more organised. Meals that are ideal for bulk cooking include bolognaise, chillis and even filled jacket potatoes – which are much nicer cooked in the oven. These are not only nutritious they can be cheap and bulked up too.
When we cook pot meals like the above there is often enough for lunch and lunch boxes for the family. My daughter will take leftovers to work, or I cook some sausages/chicken nuggets at the same time as dinner and these go in the teen’s school lunchbox instead of boring sandwiches every day!
Take things out to defrost with plenty of time
Defrosting things out of the freezer with little time before you need it often means you resort to appliances like the microwave to defrost. So make sure you take things out of the freezer with plenty of time to defrost. Do this in the fridge to help regulate the temperature and reduce the energy use from your fridge. Get in the habit of taking things out in the morning.
Match the burner size with your saucepan
It may seem obvious, but often we have a favourite burner that we use no matter what pan (mine is the back left!). Instead, try and match the burner to the size of the pan. It often means you use less energy and this equals a lower bill!
Only use the dishwasher when full
Make sure you only use the dishwasher once a day and ensure it is full before you run it.
Use the time delay on your washing machine or dishwasher
In some cases, energy tariffs mean that it costs you less to use energy at night. Possibly because you don’t use that much of it. So make use of the time delay on your washing machine or dishwasher and run it at night.
Tips when boiling a kettle
Boiling a kettle is one of those things that uses a sudden surge of energy in one go and if you enjoy a cup of tea or coffee you could be firing up the kettle several times a day. So a great tip is to only boil the amount that you need each time. Also, another great tip is to fill a flask up with tea or coffee and drink from that throughout the morning. You get your caffeine fix but save on energy. A win-win situation.
Lastly, consider investing in an air fryer. Using an air fryer can be a quicker and cheaper way to cook some meals. Rather than using the oven, you could air-fry chips in around 12 minutes, and chicken in the same amount of time. This is ideal for smaller families or when just one person is eating.
When buying new appliances check the energy star rating given and then you are making smart purchases that will save energy and reduce energy expenses. New models tend to be built with more energy-saving devices than older models.
In your bathroom
Surprisingly your bathroom can also be a place where energy is wasted. So here are some of the energy-saving tips to help you reduce that usage in your bathroom.
Don’t leave the tap running
Water can be costly, and many people don’t realise that leaving a tap running will cost you in the long term. Switch the tap off when you are not using it, especially when cleaning your teeth.
Charge shavers and toothbrushes only when needed
A lot of people use shavers and electric toothbrushes and often place them back on charge when they are not in use. But this can be costly. These devices are designed to hold a charge, so only place them back on charge when needed.
Ditch the hairdryer
The hairdryer, like a kettle, uses a sudden surge of energy in a small amount of time, so why not ditch it and let your hair dry naturally? It might not be possible all of the time, but doing this a few times a week could offer savings long-term.
Reduce the time spent in the shower
Finally, the shower can be another place where you waste energy. Cut your shower time down by a few minutes and over the course of the year, you will notice some big savings. One way of doing this is by setting a timer, you can also buy water-reducing shower heads for a small cost.
In your bedroom
Another room to consider is the bedroom. Here are a couple of ways you can reduce your energy usage in your bedroom. If you are smart you will adopt these energy-saving opportunities.
Use LED light bulbs in lamps
When lighting your room, it is a good idea to choose a lamp instead of your main light. Also, consider using energy-saving or LED bulbs in all of your light fixtures and fittings.
Reduce the temperature in your bedroom
To get a good night’s sleep you need a cooler bedroom. So switch off the radiators in your bedroom to avoid overheating if you are searching for energy-efficient options.
General tips for Saving Energy Room by Room
Finally, let’s look at some of the general tips and basic steps you can use in all rooms. There are as follows.
Switch things off at the wall
Instead of leaving things on standby, make sure you switch them off fully and also at the wall. This applies to consoles, TV’s kettles. the more that you get into the habit of switching totally off the more you will save.
You could also go one step further and remove the plugs entirely.
Finally, if you work from home read this for more tips and also my post 12 Easy Ways to Keep Warm When Working From Home. Whilst we are on the topic of working from home it could be a great idea to look at working from a public library or co-working space for part of the week. Also, make sure that you are claiming work expenses for working in your home environment and using your own office equipment.
Hopefully, these energy-saving tips can help you to save some money on those rising bills.
By carrying out your own energy audit you will save money on your energy bills this winter. Some of these changes may not seem a lot but when done in conjunction with each other they can make significant differences. You need to know which areas of your home cost the most to run and then you can adjust your behaviours accordingly. especially as we head into the winter months and the rising cost of living in the UK.