This is the time of the year when we rely on our boiler and certain appliances more than usual. So, we’re sharing some seasonal tips about how to save energy around the house. We’ve also thrown in a few ways to be kinder to the planet throughout the colder months.

The changes we’re suggesting are so small, you’ll forget you’ve made them — that is until you check your bills!

1. See if you can lower your thermostat

When did you last check the time that your heating is set to come on and go off? Consider lowering the temperature overnight and while you’re away. If you’ve been working from home, you’ll likely have the heating on all through the day. If you’re going to be working in the office more regularly, you can lower your thermostat during daylight hours — those houseplants don’t need the extra warmth.

Did you change your thermostat at the start of daylight-saving time? Some thermostats adjust the time automatically, but if yours needs resetting manually, make sure it still reflects your routine.

2. Challenge yourself to spend less time showering

After a hectic day, few things are as relaxing as a hot shower or bath brimming with bubbles. However, if you’re showering extra to stay warmer for longer, there are more energy-efficient solutions to explore. According to Waterwise, for every minute we spend in the shower, we use 12 litres of water on average. Why not, next time you take a shower, time yourself and see if you can score a personal best?

It’s sweater weather, so if you’re feeling chilly, wrap up cosy, indoors and out. For a sustainable style update, see if you can source your knits second hand.

Hot water bottles and mugs of cocoa will also keep you toasty. When you’re making hot drinks, just remember not to fill your kettle too full to avoid wasting both water and electricity.

For every minute we spend in the shower, we use 12 litres of water on average.


3. Turn off devices in your sitting room

The chillier months call for cosy evenings in, snacks and films at the ready. Just don’t forget to turn your TV and electronics off when you’re finished with them. Modern TVs sometimes have better standby efficiency, but it’s better to turn your gadgets off completely. The same goes for all the lights in the room — take note and reduce your electricity usage (and bills) at the flick of a switch.

See our guide to: What are the worst appliances to leave on standby?

Reduced screen time can help you get a better night’s sleep. The blue light emitted from screens mirrors the ultraviolet rays of the sun. This type of light makes us feel awake. To reduce your electricity consumption, and get more shut-eye, why not shut down your devices earlier in the evening every so often?

4. Plan how to use leftovers in advance

The winter months are full of celebratory dinners. Generally, it’s the season where we’re going out for meals more often but still filling our fridges with food. As well as planning the feasts, decide in advance how you’re going to use the leftovers. You can find turkey sandwich and vegetable curry recipes by the dozen online.

If you’ve accidentally ordered too much food, or end up dining out more than expected, donate some of it to a local food bank. Many food banks keep a list of the type of items they accept on their website and social media channels.

Find your nearest food bank.

5. Use your tumble dryer wisely

The cold weather calls for layers — lots of them. With extra laundry to get through, it’s practical and efficient to dry bigger batches of clothes. Just don’t get carried away… we understand the temptation to cram as many clothes as possible into every load, but an overstuffed dryer is prone to breaking and takes longer to dry garments.

Another way to save energy is to avoid adding wet clothes mid-cycle. The water will be soaked up by the dry clothes, meaning the load will need extra drying time. As frustrating as it is when a pair of soggy socks gets left behind, it’s better to leave them for the next batch. If you fancy giving this advice a spin while picking up a few more tips, read our cost of running a tumble dryer guide.

6. Reduce the temperature of your washes

According to the Energy Saving Trust, washing clothes at 30 degrees uses around 40 per cent less electricity over a year than washing at higher temperatures. They’ve also shared that modern washing powders and detergents work just as effectively at lower temperatures. So, no worries if you’ve spilt hot chocolate or mulled wine on your favourite jumper; unless you’re dealing with a particularly tough stain, the temperature switch shouldn’t change anything.

7. Get your boiler serviced regularly

Last but not least, our final tip focuses on boilers, which definitely put in overtime during winter. It’s important to get yours serviced each year to keep it in good working order and ensure it’s less likely to break when you need it most. When a Gas Safe registered engineer checks your boiler, they’ll make sure it’s running smoothly, minimising your heating bills where possible. They'll also identify any potential issues before they become serious faults. If you’d like to find out more about boilers, boiler care plans and annual services, have a look at our heating page.


About the author

Ian Palmer-Smith

Ian is our go-to expert when it comes to plumbing, boilers and carbon monoxide safety. After 39 years (and counting) of working in operations – he knows quite a bit about appliance maintenance and repairs too. Even during washing machine debates (yes, they happen), his expertise is unmatched. Thankfully, Ian regularly contributes to the blog to share his wisdom – helping us all out when our appliances aren’t working quite as we expect.

Last year, Ian was recognised as a finalist in the Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers’ Gas Leadership Award – a real testament to his authority in the industry. He’s even represented Domestic & General at the House of Commons. There he informed everyone about the importance of carbon monoxide safety and awareness in the home.

Outside of work, Ian is usually occupied taking his sons to various sporting events, watching  football, rugby… and a little more sport.

Explore Ian’s wealth of knowledge on all things gas safety and appliance care now. You can check out some of his insightful articles below.

Our blog is loaded with more related articles