Energy experts share ‘significant’ methods of reducing utility bills

Colletta Smith demonstrates how you can save energy at home

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How to minimise heating costs this winter has become a hot topic of conversation with long-term uncertainty over the energy price cap, while the cost-of-living crisis is impacting all areas daily life from the mortgage to the shopping bill. Making your home more energy efficient is one way of reducing the impact on your finances. Leading energy experts from MyJobQuote, one of the UKs leading home solutions websites, have shared nine top tips on ways to save energy – and money – this winter. From shorter showers to using a microwave over a conventional oven, the experts have solutions to potentially save consumers hundreds of pounds.

1. Be conscious of cleaning your clothes

When cleaning your clothes, it’s best to try to do fewer washes by filling up the washer every time. The experts said: ‘Avoid washing just a couple of bits you need for a night out. 

“Although the savings aren’t huge compared to some of the other tips listed, it all adds up. Modern machines could save around £25-£30 per year. This number can be higher for older washing machines.”

It’s also better to wash the majority of clothing on a colder setting. The energy pros said: “If you choose to wash your clothes at 30 degrees, this could save you around £70 to £90 per year.”

2. Avoid the tumble dryer 

Tumble dryers use a shocking amount of energy, they can cost upwards of £300 a year to run based on usage twice a week. 

The experts urged: “If you can avoid using the tumble dryer as much as possible, this can result in some significant energy savings. If you choose never to use a tumble dryer, you could save around £150 to £200 per year on your energy bills.”

Instead, they advised homeowners to dry their clothes on a washing line or on a clothes airer. For those who do use a clothes airer, be sure to leave a window open as it can cause dampness in some properties where there is poor ventilation. 

3. Don’t leave things on standby

Switching your devices off completely is much better than leaving them on standby. When devices are left on standby, this means that you’re using energy for something that you’re not even using. However, this isn’t as much of a problem as it used to be. 

The energy gurus said: “You can save roughly £40 to £60 annually by avoiding leaving your devices on standby. Since 2013, the law has stated that devices on standby can’t use more than 0.5 watts. If you have older appliances, you may find that they use a lot more energy when left in standby mode.”

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4. Turn down the thermostat

The experts noted that turning down the thermostat is one of the “easiest ways to reduce your energy usage”. They said: “Every degree you reduce your thermostat by will cut your energy bills by around four percent for a typical home.”

According to the World Health Organisation, 18 degrees is sufficient for healthy adults. These temperatures need to be slightly higher for very old people or children. If possible, consider making use of blankets or a thick jumper and turn the thermostat down. The experts added: “This could result in some considerable savings over the year. It’s also recommended that you only turn your heating on as and when you need it. This means that you should avoid keeping your heating running throughout the entire day.”

5. Use thermostats for the radiators

Homeowners don’t need to heat the whole house if they’re just spending time in one room. The energy pros said: “Thermostatic radiator valves are great because they allow you to set individual temperatures for each of the radiators in your home. 

“When the temperature rises above the valve setting, the water will stop flowing through to that particular radiator. Your boiler will still be on to heat your other rooms. However, it will use a lot less energy. 

“Making use of thermostatic radiator valves along with your main thermostat can help you save around five to six percent of your energy usage.” This does require an initial investment. However, the savings over the years means Britons will quickly get a good return on the initial outlay. 

6. Bleed radiators

It’s a good idea to bleed radiators regularly as this can prevent any air from being trapped inside them. The experts warned: “Trapped air can result in cold spots on the radiators, and this can result in the system being much less efficient. You’ll need to use more energy to get sufficient heat out of the radiators. 

“If your radiators are taking more time to heat up than they should, if you hear gurgling sounds in the radiator, or if you can feel any cold patches, this is a sign that you should bleed your radiators.”

Bleeding radiators is quite a simple process. However, homeowners must ensure they know what they’re doing beforehand. If they feel unsure, they should contact a professional to complete it.

7. Prevent draughts

When considering ways to reduce energy costs, it would be smart to walk around the home and feel around the windows and doors for any draughts. Think about using draught excluders in the rooms that are commonly being used.

The experts said: “Good draught-proofing can help to cut your energy bills by around two percent. This also applies to your chimney, where you can get a further one to two percent reduction. Although draught-proofing involves an initial investment, you will quickly make this money back with the savings.”

8. Use the microwave over the oven 

According to the energy pros, an oven uses much more energy than a microwave. They said: “This is because a microwave only heats the food, whereas an oven will also heat the air around the food. With this in mind, if you can make use of your microwave instead of the oven, this can help you save some energy. 

“An example would be if you were cooking a baked potato – it would use around 25 percent less energy to cook a baked potato in the microwave than it would in the oven, so it’s clear to see how you can make some significant savings this way.”

9. Reduce shower times

Cutting your shower times by just one minute can help save hundreds on energy bills. Plus, homeowners could also “save over £100 each year on your water bills” for those who have a water meter, says the experts.

They advised: “Consider purchasing a shower timer or setting the alarm on your phone. This can help you stay aware of your shower times. Some people even choose to turn the water off while they lather up and then turn it back on just for rinsing. This may sound quite extreme. However, it all adds up.”

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