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42 SIMPLE BUT EFFECTIVE WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON ENERGY BILLS IN 2023
As energy prices continue to rise sharply, it is more important than ever to reduce the gas and electricity we use to save money on energy bills.
Use my list of 42 simple but effective ways to reduce the energy you use around your home so you can start saving money on energy today.
The list is focused on tips that won’t cost you lots of money to implement but will ensure that your household is as energy efficient as possible.
While installing a new heating system and upgrading major household appliances may cut energy usage, they don’t help you save money in the short term.
This is a list of practical and realistic things you can do right now that will help you thrive and survive the cost of the energy crisis by saving money on electric bills and gas bills immediately.
42 PRACTICAL WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON ENERGY BILLS
1. GET PROACTIVE AT MANAGING YOUR ENERGY BILLS
There was a time when switching energy providers was the best way to make significant savings on your energy bills.
However, it is not a good time for most people to switch energy providers, as there are scarcely any fixed tariffs worth switching to.
Instead, look at how you can better manage your energy bills and keep one step ahead as prices continue to rise.
I took a very proactive stance when energy prices started to rise, and as a result, I feel much more in control of our energy bills than in previous years.
This has also helped focus us on keeping our household as energy efficient as possible.
Here are some simple tips on managing your energy bills:
- The majority of energy companies allow you to access your account online. Ensure you have your login details and check the account monthly to keep tabs on your energy usage.
- Consider paying by direct debit if you don’t already; then, you can agree on a monthly amount to pay rather than waiting to receive a huge bill.
- Set a reminder to take gas and electricity meter readings and share them monthly with your supplier. This ensures that your bills are as accurate as possible, decreasing the likelihood of an unexpectedly high bill adjustment down the line. SMART meters are another way to tackle this, but I am yet to be convinced to have one installed.
- Don’t just accept suggested increases in monthly direct debit payments. Go into your online account, look at your usage over the last year, see how much credit you have and then make an educated decision on what you pay each month.
Related: The beginners guide to creating a family budget
HEATING AND AIRCON SAVERS
2. SEAL DOORS AND WINDOWS FOR LEAKS
Poorly insulated doors and windows allow cold air in and leak hot air out of a room.
So stop wasting money on energy by making sure all doors and windows are properly insulated to avoid heat loss. Look for worn weatherstripping, visible gaps and damaged caulk.
Replace weatherstripping and caulk on windows and use a door brush, draft excluder or door snake to help reduce drafts under doors.
3. INSULATE PIPES AND YOUR HOT WATER CYLINDER
Make sure your pipes are insulated, and if you have a hot water cylinder, make sure it is also insulated.
Pipe insulation and hot water cylinder jackets are inexpensive and will help you save money immediately. In addition, the Energy Trust website gives some great further guidance.
4. REFLECT RADIATOR HEAT INTO THE ROOM
Use a reflective panel behind radiators fixed to external walls to reflect heat into the room rather than letting it leak through the wall.
You can buy reflector panels. However, you can also use tin foil.
We have done this in our daughter’s room. It is a large room with a radiator on an external wall under a window. The tin foil made a difference straight away.
5. MAXIMISE RADIATOR HEAT
Don’t put large pieces of furniture directly in front of radiators, as they will soak up heat and stop it from circulating effectively around the room.
It is also worth dusting your radiators regularly to ensure they work as efficiently as possible.
6. BLEED YOUR RADIATORS
Bleeding your radiators means removing any air pockets in the radiator so that they function at total efficiency.
It will also reduce the pressure in your central heating system, so you don’t need to turn the heating up as much.
Try to bleed your radiators twice yearly, or if you notice that they should be heating up less than they should.
Here is a video that shows you how to bleed a radiator step-by-step.
7. MAKE SURE YOUR ATTIC OR LOFT IS WELL INSULATED
Loft insulation is relatively cheap to buy and install. In return, a well-insulated loft can help you save your energy bills by ensuring that heat is not lost through your home’s roof.
Which Magazine has worked out how much you can save annually if you insulate your loft or attic.
The savings are most significant if you insulate a previously uninsulated loft or attic. However, there are still substantial savings to be made by improving insulation.
8. USE CURTAINS AND BLINDS EFFECTIVELY
In the winter months, open the curtains on sunny days to allow the sun to warm your home. But keep the curtains closed on cold, grey days in rooms that aren’t in use.
Always close the curtains at dusk to keep the day’s heat inside your home as temperatures drop outside.
Conversely, close curtains during the day in the hot summer months to keep your home cool without needing aircon or a fan.
9. SHUT DOORS
This tip may send you memories of childhood and your teen years. What kid ever remembered to shut the door ever?!
But the thing is that shutting both internal and external doors is an effective way of saving energy.
