How to save money on energy bills 

Energy costs make up a substantial portion of monthly bills, but with changes to your home and daily routine you could expect to save hundreds of pounds a year.

To try to help you save money on your gas and electricity bills, we’ve gathered 30 top tips for cutting back on your energy usage – ranging from free and simple tricks to larger investments that will help you make greater savings in the long run.
 
Man turning off a light switch

30 energy-saving tips for the home

Relaxing with feet on the radiator

Heating and hot water

  1. If you have a system boiler – the type that heats up water in advance for your bath or the washing-up – there’s probably a large part of the day when you don’t need to use it. Put your hot water on a timer set to come on before you get up or get home. Give it around 20 minutes to heat up if it’s a newer boiler, or 40 minutes if it’s older, then you’re good to go, safe in the knowledge you’re saving energy and pennies.
  2. Even the smallest tweaks to your settings can make a difference to the amount of energy you’re using. Check the thermostat on your boiler, see what the temperature settings are for hot water and think about turning it down just a couple of degrees.
  3. Turn down your general thermostat settings too: 21°C should be plenty. You may be used to having your house much warmer than this, so if your thermostat’s set at 24 or 25°C, turn it down by one degree at a time over a few weeks. And just remember: every degree that you turn it down could save you around £80 to £85 a year on your heating bill. (Source: Energy Saving Trust, March 2017).
  4. Switch off radiators in the rooms you’re not using regularly and keep internal doors shut. Otherwise, draughts and poorly insulated windows will mean you’re burning energy unnecessarily.
  5. Make sure your radiators aren’t blocked by curtains or furniture – it’s good to make the best of the heat you’re paying for.
  6. Also, if the sun warms some rooms but not others, leave internal doors open to let the warm air circulate throughout your home.
  7. Reduce heating bills with an air or ground source heat pump – these systems pump heat from the outside air (even when the temperature is as low as -15°C) into your home. They use less energy than fuel, oil and electric systems, making them cheaper and better for the environment – and they’ll last for ages, too because they’re so durable. Make sure to research your options, as you may qualify for incentive payments. (Source: https://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/renewable-energy/heat/ground-source-heat-pumps)
  8. Saving water

    Shower head

  9. How about replacing a soak in the tub with a shower once a week? You’ll be surprised how much energy you could save this way.
  10. That said, power showers can sometimes use even more water than taking a bath. If you have one, just turn down the pressure and you can enjoy a refreshing shower without using so much energy.
  11. Check your washing machine’s settings to see if there’s a ‘half load’ option for small amounts of clothes. With many washing powders, you can usually choose a lower temperature on your washing machine too – check the packaging to find out.
  12. Lighting

  13. Try to get into the habit of turning lights off when you leave a room. A family could save between £50 and £90 a year just by remembering to flick a switch, if they don't already do this. (Source: Energy Saving Trust, October 2013).
  14. Insulation

  15. Thermal or heavy curtains help save energy during the winter, as do letter box and key hole covers, keeping the cold chills out and the warm air in. Make sure to close them at night as well – this will prevent warm air escaping from the windows, helping keep your house warmer for longer.
  16. Treat your boiler to a new insulation jacket – it’ll keep your water hotter for longer and that will reduce your energy bills. If you already have a hot water tank jacket, check it’s the recommended thickness of 75mm. If not, a new one is easy to fit yourself – the materials will only cost you about £25 and you could save you upwards of £100-£150 a year (Source: https://www.thegreenage.co.uk/insulating-hot-water-tank-jacket/)
  17. Feel a chill from draughts around your windows and doors? Draught excluders are great for keeping out the small breezes that sneak in around your windows and doors.
  18. Don't pay to heat the sky. Reduce heat loss with loft insulation and save up to £240 a year on your energy bills (source: Energy Saving Trust, December 2016). Insulating your loft is a job that can be done in around two hours and involves rolling insulation material between and on top of the ceiling joists. The ideal thickness of this insulation should be around 270mm. Don’t forget that a well-insulated loft will keep your home nice and warm, but the loft space above will be colder, so it’s important to insulate any water pipes and water tanks in the roof space to protect them against frost in winter. You may qualify for free loft insulation – even if you’re not an npower customer.
  19. Was your property built after the 1930s? You could save up to £155 a year on your energy bills with cavity wall insulation (source: Energy Saving Trust, March 2017). A cavity wall has a gap between an inner (usually concrete) and outer (usually brick) wall. Filling that gap with insulating material can be very effective in reducing heat loss from your home and cutting the cost of your energy bills. You may qualify for free cavity wall insulation – even if you’re not an npower customer.
  20. Owners of solid brick properties, built pre-1930s, could reduce annual heating bills by up to £455 with external wall insulation, according to the Energy Saving Trust (March 2017). External wall insulation helps to make a property warmer, more weather-tight and a wide choice of colours and textures can make the outside of your home look more attractive too.
  21. Electrical goods

