Top 10 energy saving tips

Top 10 energy saving tips

There are hundreds of ways of saving energy at home. Our top 10 energy saving tips list the most effective in terms of cost and return on investment, focusing on things which don’t require spending money.

The BBC published a list of top 5 tips to save energy at home and help the planet, but the advice includes big ticket items like replacing your boiler and installing heat pumps, which are too costly for some people and not an option for people in rented accommodation. So our list of energy saving tips focuses on the easy wins, which anyone can follow to save energy at home this winter.

Britain’s buildings create a fifth of the country’s carbon emissions, so we urgently need to reduce our energy consumption to help us all save money and to meet the 2050 net zero emissions target.

Top 10 energy saving tips to save money

(Estimated savings are based on an average English 3 bed home with a gas heating and a gas price of 10.3p/kWh and electricity at 34p/kWh, as per the Oct 2022 price guarantee)

  1. Get a smart meter or energy monitor – estimated saving: £180/year
  2. Draught-proof your entire home – estimated saving: £125/year
  3. Tweak your boiler settings – estimated saving: £120/year
  4. Turn the thermostat down – estimated saving: £100/year
  5. Install radiator thermostats – estimated saving: £90/year
  6. Swap baths for shorter showers – estimated saving: £95/year
  7. Ditch the tumble dryer – estimated saving: £70/year
  8. Wave bye-bye to standby – estimated saving: £65/year
  9. Cut down on kitchen costs – estimated saving: £50/year
  10. Turn off lights you don’t need – estimated saving: £25/year

1. Get a smart meter or energy monitor – estimated energy saving: £180/year

As the saying goes “You can’t improve what you don’t measure” so, if you want to reduce your energy consumption the first thing you need to do is measure how much energy you’re consuming. The cheapest way to get an energy monitor is to register for a smart meter, which will provide you with many benefits including no more estimated bills, and an energy monitor for free. Apply for a smart meter.

If you have a smart meter but don’t have an In Home Display you can order a smart meter in home display replacement.

If you can’t get, or don’t want a smart meter, buy a home energy monitor like the OWL+ energy monitor and start tracking what you use and what you spend so you’re more informed and can start to determine which activities are costing you the most. The Energy Saving Trust report that energy use drops by between 5 and 15% in the first year of using an energy monitor, which makes this the most cost effective action you can take to save energy.

energy saving smart meter

2. Draught-proof your entire home – estimated energy saving: £125/year

Heating your home but letting the warm escape makes no sense whatsoever, so one of most obvious way of saving energy is to draught-proof all doors and windows – and anywhere else where heat might be escaping.

Hold a lit candle or a lighter up close to the edges of your doors and windows to test for leaks, being careful not to burn anything. If the flame gets blown about you know there’s a leak. Anywhere you can see daylight getting in means that precious warm air is escaping. Work your way around every edge of every external door and all your windows checking for leaks and make a note of the lengths of the gaps you need to seal.

Buy foam draft proofing tape for windows and the edges of doors. The thick squashy version is by far the best as it expands after it has been squashed (like a memory foam mattress) so will block gaps of varying widths. Expanding foam draft proofing tape like this is essential for older windows where the gaps are uneven.

If you have an open fireplace with a chimney, find a way to block the chimney when it is not in use.

Use brush strips or wiper strips for the bottoms of doors. If you have windows which don’t open but are letting air escape, fill the gaps with sealant. When you’ve completely sealed all your doors and windows work you way around each room looking for other places heat might be escaping: gaps between floorboards, around skirting boards, loft hatches, where pipework enters the ceiling or floor are all likely to cause leaks. Fit a brush or flap to the inside of your letter box and install a key hole cover. Visit the Energy Saving Trust’s page on draught proofing for more ideas and instructions.

energy saving draught proofing

3. Tweak your boiler settings – estimated energy saving: £120/year

There are several cost-free easy wins to make your boiler more efficient:

  • Bleed you radiators, so that the boiler can do its job more efficiently – here’s how to bleed radiators.
  • Turn down the hot water temperature. Octopus Energy says a temperature of about 55 degrees should be enough. There should be a dial on the front of your boiler – usually indicated by a little tap icon.
  • Reduce the flow temperature – this is the temperature of the water that circulates through your radiators. There should be a separate dial for this on the front of your boiler – usually indicated by a radiator symbol.
  • Check your boiler pressure – If it’s too slow, your boiler will not be operating at its most efficient. Generally, a pressure between 1.0 and 2.0 bar is ideal. Newer boilers will have a pressure gauge on the front and usually have instructions to increase the pressure on the back of the boiler cover. On older boilers, it may be harder to find. Check your boiler manual if you can’t find it. See how to increase your boiler pressure.
energy saving boiler settings

4. Turn the thermostat down – estimated energy saving: £100/year

For each degree you turn your thermostat down you can expect to save about £100 /year in a typical 3 bed home. The Affordable Warmth standards recommended that living room temperatures should not fall below 21°C (70°F) and other occupied rooms should be heated to 18°C (65°F) but a lot of UK homes have the thermostat set above 18°C.

