Energy saving tips to save money
Government is saving households £1,300 on their energy bills this winter through the Energy Price Guarantee and Energy Bill Support Scheme.
There are lots of things you can do at home, from easy no cost actions to bigger investments, that could save you hundreds more.
It all adds up.
Quick and easy no cost actions
These are free, quick fix actions that you can take to immediately reduce the amount of energy you use.
Turning your combi boiler flow temperature down to 60°C could save you up to £100 a year
Flow temperature is the temperature of the water that your boiler sends to radiators. Reducing flow temperature isn’t the same as lowering your thermostat and won’t noticeably reduce the temperature of your home but may increase the time it takes to reach the target temperature on your thermostat.
If you are over 65, or have pre-existing health conditions, you may want to set a slightly higher flow temperature of 65°C to ensure your home warms more quickly.
Nesta have more information on lowering your combi boiler flow temperature setting – take their Money Saving Boiler Challenge.
Turning down radiators in rooms you aren’t using or use less could save you up to £70 a year
When you’re not using rooms, turn radiator valves down to between 2.5 and 3 (roughly 18°C). While you are using a room, increase the temperature to a comfortable level by turning the valve up. Turning off radiators completely in rooms you are not using is less energy efficient as this means your boiler has to work harder to increase the temperature again than if kept at a low setting.
People over 65, children under 5 and those with pre-existing health conditions are more vulnerable to cold temperatures. Make sure you are warm enough and have a minimum indoor temperature of 18°C to ensure you protect your health while maintaining comfort.
Turning appliances off at the socket could save you up to £70 a year
Almost all electrical appliances in your home, such as computers, televisions, smart devices and video game consoles, draw power continuously unless unplugged. Turn off the power switch at the socket or unplug appliances from the socket when they are not in use.
Washing clothes at a lower temperature could save you up to £40 a year
Modern washing machines can clean clothes effectively at lower temperatures. Changing from 40°C to 30°C means you could get 3 cycles instead of 2 using the same amount of energy, depending on your washing machine.
Using your tumble dryer less could save you £70 a year
Tumble dryers are one of the most energy-intensive devices in the home.
Use your tumble dryer less frequently by ensuring you have a full load, around three-quarters of the drum. Or use a clothes airer to dry clothes outside, or inside with a window open for ventilation. You should also avoid overfilling your dryer as this could lengthen the drying time.
Closing all your curtains and blinds at night
By closing your curtains and blinds, you can help stop warm air escaping through windows and reduce heating costs, especially if you have radiators situated below your windows.
Track your energy usage using an app
If you have a smart meter, there are apps which are free and allow you to track your hourly energy use over days, weeks, months or years.
This can help you find the best ways to reduce usage and save on your energy bills in a safe and manageable way.
Low-cost home improvements
These actions outline small improvements to help make your home more energy efficient. They typically require spending between £10 to £150, but once installed are a good way of reducing bills.
Finding and fixing draughts could save you up to £60 a year
Draught-proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective actions you can take to stop or prevent heat escaping and reduce your energy bills. Block unwanted gaps around windows, doors, chimneys and floors that let the cold air in and warm air out.
Window film is a form of temporary secondary glazing which helps stop heat escaping through glass. You can buy it at hardware shops and online and install it yourself or with the help of a professional.
Switching to energy saving lightbulbs could save you up to £55 a year
Standard or incandescent light bulbs are very inefficient. By switching to energy efficient bulbs, such as LEDs, you can save money on your energy bills while keeping your rooms well lit. LED lightbulbs also last longer than traditional bulbs, saving on maintenance costs.
The amount of light, or colour of the light (white to yellow) is not linked to a bulb’s energy usage, so you can get the same light at a much lower energy cost.
Installing a smart meter can help you see what you’re spending
A smart meter provides you with near real-time information about how much energy you are using via an in-home display, which you can use to track your spending and have greater control over your usage. Smart meters provide automatic readings to your energy supplier, meaning an end to estimated bills and enabling easier budgeting.
Contact your energy supplier, who can arrange to install a smart meter free of charge.
