Tips for energy efficiency and 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, report the repair online or contact your housing office to get them repaired
- Fill any gaps in floorboards or under skirting boards with beading or sealant
- Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows
- 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 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
- 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
- Do not 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
- Try to use the low temperature programme, and wash a full load each time
- 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
Get local energy advice
The Environment Centre are a local charity that specialise in energy efficiency advice.
They can give you tips on how to save energy and reduce your bills, advice about approved installers and information about any grants or schemes available in your area.