Your home’s temperature can be a contentious issue but if your home is at 18°C or above you’re certainly not going to be cold, especially with a jumper on. People also argue that it might be better to leave the heating on low all day, rather than just turning it on when you need it, but The Energy Saving Trust is adamant you should only have your heating on when required. We reviewed some of the best smart thermostats, but you don’t need one to save money by turning your thermostat down.

energy saving adjust thermostat

5. Install radiator thermostats – estimated energy saving: £90/year

Now we’re working at home more we don’t always need to heat the whole house but can concentrate heating on one or two rooms, which is much more efficient. Thermostatic radiator valves are an extra control which you can use to set the temperature of each individual room. When the temperature in a room rises above the setting on the radiator valve, it will stop water flowing through the radiator so your boiler does not need to work so hard. This does require a bit of investment, but even if you’re in rented accommodation you could take the radiator valves with you when you leave! Radiator thermostats come in at several different price points but even the simplest Drayton valves at just £25 will save you more than they cost sin a year. At the other end of the price range the tado° Smart Radiator Thermostat works superbly.

radiator thermostat

6. Swap baths for shorter showers – estimated energy saving: £95/year

This one is pretty obvious, because heating water is an expensive business. Swapping just one bath a week with a 4-minute shower could save you £20 a year. If you already take showers instead of baths then keeping your shower time to just 4 minutes could save a typical 3-bed household £95 a year. Consider getting a shower timer to keep track of how long the water has been running.

shower timer

7. Ditch the tumble dryer – estimated energy saving: £70/year

Tumble dryers burn huge amounts of energy for what is essentially a completely avoidable activity. With a little planning you should be able to avoid using a tumble dryer completely by washing clothes in advance of when they’re needed and drying things outside to dry or on racks inside if outside is not an option. Hanging wet clothes on radiators is not a good plan as it causes you boiler to work harder, which means it will consume more fuel. Position your clothes racks near the radiator instead, or use a radiator mounted drying rack.

drying rack

8. Wave bye-bye to standby – estimated saving: £65/year

We’ve written about switching off standby to save money before, and the dubious claims this could save you £147/year. But with energy bills going up the amount you can save from turning appliances off at the socket is increasing. We estimate an average 3 bed house with a usual amount of appliances could save about £65/year by avoiding standby mode on all appliances. Almost every gadget can be turned off at the plug without upsetting their programming, although some TV recorders may need to be left plugged in to keep track of programs you want to record.

The best way to wave bye-bye to standby is using smart plugs which allows you to turn off multiple appliances at the same time. If you use a smart phone or smart speaker you can easily set up ‘scenes’ so that whenever you leave the house, or go to bed you can say “goodbye” and “good night” to turn off all the devices in your home with your voice. Check out our guide to the best smart plugs.

best smart plug 2022

9. Cut down on kitchen costs – estimated saving: £50/year

Kitchen appliances use a lot of energy, especially the power hungry devices such as the oven and kettle. Boiling only as much water as you need instead of a full kettle can save around £15/year. if your kettle needs replacing consider one which only heats one mug of water, such as the Breville HotCup.

Electric ovens consume 1,000-3,000 Watts but a slow cooker, such as the Morphy Richards Easy Time, only uses 165W. So even if it needs to stay on for six or seven hours to cook a stew, it will use much less energy than keeping the oven on for a few hours.

Microwave ovens are even more cost-efficient. Five minutes cooking in an 800W microwave oven costs just 3.17p, based on the October price cap compared to 23.8p for half an hour in a 1,000W oven.

Other obvious changes can also add up to big savings over the course of the year, like running the dishwasher less, opening the freezer and oven door less and for shorter periods and even defrosting your freezer can save you money because it will not need to work so hard.

energy saving kettle

10. Turn off lights you don’t need – estimated saving: £25/year

This is the old classic – and every energy savers’ easy win. Even kids can develop the habit of turning off unused lights. If you’re able to invest a little LED lights uses about half the energy of traditional energy-saving bulbs so you will recoup your investment pretty quickly and definitely see money in the long run.

Lepro LED bayonet bulbs are one of the best choices to replace standard 60W bayonet style bulbs, or choose EDISHINE dimmable bayonet bulbs if you want to be able to dim the lights. Philips LED CLA 50W GU10 LED bulbs are some of the best bulbs to replace old recessed halogen bulbs.

turn off lights

We hope these energy saving tips help you reduce your energy consumption. If you have other tips about how to save energy at home please add them below and will update the guide accordingly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *