We've all seen the distressing headlines about soaring energy bills, water bills, and household costs. This is especially concerning for those of us on a fixed or subsidised income who need to make the pennies stretch.
It might seem like there is little we can do to avoid the coming costs, however, there are plenty of ways you can make small changes around your home, or to your routine, that cost little to nothing financially but could save you a small fortune cumulatively. We've listed some here to help you start making changes.
How to save energy with smart lighting
There are several ways you can improve the bottom line of your electricity bill:
- One is a simple and gradual changing of light bulbs around your home to energy saving LED light bulbs.
- Make use of as much natural light as you can. A single south-facing window can illuminate 20 to 100 times its area.
- If natural light isn’t available (because it's night-time or just the usual British gloom) try to use task lighting. Instead of automatically clicking on ceiling lights, opt to use side lamps or under-counter lights in your kitchen.
How to waste less water around the home
- Heating water is expensive, so taking shorter showers means you’ll be saving on energy there too, but it does mean you might have to cut your morning shower karaoke short.
- Don’t forget to turn the water off when shaving and brushing your teeth. Little changes can make a significant impact when accumulated.
There are ways we can help with maintaining our homes too:
- Fixing a water leak in your taps makes a small but important change when trying to avoid wasting water.
- Check your radiators and make sure your boiler(s) is maintained.
- Place water butts in your garden to collect rainwater from your gutters, use this nutrient-rich water to hydrate your plants inside and out, and reap the benefits of saving on water bills.
- You can also reuse water from washing up or cleaning your car in the garden, greywater is fine for your plants and saves it from being wasted.
To find out more, read our article on 7 simple ways to save water at home.
How to reduce the amount of energy you use
Something that will resonate with all of us is hearing our parents shout to turn off the lights, switch things off at the wall or close the fridge door. Often followed by the phrase, “Do you think we’re made of money?” The thing is, they're quite right because standby power can account for around 10% of an average household's annual electricity use.
- Another factor to consider is to maintain your current appliances in top performance to ensure they’re running efficiently. For example, clean, airtight refrigerator door seals to keep the cold air in.
- Regular cleaning of washing machines, tumble dryers, and dishwashers will help keep them running at their best and save energy.
Dare we say it, you could consider cutting your use of these appliances drastically too.
- Run a full load of washing rather than several smaller loads to trim the amount of energy and water used.
- As an extra measure try washing at a cooler temperature to reduce the energy consumed by heating the water.
- Make use of the approaching beautiful British summers by hanging your laundry out to dry on the line instead.
If you can’t do without the tumble dryer, then run fewer loads here too, and reduce the number you do per week. It all helps! Aim for the drum to be about three-quarters full. It will help your dryer run more efficiently.
How to use energy wisely
We all love a Sunday roast but utilising your oven and multiple hobs can quickly see those meter dials spin so, try using the microwave, slow cooker, air fryer or another small energy-efficient appliance to reduce the amount of energy you use to cook.
A microwave takes 15 minutes to do the same job as 1 hour in an oven and an added bonus is that it will reduce the heat you produce in your kitchens.
While we’re on the topic of keeping your home warm or cool, strategically using window coverings can make a big difference too.
- Leaving curtains closed on cold mornings until the sun is up will help keep rooms warmer for longer.
- Once the sun is up you can throw them open and benefit from all that glorious warm sunshine.
- Conversely in the summer, use your blinds or window coverings to block the sun and keep your rooms cooler in the middle of the day.
- Lowering your thermostat by two degrees can help you to save 5% on your heating bill or go a step further and lower it by five degrees and you could save as much as 10% over the year.
Ultimately, any switches you can make at home to save energy, time, and money will be beneficial.