  22. When you leave mobile phones, laptops and tablets on charge even when the battery level is 100%, they could still be using energy. Switching them off and unplugging them once they’re fully charged is a great way to be more energy efficient. And remember – if your charger has an LED to show it’s in use, it’s still using energy until you switch it off at the wall.
  23. In the kitchen

    Older lady filling a kettle with water

  24. Batch cooking meals is a great way to save money on ingredients and help you resist the urge for expensive takeaways, but you may not have considered how it can save energy too. By cooking a few meals at a time in your oven, you’ll just need to heat it up once rather than multiple times. So why not make the most of all the space and fill each shelf, maximising the energy you’re using to cook?
  25. If you can help it, try not to keep opening the oven as you’re cooking. This can lower the temperature and you’ll waste energy bringing the heat back up.
  26. Turn off your oven a few minutes before your meal is finished cooking – the residual heat will keep things bubbling until your food is ready. Always check that your food is cooked before serving.
  27. If it’s safe to do so, once you’re finished cooking, leave the oven door open as it cools. This will help keep your kitchen warm – a great way to save on heating bills in winter.
  28. If you need to boil anything it’s best to use a kettle rather than heating on the hob as it will turn itself off automatically when the water’s ready. Make sure to only fill it with the water you need, so you’re not wasting energy heating up water you won’t use.
  29. Ensure your pans fully cover the ring on your hob, so you can make the most of the heat it provides. Also, make sure you use the right sized ring for your pan – don’t waste energy by heating a large pan on a small ring as it will take much longer than necessary.
  30. Tools and gadgets

  31. Smart meters can help you track how much power you’re using in pounds and pence. They can be a great way to help educate your family on energy-saving habits, keeping your bills down. Find out more about Smart meters.
  32. You could even invest in a smart thermostat – you can control these from your phone, meaning you can turn your heating on when you need it, even if you’re on your way home.
  33. A new, energy-efficient light bulb, such as an LED (light-emitting diode) or a CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulb, uses much less electricity than the old-fashioned kind. When you swap your old bulbs for new, energy-efficient versions, you could be saving up to £70 each time over the lifetime of the bulb. (Source: Energy Saving Trust, March 2017).
  34. Fitting solar panels on your home could earn you money on the electricity you produce and export, will lower your carbon footprint by generating clean, green energy and could help you save money on your annual electricity bills. They allow you to invest in the future and become less reliant on the National Grid and could help you save money.
  35. Home appliances

    Man loading a dishwasher

  36. Do you use a dishwasher? When used efficiently, dishwashers have been proven to use less energy than repeatedly heating water to wash up. Only start it when it’s fully loaded and don’t pre-rinse your dishes in the sink unless absolutely necessary – just scrape off leftovers and put the plates straight in the dishwasher.
  37. Think carefully before putting wet clothes in the tumble dryer – if it’s warm or windy, consider air-drying outside instead. If you do need to use the dryer, make sure to fit the maximum load in every time and keep the lint filter clean – if it’s blocked, the hot air won’t be able to circulate as freely and clothes can take longer to dry.