Tips for energy efficiency & cutting fuel bills

If your home wastes energy you are having a direct effect on the environment.

Everyone can do their bit to help the environment just by saving energy at home on heating, lighting and powering household appliances.

To stop draughts and stop heat escaping outside

  • Make sure your exterior doors and windows fit well. If they do not, phone Actionline or contact your housing office to get them repaired
  • Fill any gaps in floorboards or under skirting boards with beading or sealant

Windows

  • We have fitted modern energy efficient windows in most homes now and will carry on with this until all our tenants have them. If you still have older windows, make sure they are draught proofed. A low cost, short-term alternative to double glazing is to tape polythene across the window
  • Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows

Heating

  • Turning your thermostat down by 1°C could cut your heating costs by up to 10%. If you are away on holiday during the winter leave the thermostat on a low setting to provide protection from freezing at minimum cost 
  • Having your central heating on a low level for long periods will heat your home more efficiently than using it at a high level for short periods. It is also more economical than having a gas or electric bar fire on all day

Hot water

  • Hot water does not need to be scalding. For most people, setting the cylinder thermostat at 60°C/140°F is fine for bathing and washing. It is also cheaper than using a higher setting
  • Always use the plug in your basin or sink. If you leave hot water taps running you are effectively washing money down the plughole

TV’s, video’s, stereos, computers, and cordless phones

  • To cut down on wasted energy, avoid leaving appliances on standby or unnecessarily on charge

Fridges

  • Don’t leave the door open for longer than necessary, as cold air will escape
  • Allow hot or warm food to cool before putting it into the fridge
  • Defrost your fridge regularly to keep it running efficiently and cheaply. If it tends to frost up quickly, check the door seal
  • If you have to put your fridge next to a cooker or boiler, leave as big a gap as you can between them

Washing machines and tumble dryers

  • Washing a full load is more economical but, if you can’t, use a half-load or an economy programme if the machine has one. Modern washing powders are just as effective at lower temperatures than on high ones
  • Don’t tumble-dry really wet clothes, wring them out or spin-dry them first. It’s much faster and will save you money
  • If you have an outside washing line it is far cheaper and more energy efficient to use it. It also helps prevent condensation problems in your home

Dishwashers

  • Try to use the low temperature programme, and wash a full load each time

Light bulbs

  • Fit energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, instead of old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. They last much longer and only use about a fifth of the electricity. You can get them to fit almost any type of light fitting but you cannot use them with a dimmer switch

Things to remember

  • It is very important to ensure that any appliance, including a cooker or boiler, has enough ventilation to operate safely
  • Do not block up existing air vents or grilles, they are there to ensure there is enough ventilation
  • If you are draught proofing windows, make sure you can still open them for ventilation, to help prevent condensation, and to be able get out in an emergency

Your local Energy Efficiency Advice Centre (EEAC)

There are centres all round the country dedicated to helping you save energy.

They can give you tips on how to cut wastage, advice about approved installers and information about any grants or special offers available in your area.

To talk to your local energy adviser, free phone 0800 512 012.