Our top tips and handy hacks to reduce your energy usage at home

5 minute read

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We’re all feeling the pressure of the rising cost of living, so let's take a look at some handy hacks to help save on our energy usage...

  • Reducing your shower time by one minute could save 60 gallons of water a year!
  • Reducing your thermostat by one degree could reduce your household energy use
  • The cheapest time to charge your EV is between 11pm - 7am

Data shared by the Office for National Statistics states that prices of household items and food are set to rise at the fastest rate in nearly 30 years, with energy bills at their highest level since 1992.

Small acts as simple as leaving your TV on standby, or overfilling the kettle, could be using more energy than you think. To support you during this period, we’re sharing some energy saving hacks, tips and tricks for your home.

Spend less time in the shower

Every minute you shave off your time in the shower could save on your energy usage. We know showers are the more water-efficient way to wash, but did you know that cutting back your shower time by just a minute could save up to sixty gallons of water per month

If you’re looking for an easy way to shorten your showers, try setting a timer on your phone - or if you're feeling a little extra - why not create a shower playlist with songs that will energise you in the morning (and help keep your timings in check.)

Alternatively, switching to a low flow showerhead can not only help the planet, but will help you use less energy whilst showering. 

MYTH BUSTED: Cold showers can in fact be just as good for you as a steaming hot one. Cold showers provide muscle recovery and improve blood circulation - they also could lead to less time spent in the shower (for most) and as a bonus, you won’t be heating the water, so that’s more energy saved.

Switch up your at home laundry routine  

Did you know that a large percentage of your home water usage comes from using your washing machine?

For a simple water saving hack, try switching up your normal cycle to an eco-wash and make sure you adjust the settings on your machine to reflect the proper load size ahead of pressing go. 

When it comes to drying your clothes, if you regularly use a tumble dryer why not invest in a tumble dryer ball to help speed up the process. These ingenious balls help create space between the laundry, airing the clothes or sheets, and helping reduce the time needed in the dryer.

MYTH BUSTED: Wondering where those missing socks go? Yes, they might be disappearing from your laundry, but the sock monster isn’t real. Washing machines do in fact swallow smaller items of clothing, as they get sucked into the machine's drainage. Who knew!

Insulate your home with tin foil...

Feeling the chill? Putting aluminium foil behind your radiators could help keep heat in your home. Although this may seem a little far-fetched, the idea is simple - using reflective foil behind your radiator will bounce heat back into the room, rather than letting it out through the walls. 

Bear in mind that this is only effective behind radiators on external walls, not internal. 

The benefits are, of course, a warmer, more comfortable home and less energy wastage, making for a more heat efficient home. You can buy specialist foil from hardware shops or online in rolls or sheets, this can then be cut to size.

Heating Your Home

Heating and hot water account for about 53% of a household's energy bills.  Home energy bills are set to increase from 1 April 2022, with the rising cost of living. This can be a worrying time for many families, but there are some simple hacks you can try, making your home more energy efficient. 

Whilst it may sound basic, turning down your main thermostat just one degree could reduce the amount of energy you use to heat your home. Most families set their thermostat between 18˚C and 21˚C, and whilst we all have that preferred temperature, you’re likely not to notice a 1 degree difference. So why not give it a try?

If this feels a little daunting, setting times or programming your thermostats can narrow down the length of time your heating is on, keeping it set at key hours where that additional heat boost is needed. 

MYTH BUSTED: A lot of us believe that it’s cheaper to have the heating on low all the time, but it’s really not. And whilst you may think cranking up the thermostat will heat your home quicker, it really won’t.

Take Tech off standby

It's an age-old question, does switching off appliances and devices in our homes when they're not in use, save on your household energy use? The short answer is, yes. 
We all know that one person who switches everything off at the wall, and they’re onto something. 

When should your turn off appliances at the wall?

