It’s cold, my bank account is still in post-Christmas recovery and I have a renewed sense of motivation to get things done. It’s January, alright. I don’t know about you, but for me, January is the month I get my costs down as much as possible.
One of main ways I do this is by reviewing my energy usage. Am I using as little as I could be? How can I help my house stay warm? I’m not alone – it’s Big Energy Saving Week next week and people all over the UK will be trying to save money on their gas and electric.
21+ Ways To Save Energy
Use lined curtains and close them when the sun goes in. When we switched to lined curtains in the dining room, it was noticeably warmer. In fact, if we forget to close the curtains when the sun goes down we can tell by how much harder the house is to heat.
Switch to LED bulbs if you haven’t already. Not just your main lights, but also your lamps and your Christmas decs!
Check for holes or cracks. When I first moved into this house, the hall was always freezing. When I checked for holes, I realised that the keyhole and the peephole on the front door were letting out a LOT of heat. Just blocking those two made a difference to how warm the hall was.
Use power saving modes on your tech. Most tech comes with a power saving mode of some sort, and many smartphones come with an extreme power saving mode that essentially turns your smartphone into an old school mobile: just calls, texts and maybe the camera are available. Your battery will sigh with relief!
Turn appliances off when you’re not using them. Yes, we still need to be checking this. You don’t even need to do this yourself. Appoint one of your kids as an energy monitor and let them do it for you.
Bulk cook. Cooking takes a surprising amount of energy. When you have to do it, try doubling your portions so you don’t have to cook again tomorrow. This has the bonus of freeing up extra time for you too!
Leave the oven door open after cooking. Don’t let the heat ebb away gradually. If it’s safe to do so, leave the oven door open to let the heat fill your kitchen. If you get cold toes like me, try holding them at a close but safe distance from the open door for a few moments before dishing up tea. Lush!
Insulate the pipes around your home. We insulate our homes without even thinking about it, but did you realise you’re also wasting heat through the hot water pipes in your home? Pipe Lagging provide insulation for almost any pipe size, meaning more of the heat you pay for actually reaches your radiators.
Pack your fridge/freezer efficiently. Your fridge and freezer are on all the time. When the temperature gets too high, the motor will kick in and cool the air. The more often this happens, the worse it is for your bills. So keep your fridge and freezer relatively full while keeping a little bit of space around the edges of the shelves. And know what you’re grabbing before you open the door!
Let nature do the defrosting. Letting your ingredients come to room temperature will reduce your cooking time a little. Even if it’s just a few minutes, over the course of a year you could have saved hours of cooking time. It will take a while to get used to the different timings, but once you’re used to it, it’s second nature.
Use the washing machine wisely. Use a quick/eco load setting by default. Keep wash temperature down. Only put a load of washing in when you know you’ll have time to take it out and put it to dry properly. This is my biggest eco fail actually – I often overestimate how much time/energy I have and end up washing twice!
Make sure radiators are uncovered. Don’t hide them behind sofas or curtains, because they’ll absorb all the heat.
Wash clothes only when they really need it. This depends a lot on personal preference and your own activity levels, but before you put something in the washing basket check that it isn’t still clean. If it is, don’t wash it! I have a separate place in my bedroom for clothes that have been worn but are still clean enough to wear again.
Dry using an airer. If you’re doing your laundry little and often, then an airer is all you need to dry your clothes. I haven’t used the tumble dryer yet this winter: in fact, I’m thinking of getting rid of it altogether.
Make sure your appliances are in an efficient place. Keep the fridge and freezer out of direct sunlight and away from heat generating appliances. Put heaters in a place where they can heat the room efficiently.
Do the heat generating tasks at the colder parts of the day. If you must iron or use the tumble dryer, then do it after dark so you can make some use of the residual heat.
Turn the brightness and volume down. Keeping the brightness and volume down on your appliances means they use less power. Try turning them down gradually, giving yourself time to get used to the change each time if you need it.
Cwtch up. Whether it’s the kids, your partner or a pet, you’ll feel a lot warmer cwtching up with someone you love. Preferably under a nice, thick blanket.
Turn the thermostat down. Try to gradually turn the thermostat down one degree at a time until you hit your wall. Aim for 17-18c. If you can get it lower comfortably, even better!
Turn the screens off. Get away from the gadgets and pick up a book. Pick up a paintbrush. Pick up anything that doesn’t require electricity to run!
Take cooler showers and baths. This one is quite hard for me. I love a hot bath, especially in the winter. It’s like I’m giving myself a hug!
Get outside. The more time you spend out of the home, the less time you need to heat or power it for. Now is the time to embrace your outdoorsy side!
How do you save energy around the home?
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