If your electricity bill is beyond a joke, follow these 10 simple steps and you'll soon be saving both energy and cash. It's perfectly possible to knock £100-£200 off your annual costs.
1. Replace your light bulbs
If you’re still using traditional light bulbs you could save £25 a year by switching to energy saving ones.
For maximum savings, invest in some LED bulbs. They use 90% less electricity than standard bulbs and last for 15-20 years - saving you money in both bills AND replacement bulbs. Normally £19.95, get them from under £10 here – plus knock an extra 5% off the price when you use the code SAVE5 at the checkout. Get yours here.
2. Upgrade your storage heaters
Storage heaters can eat electricity, but if a new central heating system is out of the question think about upgrading your existing set-up. According to the Energy Saving Trust, new fan-assisted models with better controls could save you up to £150 per year.
3. Wash wisely
Up to your neck in laundry? The average washing machine handles 274 loads each year, but stick to 30 degrees and you’ll use up to 40% less electricity than washing at higher temperatures.
Tumble dryers are energy-guzzling monsters, typically costing over £100 a year to run. Gas tumble dryers use just 10% of the energy an electric model consumes.
A great (and cheaper) alternative to tumble dryers is this ingenious heated tower airer from Lakeland. It quickly dries basketloads of washing (including bedsheets) but only costs a miniscule 5p an hour to run!
Better still, hang your clothes out in warm weather - though this is easier said than done, we know...
Cooking accounts for about 4% of your electricity bill but you can still save money by being more energy-efficient in the kitchen. Don’t preheat the oven unless absolutely necessary, cook more than one dish at a time, and keep the door closed to prevent precious energy escaping. And if you’re just reheating – use a microwave.
5. Switch to a cheaper fuel
Electricity is by far the most expensive way to heat your home, so switch to gas or oil wherever possible. Check out what financial assistance is available as you could be eligible for a grant to help with installation costs.
6. Check the EU energy label on 'white goods'
Domestic appliances account for almost half of our electricity consumption, so if you’re replacing white goods like cookers, fridges and washing machines look for the EU energy label which tells you their energy efficient rating from A to G (A is good, G is bad). Labels are required by law and also include useful information on capacity, noise and water consumption.
7. Fridge and freezer costs
Is your fridge working harder than it needs to? Give it a helping hand by letting food cool first, making sure seals are intact and not leaving the door open. Keep your freezer full, defrost regularly and try cleaning the condenser coils at the back as dust can stop it from working efficiently.
8. Switch off
It’s a myth that gadgets don’t use power when they’re ‘sleeping.’ Leaving your TV in standby mode will just waste energy so either switch off, or get a standby saver which automatically cuts power after a set time. Additionally, switch off printers, speakers and monitors and unplug chargers as soon as they’ve done their job.
9. Don’t fill the kettle
Heat your water more efficiently and even a simple cuppa could cost less. Figures show that could power a TV for a day on the energy wasted by overfilling the kettle, so top up less often, or invest in an eco-kettle which only heats the amount you need.
10. Get an immersion timer
Does your immersion heater need to be on all day? Chances are you’re just wasting energy, so invest in a timer to make sure you’re only using what you need. Save money by turning down the temperature to 60% max, and insulate your tank to retain as much heat as possible.
Take a look at this guide to switching energy supplier and how it could save you £100s per year.