We’d advise everyday appliances like fridges and freezers remain switched on at all times. However, if you’re off on holiday, at work all day, or simply not using appliances like TV’s, Smart Speakers and Game Consoles, turn them off! 
Why? Because they can use up energy even when turned off, unless unplugged at the wall (a type of energy use known as a ‘Phantom Load.') 

Don’t overfill the kettle

Time for a cuppa? Whether tea time is at 11am or 3pm, stop filling the kettle up to the brim, use your mug to measure and boil just what you need

Adding milk to tea is a personal preference but whether you like your tea milky or straight up, be sure to take this into account when filling the kettle. 

Are you an EV owner?

Bet you didn’t know that the cheapest time to charge your car is between 11pm - 7am, due to lower energy demand overnight. So, get your dressing gown and outdoor slippers at the ready, and add plugging in to your night-time routine! 

How to check your appliances are working properly 

You should consistently check your appliances are in working order. Why? Because if they’re not, they could be using more energy or using more water than necessary… and therefore costing more money! Checking and caring for appliances yourself could save you money on replacing items or paying tradespeople to fix them.

How to check your fridge is working properly

If your fridge stops working, your first port of call should be the coils. On most fridges, you can get to the coils by removing the front grille. Once you’ve located the coils, it’s time to push a coil cleaning brush into the coils, pull it back and vacuum it clean. If the coils on your fridge are on the back, you may need to pull out your fridge to clean them (as long as it’s safe to do so!). Making sure your coils are clean means your fridge will cool more efficiently and could save money on your energy bill!

How to check your washing machine is working

We're all guilty of overloading the washing machine to try and limit the number of loads, but stuffing too much laundry into your washing machine can damage the motors, belts and other moving parts. Sometimes, these repairs can be pricier than replacing the entire machine. Your home insurance won't cover appliances breaking down, so make sure you check the instruction manual (you can usually find this online if you've lost the paperwork) to make sure you're using your machine in the safest and most efficient way.

How to check your dishwasher is working

We've all been there... you go to empty the dishwasher and your leftover roast potatoes aren't budging from the tray. When this starts to happen, it's usually a food-filled filter that's to blame. If it's clogged up with excess food, water can't make its way to the spray arms. The good news is... you can fix this yourself in two minutes. Here's how:
1. Pull out the lower rack and remove the filter cover inside the dishwasher
2. Use a wet/dry vacuum to clean off the screen.
3. Slide the 'float switch' up and down, and then clean it with water

How to check your tumble dryer is working

Clothes still damp after they've been in the dryer? Firstly, make sure the machine isn't set to 'fluff air' — this is a non-heat setting. If not, it could be that the filter's clogged up. You can test your filter by pouring water into it - if the filter holds water, it's time to clean it! Pull out the filter and scrub it in hot water with a little laundry detergent and a stiff kitchen brush. Also check the outside dryer vent for any fluff that may have built up there.

How to check your freezer is working

If you open your freezer and spy some puddles of water, your freezer might not be working properly (wither that, or someone left the door open for a bit too long!). Either way, this simple trick will help you find out:

1. Put a (freezer friendly) container of water in your freezer.
2. Once the water's frozen solid, put a small solid object (e.g. a coin) on top of the ice.

If your freezer is in perfect working order. the object will still be on top of the ice an hour later. If the object has fallen into the container, the freezer has a malfunction of some kind. It could be that the condenser coils have collected debris and need cleaning (as above with the fridge), or there could be a problem with the defrost timer. The compressor goes silent when it's in automatic defrost mode (which lasts between 30 minutes to an hour), so if the compressor motor does not start after this time, it may need replacing.

And finally, it’s worth checking that your LV= home insurance is up to date, because right now, no one wants a hefty bill for accidental damage or a leak to be added to the list of expenses this year.

So, why not give some of these home hacks, tips and tricks, a go and see if you can reduce the energy that you use in your home. Always remember, when it comes to saving energy at the home, consistency is key! Make sure you keep up your good work to see results. 

This article contains links to other sites, and we're not responsible for the contents of any of these websites.

This article contains links to other sites, and we're not responsible for the contents of any of these websites.

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