If you’re happy with your energy supplier (or have already switched to the cheapest energy deal) here are 14 shockingly simple ways to save energy at home that will cut your energy bills by literally hundreds of pounds.
1. Instantly knock up to 6% off your bills
If you can, switch to paying your heating bills by Direct Debit – it will save you up to 6% a year.
For many people, this means a saving of £70-£100 a year. It’s easy to set up, so if you can budget for fixed monthly payments, go for it.
2. Break out the tin foil
A simple way to save energy and boost the power of your heaters is put up some reflective aluminium foil behind each radiator. This helps stop heat being lost through the wall and reflects it back out into the room (around 35%-40% of a radiator’s heat is wasted on heating the wall).
Reflective foil will make the most difference when used with radiators that are attached to an external, rather than internal, wall.
You can buy specially made reflective radiator foil from most good DIY shops – you should be able to get a large roll for under £10. (B&Q currently sell it for £7).
You can even use normal tin foil to help reflect heat back out (but it’s not as effective as proper radiator foil).
3. Be savvy with shelves and furniture
It’s common sense, but it’s surprising how many people place large pieces of furniture in front of radiators, which then absorb and block off the heat. Giving your radiators room to ‘breathe’ is one of the best ways to save energy at home.
However, if you need to put some shelves up you could do worse than put them up over your radiators. Doing so will help reflect the heat back into the room more efficiently.
4. Let the sunshine in during the day…
Keep curtains and blinds open during the day – even in winter, sunlight coming in through your windows can make a surprising difference to the temperature of your home. And sunshine is free, after all!
5. …but close the (thermal) curtains at night
Yes, everyone knows that closing the curtains in the evening helps keep in the heat – but thick curtains are considerably better.
They can make a real difference in keeping the heat in, keeping out draughts, and reducing your heating bills.
For maximum effect, you can buy thermal curtains from as little as £20. However, there is often a limited choice of patterns, so many people prefer to make their own.
A simple way to make thermal curtains is to stitch reflective foil into the lining.
6. Double glaze your windows for under £10
Double glazing makes a huge difference to your heating bills and is one of the best ways to save energy at home. Unfortunately, double glazing can also be incredibly expensive – often running to thousands of pounds.
Luckily, there is an inexpensive way to insulate your windows.
Most people can insulate all their property’s windows for under £20 using this method.
While it’s not as effective as proper double-glazing, it will help stop draughts and increase room temperature. (It’s especially good for those who are renting and don’t have permission from their landlord to install double-glazing).
The downside? Once you’ve put up the insulating film, you will be unable to open the window without breaking the seal. So you will need to remove the film each spring and replace it each autumn.
7. Use energy-efficient lights and save £30 a month
If you think changing your light bulbs will have a tiny impact on your energy bills, think again.
In fact, it’s one of the easiest ways to save energy at home.
Just by taking the simple step of replacing your normal energy-guzzling bulbs with long-lasting, energy-efficient ones, you can reduce your lighting bills by up to 90%. Or to put it another way, you could make monthly savings of around £30.
Find out which are the best energy saving bulbs (and get an exclusive 15% discount on a range of energy-saving bulbs).
8. Clamp down on draughts
Cold air coming in under doors, through letterboxes, keyholes, catflaps… draughts can make a massive difference to room temperature but they are easy to stop. Fitting old fashioned draught excluders to the bottoms of doors and to your letterbox can have an immediate impact while a simple keyhole cover can also work well (especially on older, wider keyholes).
The Energy Saving Trust say that draught-proofing saves a typical household over £50 a year.
9. Chim chim-ney
Save up to £153 a year by blocking up your fireplace. An unblocked draughty fireplace can be causing you to pay over the odds for your heating bill – but you can easily block draughts by getting a cheap, removable inflatable chimney balloon.
Alternatively – if you still plan on regularly lighting a fire – consider getting a removable Heatsaver shield to block chimney draughts.
10. Consider getting a halogen oven
A halogen oven uses 75% less electricity than a conventional oven but cooks food twice as fast (they can roast a whole chicken in 30 minutes which isn’t too shabby). Plus, they even clean themselves too!
As cooking appliances are one of the biggest energy guzzlers, a halogen oven is a smart way to save energy at home (while cooking tasty meals in double quick time).
11. Save money on showers
A water-efficient showerhead can cut water use by 30% and helps save on the cost of heating the water.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, a water-efficient showerhead can save you approximately £75 off your gas bill and around £90 off your water bill (if you have a water meter) each year. That’s saving you up to £165 a year.
See our top 10 ways to cut your water bill for more money saving tips.
12. Switch off standby mode
Leaving electronic devices like TVs on standby mode uses a surprising amount of electricity – so switch off appliances when you’re not using them. The Energy Saving Trust calculates that the average home can save between £50 and £90 a year by switching off items that are left on standby mode.
For simple ways to save energy at home, switching off standby mode is a no-brainer.
13. Wash your clothes at 30C
Unless you are dealing with heavy stains, you can wash most clothes at 30C. This uses 40% less electricity than a 40C wash, and will save the average household (doing 274 loads of washing a year) £13.
Not only that but washing at 30C helps clothes last longer and is far kinder on coloured fabrics.
See our 15 magic ways to make your clothes last longer for more tips.
14. Turn down your thermostat by one degree
Research from the Energy Saving Trust shows that if you turn down your room thermostat by just one degree, you’ll save around £65 a year.
Recap of average annual savings
- Paying bills by Direct Debit = up to £70-£100 a year.
- Radiator foil = up to £10-£25 a year (depends on the house and whether the walls are insulated)
- Double glazing film = up to £85 a year
- Energy saving light bulbs = up to £350 a year
- Draught proofing = up to £50 a year
- Water efficient showerhead = up to £165 a year
- Switching off standby mode = up to £90 a year
- Washing clothes at 30C = up to £13 a year
- Turn thermostat down by one degree = up to £65 a year
Total savings = £943
Will I really save over £900?
In theory, you could. In practice, it’s unlikely you’ll save quite that much.
Remember that you may not get the maximum savings for each of these methods – a lot depends on your individual home and energy use.
However, by implementing the tips above you will certainly save money – and it’s perfectly possible to save hundreds of pounds a year with the methods above.
Have you got any ways to save energy at home that you recommend? Let us know in the comments below!