Keeping doors to rooms shut will ensure that the warm air stays inside the room in the winter months and the warm air stays out of them during the hot summer months.
Get into the habit of closing all the doors when you walk around the house, and brief everyone else to do the same. Hopefully, this simple energy-saving manoeuvre will become a habit.
10. TURN DOWN THE THERMOSTAT BY ONE DEGREE
Turning down your thermostat during the winter months is a powerful way to save money on heating your home.
Even reducing the temperature by 1 degree Celcius will make you make a considerable cost saving.
An energy bill analysis undertaken by UCL in October 2022 found that saving £130 per degree is possible if you turn your thermometer down between 18 degrees Celcius and 22 degrees Celcius.
The analysis is based on the October 2022 price cap, so the savings will be even more significant going into 2023.
Worried that reducing the temperature in your home will leave you and your family feeling cold?
The solution is to wear lots of layers. This is much better than just sticking on a big jumper. The layers allow warm air to be trapped between them, thus keeping you warmer.
11. CHECK THE LOCATION OF YOUR THERMOSTAT
The best place for your thermostat is in a frequently used room. This ensures the thermostat is reading accurate temperatures.
You should also ensure your thermostat is on an interior wall and unobstructed by furniture.
12. GET A SMART THERMOSTAT
I promised I wouldn’t include expensive energy-saving tips on this list. However, if you can afford it, having a smart thermometer installed (different to a smart meter) is an excellent way of saving money on energy.
We have had a Nest smart meter for around five years. It has transformed how we control our house’s heating and hot water.
The thermostat works to make our energy usage as economical as possible and enables us to control the heating in our house remotely.
Nest claims that households save, on average, 10-12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling.
13. KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR BOILER PRESSURE
Boiler pressure must be between one and two bars for your boiler to work efficiently.
British Gas has a handy guide on dealing with boiler pressure issues without needing an engineer to fix them.
14. ADJUST THE BOILER FLOW TEMPERATURE
The flow temperature is the temperature at which the boiler heats the water before sending it to radiators around your home.
It is crucial to ensure that the water in your heating system is heated to a healthy temperature to prevent legionella bacteria from thriving. However, you may find that you can reduce the flow temperature.
Sixty degrees Celsius is enough to keep your hot water flow temperature healthy. So reducing your water temperature to around sixty degrees Celsius could save you money.
15. INSULATE YOUR CHIMNEY / FIREPLACE
While chimneys and open fires are lovely, they are also great for losing hot air and letting in cold air. They actively suck hot air out of a room.
Put a stop to this by using a chimney balloon or chimney sheep draught excluder. Just remember to remove it every time you light a fire!
Here is a video that shows you how to make a DIY chimney balloon.
16. USE AN ELECTRIC BLANKET
Using an electric blanket to ensure your bed is warm and inviting before you get into it, and warm enough to sleep comfortably in is a great way to save money.
UK Energy company Octopus analysed people who use electric blankets and found that they saved between 10-20% on their bills during the winter months.
There are electric blankets that you can snuggle under and use around the house, not just on your bed. Also, they tend to have shorter time settings.
Alternatively, there are electric blankets that are like mattress toppers that you can set to warm up your bed and keep you warm all through the night. These tend to have running times of up to eight hours.
There are a few things you can do to make sure you are using your electric blanket in the most energy-efficient way:
- Always start with your electric blanket on the lowest heat setting. Only adjust upwards if you need the extra warmth. This is much more effective than blasting out heat and then trying to cool your bed down.
- Use the timer to set an under blanket to switch on at low heat in plenty of time to warm up your bed. This is more cost-effective than switching it on a high setting a few minutes before bed.
- Roll your electric blanket when you want to store it away, as this is the best way to ensure you don’t damage the heating wires.
17. LOWER THE TEMPERATURE IN YOUR BEDROOM
Did you know that the optimal temperature for a good night’s sleep is around 18 degrees Celsius?
So rather than worry about making sure your bedroom is nice and toasty before you get into bed, you should make sure the bedroom is just warm enough. This will also help you save money.
- Related: 40 Money hacks that could save you thousands
- Related: How to slash your grocery bill
LIGHT AND ELECTRONICS SAVERS
18. SWITCH TO LED LIGHT BULBS
LED light bulbs are up to 90% more energy efficient than halogen bulbs. Halogen bulbs are so inefficient that the UK and US governments are banning their sale.
If you still have a bunch of halogen bulbs in your home, it is well worth switching them to LED bulbs instead. It really will pay you to do so.
19. TURN THE LIGHTS OFF!
Like shutting doors, turning the lights off when you’re not in a room is one of those eternal family bug-bears.
Some of us are great at it, and many are not.