If you have a smart meter, you can unlock further bill savings by taking part in National Grid’s Demand Flexibility Service. This new service runs until 31 March 2023. It helps National Grid manage our electricity system this winter by paying consumers who choose to reduce their energy usage in time periods where there may be high demand for electricity, via their energy supplier or another approved service provider.
Spend-to-save home improvements
These larger home improvements require more money upfront but can reduce your energy usage and bills, providing high savings. They also help reduce damp, mould, draughts, and condensation problems, which can improve health and wellbeing.
Our energy saving tool on GOV.UK can give you tailored advice on what improvements could be right for your home.
Insulating your hot water cylinder could save you up to £70 a year
If you have a hot water tank, you can invest in a hot water cylinder jacket, available in most hardware shops and online. It reduces the amount of heat the cylinder loses and keeps water hot for longer, making them more efficient and cheaper to use.
Installing smart thermostats and heating controls could save you up to £60 a year
Smart thermostats and heating controls offer greater flexibility and control over your energy use.
Smart controls do everything that conventional heating controls do but are connected to the internet and offer more functionality such as allowing you to adjust your temperature settings when you’re not at home via a smartphone.
Installing roof and loft insulation could save you up to £355 a year
Loft insulation is one of the most straightforward ways to increase insulation in your home. According to Energy Saving Trust, if you don’t have any, adding 270mm thickness could save you £355 a year. If you already have 120mm, increasing this to 270mm could save you £35 a year.
You can either do this yourself, or ask a professional.
Upgrading to more energy efficient appliances could save on your energy bills
All electrical appliances such as fridges, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers and TVs have an energy rating A-G, A being high and G lowest. A higher rating means the device is more energy efficient. The efficiency labelling on appliances allows you to compare models by how much electricity they use.
For example, upgrading from a C rated washing machine to an A rated one could reduce the energy you use to wash your clothes by 25%.
Installing solar panels on your roof could save you £455 per year
The Energy Saving Trust estimate that you can save around £455 per year by installing solar electricity panels on your roof. These panels capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity that you can use in your home.
Sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation, you can generate your own renewable electricity and reduce your electricity costs.
Upgrading to double glazing could save you £235 a year
According to the Energy Saving Trust, upgrading from single to double glazing could reduce the cost of your bills by £235 a year. It will also reduce cold draughts and sound pollution from outside.
Replace your boiler with a heat pump with the help of a government grant
Heat pumps use cleaner electricity and are significantly more efficient than traditional boilers so will reduce your home’s energy usage. The government is offering grants of £5,000 off the cost of a heat pump to properties across England and Wales through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme. Check if you’re eligible for a heat pump grant on GOV.UK.
Installing underfloor insulation could save you £110 a year
Floor insulation can not only make floors feel warmer and more comfortable in your home, but it can also help reduce your heating bills.
Cavity wall insulation could save you £395 a year
Cavity wall insulation is installed in the space or ‘cavity’ between the inner and outer walls of a property and can typically be fitted in homes built after the 1920s. This type of insulation helps to keep heat inside your home, making it more comfortable and lowering your heating costs.
You will need an installer to carry out a survey to check that your home is suitable, and the work takes approximately 2 hours for an average house. TrustMark will help you find a trusted installer that is thoroughly vetted and continually monitored to ensure they meet required standards.
More information from trusted partners
Nesta have more information on lowering your combi boiler flow setting – take their Money Saving Boiler Challenge.
The Energy Saving Trust has more information about installation and potential savings for:
- changing your heating controls
- insulating hot water tanks
- smart heating controls
- loft and roof insulation
- solar panels
- upgrading your windows
- underfloor insulation
- cavity wall insulation
Smart Energy GB has more information about installing a smart meter.
Label2020’s label guide has more information about comparing appliance efficiency grades.
Centre for Sustainable Energy has advice on installing window film.
Age UK provide information to help older people keep well this winter.
TrustMark have more information on finding vetted tradespeople.
You can get help finding a qualified installer of heat pumps or solar panels in your area by visiting the MCS website.