With warm weather on the horizon, now is the time to embark on a blitz around the home.
By following our eight-step guide, you could slash electricity and gas costs by at least £500 a year.
Stay liquid: A shower uses 13 gallons of water, while a bath is as much as 18
TURN DOWN THE THERMOSTAT…NOW
The average annual energy bill for a three-bedroom home is just over £1,100, more than half of which is spent on heating.
A comfortable room temperature is 20ºC, but if you are not yet prepared to switch off the heating, at least turn the thermostat down a notch or two. According to the charity Energy Saving Trust, turning down a thermostat by just one degree can knock ten per cent off your annual bill, saving £110 a year on the cost of an average bill.
SWITCH OFF THE CENTRAL HEATING
At this time of year, it is hard to know whether to keep the heating on – or turn it off.
Most err on the side of caution and have it on longer than required. But turning it off when not required instantly saves you at least £100 a year in energy costs. There is rarely any need for central heating in summer and you can use the immersion heater – with caution – for any hot water needs you have.
MANAGE THE IMMERSION HEATER
An immersion heater is one of the most power-hungry devices in the home, but all too often it is left on continuously – burning a hole in your finances.
During the cold winter months this heater can be a godsend when you need extra hot water.
But forgetting to turn if off when not needed is a costly mistake. Most homes have a 3kWh immersion heater and keeping it on for an hour can cost more than 40p.
Using it properly can save money. Smart use of it can knock as much as £100 off annual bills.
A 500-watt plasma TV left on for the day could fritter away almost £2
TAKE A QUICK SUMMER SHOWER
Taking a shower is a better way to cool down in summer rather than wallowing in a hot bath – and will also save you money. The amount of water used in a shower is 13 gallons compared to 18 in the bath.
You can buy a special showerhead for £20 that pushes out air as well as water that feels just as good – but uses less heating.
We each spend an average of seven minutes in the shower four times a week. But if you knock 60 seconds off this, a family of four will save £60 on an annual energy bills.
TURN OFF ELECTRICS WHEN NOT IN USE
Household energy consumption is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh) – the equivalent of running a 1,000-watt appliance for an hour. A 100-watt light left on for ten hours would be the same as 1KWh. The average cost of electricity per kilowatt hour is 14p while for gas it is 4p. Although it might not sound like a lot of money, when running a lot of appliances at home, energy usage soon adds up.
Energy-greedy appliances include ovens, dishwashers and irons – while a 500-watt plasma TV left on for the day could fritter away almost £2.
Set-top boxes used to find additional channels for TV viewing, such as those offered by Sky and Virgin Media, are often left on even when nothing is being watched and use up a further £25 of energy a year.
SWITCH OFF STANDBY MODE FOR GADGETS
Electricals left on standby use energy. European laws introduced in 2013 mean new devices should only eat half a watt every hour on standby, but older equipment – such as a ten-year-old television – can consume 12 watts an hour.
It takes 83 hours to burn 1kWh and in a year, this old TV could cost £15 without it being watched. A hi-fi – with amps and CD player – might use the same amount of energy on standby.
Take a look around the home and you may be alarmed at the number of appliances on standby: computers, phone chargers, washing machines, dishwashers and microwaves.
While they may cost just a few pence every week, together they can add £35 a year to bills, so switch them off at the mains.
Hanging out clothes to dry rather than shoving them into a tumble drier will save you money
HANG OUT YOUR CLOTHES TO DRY
When the weather is fine there is no excuse – provided you have the outside space – for not hanging out clothes to dry rather than shoving them into an energy-guzzling tumble drier.
A 2.5kWh tumble drier left on for an hour might add 35p to an energy bill. The Energy Saving Trust believes the weather is good enough over half the year to put clothes out to dry, saving £30 a year.
CHANGE OLD LIGHTS WHEN THEY BLOW
A single old-fashioned 100-watt light bulb can burn 14p of electricity left on for ten hours. But since a European Union ban was introduced in 2009, these old bulbs have become increasingly hard to get hold of – and are being replaced with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps that use 90 per cent less electricity.
They are expensive at £5 each, but soon pay for themselves. Replacing bulbs with LED alternatives saves £2 a year per bulb, according to the Energy Saving Trust. The average home has 15 lights so after replacing old bulbs the savings could be £30.