If you are surrounded by family who constantly leave the lights on (or if you are also guilty), you need to drum home that switching lights off as you leave a room is essential to keeping energy bills down.
It is also worth using natural daylight whenever possible rather than switching lights on.
20. SWITCH OFF STANDBY
While standby mode will save money over leaving electronic appliances on full, it will still cost you more than simply switching everything off.
Yes, that’s right. Electronics plugged in and not being used still use a small amount of energy simply because they are still connected. Think TVs, Playstations, Apple TVs, and computers.
Most electronic devices can be turned off at the plug socket without altering their programming. It is always worth reading the instruction manual to be sure.
It is worth buying a SMART plug strip if you want to speed up the process, particularly for entertainment equipment.
We have the Kasa Smart Wifi Power Strip, which has three plug sockets. We turn the strip off at the end of each day.
We don’t even switch it off ourselves; we have it connected to our Alexa, which switches it off for us.
We also turn the strip off when we’re away from home.
21. UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH YOUR APPLIANCES COST TO RUN
The UK Citizens Advice website has a calculator you can use to see how much different electronic devices cost to run. You can also use it to compare costs.
Knowing how much things cost to run will help you make better decisions on what to use and how long for.
It is also helpful information to share with family members to encourage them to be more energy efficient and conscious of how much things cost to run.
KITCHEN ENERGY SAVERS
22. USE YOUR KETTLE WISELY
If you have a kettle, it will likely be one of the most used appliances in your kitchen. But, unfortunately, it is also likely one of the most misused appliances.
Save money by only ever filling the kettle with as much water as you need to heat. This will save you money on both electricity and water.
23. KEEP YOUR OVEN CLOSED – UNTIL YOU’VE FINISHED COOKING
The more you open your oven to check progress, the more heat it loses. So, check through the oven door window rather than opening the door.
However, leave the oven door open once you’ve finished cooking. This is a great way to use the heat to bring added warmth to your kitchen on a cold winter’s day.
24. SWITCH TO AN AIR FRYER OR SLOW COOKER
I bought an air fryer in the autumn (The Instant Pot Vortex Plus), and I have lost count of the times I’ve used it. It is the best kitchen gadget I have ever bought.
Air fryers are smaller to heat and run than conventional ovens, so they are a great way of saving money. Just think of the number of times you heat your oven to cook a single dish.
One of my favourite recipes is for air fryer boneless chicken thighs; it’s a super quick weekday dinner staple.
I strongly advocate using an air fryer instead of an oven wherever possible. However, if you are going to use your oven, always try to cook multiple items at the same time.
Or consider batch cooking and freezing down part of the batch to use another time. This is also a great way to cut down on the time you spend cooking.
26. BE MINDFUL OF POTS AND PANS SIZES
Always use the right size pot or pan on your hob. It is also worth using lids so that the food cooks more quickly.
27. USE YOUR DISHWASHER WISELY
I have lost count of the number of times I have tried to convince an elderly relative of the time and money-saving benefits of having a dishwasher.
Dishwashers are far more energy efficient than washing dishes by hand. As a result, they will save you money on water and heating that water.
As a bonus, there are things you can do to make sure your dishwasher is as economical as possible.
Firstly, stop rinsing dishes before you put them into the dishwasher. It is both a waste of time and money.
Only run the dishwasher once it is full. This way, you will reduce the amount of water you use each week.
See if your dishwasher has a setting that allows you to opt out of heat-drying dishes. If you can do this, open the dishwasher door slightly at the end of a wash cycle and let the air dry the dishes.
Always use the eco-setting on the dishwasher. This means it will take longer for the dishes to be washed, but it is the most cost-effective setting.
28. CLEAN YOUR FRIDGE AND FREEZER COILS
You must keep your fridge and freezer condenser coils clean if you want them to be as energy efficient as possible.
Dusty and dirty coils will cause the appliance’s internal temperature to rise, which means it will have to use more energy to cool down.
Most condenser coils are on the back or underneath appliances, so it is worth investing in a cheap little coil cleaning brush to get to them. Try this one for size.
29. KEEP YOUR FREEZER FULL
Filling your freezer to maximum capacity is an effective way of insulating it. This means it will take less energy to keep everything inside frozen.
What’s not to love?! You always have healthy food to hand and save money simultaneously.
WAYS TO SAVE ON LAUNDRY ENERGY COSTS
30. WEAR YOUR CLOTHES MORE BEFORE YOU WASH THEM
Except for underwear and clothes for babies, toddlers and small children, I can guarantee that you can wear all your clothes more times before putting them out for the wash.
I have been applying this logic for the last year, which has helped my family cut down the weekly laundry washes we do.
31. WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE A FULL LOAD
Tempting as it might be to keep the laundry basket empty, always wait until you have a full load before you put your washing machine on.
This will also save you time and energy, as you will spend less time loading, unloading, drying and folding.
32. GO LOW OR GO COLD WHEN YOU WASH
Did you know that about 90% of your washing machine’s energy is used to heat the water?
Hotter water used to mean cleaner clothes. But luckily, today’s washing detergents are capable of getting clothes clean even in cold water.
So start using cold water settings when you wash your laundry. Your machine will either have specific cold water cycles or allow you to choose from a range of temperatures for a cycle.
You will need to take extra care to keep your washing machine clean and free from grease and dirt build-up.
Always choose the eco-cycle options; they will take longer but are the most cost-effective washing cycles.
33. GO FOR AN EXTRA SPIN CYCLE
Give your laundry an extra spin in the washing machine before drying it. This is particularly good to do if you use a tumble dryer.
It costs much less energy to spin water out of laundry than to dry laundry in a tumble dryer.
34. TRY TO AVOID THE TUMBLE DRYER
The tumble dryer is one of the most costly to run household appliances, if not the most costly. So avoid using it whenever possible.
As mentioned above, an extra spin cycle can work wonders to start getting the laundry dry.
Did you know that you can dry laundry outside in the winter? There isn’t a minimum temperature needed to dry laundry on a washing line. You need to have a dry day without too much moisture in the air.
If you do need to dry laundry inside, consider using a dehumidifier. It is much cheaper to dry laundry in a room with a dehumidifier than to run it through the tumble dryer.
The dehumidifier will also ensure that you don’t end up with moisture build-up in your home whilst drying laundry.
Alternatively, you could invest in a heated laundry airer, which would still be cheaper than the tumble dryer. However, you won’t have the benefit of keeping the humidity down.
35. KEEP YOUR TUMBLE DRYER CLEAN
If you have to use your tumble dryer, make sure you keep the vent clean and the machine free from lint build-up. This will help ensure that there is proper airflow around the machine and therefore improve efficiency.
36. DECREASE THE CREASES IN YOUR LAUNDRY
The less creased your clean laundry is, the less you will need to iron it. If you are smart, you can avoid ironing it altogether.
Fish laundry out of the washing machine or tumble dryer as soon as the load finishes to avoid it getting crumpled.
Hang laundry well on the washing line or use hangers to hang the clothing to dry in the house to avoid creases.
The less ironing you have to do more you will save on energy. Not to mention your own time!
37. SHOWER RATHER THAN BATH
Gone are the days when a bath was a luxury based on having the time to have a bath. Now having a bath is a luxury full stop.
The sad truth is that it is much cheaper to shower than to have a bath, especially if you abide by the next energy-saving tip.
38. HAVE FOUR-MINUTE SHOWERS
I’m not a fan of this energy-saving tip because I love taking long showers. However, I have to include it because it is a great way to save energy and money!
Cutting the time you are in the shower down to four minutes will save you a LOT of money each year.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, keeping showers to just four minutes will save a typical UK household (based on an average of 2.39 people per household) around £95 per year on energy and a further £60 on water.
39. INSTALL A WATER-EFFICIENT SHOWERHEAD
Water-efficient showerheads mix hot water with air to make a shower feel more powerful without using as much water as a regular shower.
40. SWITCH THE TAP OFF
Don’t leave the tap running whilst you wash your face or shave or clean your teeth. It will save you a lot of water.
41. WASH YOUR HANDS IN COLD WATER
Did you know it is just as hygienic to wash your hands in cold water as in hot water?
Given that heating water for use in the home makes up, on average, around 12% of a typical gas-heated household’s energy bill in the UK, it is well worth switching to using cold water to wash your hands.
The same could be said for washing your face, but I wonder if this is the most palatable energy-saving tip?!
42. MAKE SURE YOUR BATHROOM IS WELL VENTILATED
It is essential to make sure that your bathroom is well-ventilated. Moist air is harder to heat than dry air. Hence, a damp bathroom is less energy efficient than a well-ventilated bathroom.
If you don’t have an extractor fan, you should always open a window – even in the middle of winter – to allow the moisture in the air to clear.
Another great way to ensure that you keep moisture to a minimum is to use a window vacuum.
We bought a Karcher vacuum for our sash windows a few years ago. We now use the Karcher to vacuum the windows and shower panels in our bathrooms in the winter months.
NOW IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO START MAKING THOSE CHANGES!
42 Simple but effective things you can start implementing today to save money on energy bills.
Luci is the founder of Mums Make Lists. She has written about all aspects of organising family life for ten years. Her main areas of expertise are family finance and budgeting, simplifying housekeeping and family admin and kids’ party planning. Read more.