Energy Saving Tips
These energy saving tips have been bought to you by the Energy Savings Trust, which was set up by government to promote energy efficiency and help people save money.
It has never been easier to save money on your fuel bills.
Did you know for instance, that in most homes, lighting accounts for 10-15% of the electricity bill?
And what about your letterbox and keyholes?
Did you know that they could save you money?
All this, and lots more besides is explained in this guide.
We've divided it into two sections: 'no cost' ideas and 'low cost ideas.
We've also outlined the annual £ savings each measure could give (based on an un-insulated semi-detached 3 bedroom house)
And remember: the costs are one-off, whereas you'll make savings every year.
N0-COST ENERGY SAVING TIPS
If you are too warm, turn the thermostat down by 1degree C: this can cut up you 10% off your fuel bills
If you are away for a few days then leave the thermostat on a low setting to provide protection from freezing without costing too much.
Saving: around £15-£30 per year.
Water shouldn't be heated to a scalding temperature. For most people, setting the cylinder thermostat at 60 degrees C/ 140 degrees F is usually quite adequate for bathing and washing.
Saving: around £15 per year.
Always remember to put the plug in the basin or sink. Leaving hot taps running is both wasteful and expensive.
Saving: around £15 per year.
Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows.
Savings: around £15 per year
Always remember to turn off lights when you leave the room. Adjust curtains or blinds to let in as much light as possible.
When you are not using your TV, switch it off at the set rather than leaving it on stand-by. It's a simple way to save money.
Don't leave the fridge door open for longer than necessary, as cold air will escape. Avoid putting hot or warm food straight into the fridge; allow it to cool down first. Defrost your fridge regularly as this will help to keep it running efficiently, and so reduce running costs. If it refrosts quickly, check that the door seals are working properly. Try not to site your fridge next to a cooker or boiler. If you have to, leave a gap between them.
Always wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine. It this isn't possible, use half-load or economy programme if your machine has one. Try to use the low-temperature programme, unless you have very dirty cloths to wash. Modern washing powders often work just as effective at lower temperatures, Don't put really wet cloths into the tumble dryer; wring them out first. It's much faster and will save you money.
When possible, use the low-temperature program, unless you have very dirty dishes.
Choose the right size pan for the food and cooker, and keep lids on when cooking. The base should just cover an electric cooking ring. With gas, you need to ensure that the flames only heat the bottom of the pan. If they are coming up to the side of the pan then you are wasting heat. Don't use more water than you need. Not only does this waste energy, it also spoils food.
Don't over fill kettles for just one drink; heat the amount of water you really need. If you're using an electric kettle, make sure you cover the elements. Jug-type kettles need less water as they have smaller elements.
Grants for improving the insulation in your home are generally available to all owner occupiers and private renting tenants. You may even qualify for FREE insulation.
LOW-COST ENERGY SAVING TIPS
If you use a light for an average of four hours or more a day, fit an energy-saving light bulb. It will use around a quarter of the electricity, and will last eight times longer than an ordinary bulb.
Cost: around £5-£12
Saving: around £10 per year
An insulating jacket for your hot water tank costs only a few pounds, and will pay for itself within months. Fit one that is at least 3" thick and make sure a British Standard jacket is used.
Costs: around £10
Saving: around £20 per year
Always insulate your hot water pipes. this will help prevent heat escaping from them.
Costs: around £1/metre.
Saving: around £5-£10 per year.
An ordinary shower uses only two-fifths of the hot water needed for a bath. Shower attachments for bath taps can be bought from many local stores.
Cost: around £5.
Saving: £5-£10 per year
If you have a dripping tap, fix it quickly. Make sure hot water taps are turned off properly. In just one day a dripping hot water tap can waste energy and enough water to fill a bath.
Cost: around £3-£5.
Saving: up to around £5 per year.
Think about fixing a brush seal or PVC seal to your exterior doors. They're easy to fix and will help eliminate draughts. But don't go mad. Ventilation is just as important as insulation. Without it your house will become stale and stuffy. Remember, ventilation is essential if you have open fires, gas fires or a boiler with a flue. So have your chimneys swept regularly and check your airbricks for any blockages.
Letterboxes and keyholes can let in draughts. Fit a nylon brush seal or a spring flap, and put a cover over the keyhole.
Cost: around £10
Stop draughts and heat escaping by filling gaps under skirting boards, with newspaper, beading or mastic sealant.
Cost: around £10.
Saving: around £10 per year.
Make sure your windows are insulated and draught proofed. A low-cost, short term alternative to double glazing is to tape polythene across window frames. You can use ordinary cling film or you can buy special products from D.I.Y. stores.
Costs: around £10
Saving: around £25 per year.
Make sure that your heaters are the right size for your rooms. Too much heat wastes energy and money. Heaters with thermostats will help you to control heating more efficiently, and will help save you money.