Tips and Guidelines: Stay warm during the energy crisis and save money
The winter season can be a challenging time for many households due to the rising cost of energy bills. As the temperature drops, so does the amount of money available for energy, leaving many families struggling to stay warm and keep costs down. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce energy costs and stay warm during an energy crisis.
Brandon Hire Station, a tool hire company, shares a few actionable tips for consumers to DIY independently, to ensure their house is efficient and can better conserve heat over the winter season.
1. Use of a smart meter
It’s important to understand how much energy you use in your home. Invest in a smart meter to track your energy usage and get an accurate reading of how much energy you are using. This will help you identify areas where you can make changes to save energy and money. And did you know that most energy companies will offer to install one for free?
2. Lower your Boiler’s temperature
This is one of the top tips to save on energy bills. It could save you approximately about £100 a year. Lowering the hot water temperature saves about 8% of your heating energy. The best energy-saving way is to reduce the flow temperature from 80C to 60C or lower. You can action this at zero cost to you.
3. Ensure your home is well insulated
Insulation helps keep the cold air out in the winter and the hot air out in the summer. This helps keep your home at a comfortable temperature year-round and reduces the energy needed to keep it that way. Also, 25% of heat can be lost due to a poorly insulated attic. This is available in most DIY stores. However, there is an upfront cost to buying good quality insulation.
4. Lower the thermostat on radiators
The Centre for Sustainable Energy says reducing the temperature on your thermostat by one degree could save 10 per cent on your bills. Ofgem recommends reducing the temperature to 18-21 C, with an indoor temperature of 18C minimum. Ours is a steady 19C throughout winter.
5. Seal warm air leaks in your home
Gaps and cracks in windows and doors can lead to air leaks and make it more difficult to keep your home warm. Sealing these leaks can help reduce energy costs and keep your home warm.
If you leave in a period home, use curtains or blinds to help keep out the cold. Curtains and blinds can help block the cold air from entering your home and keep the warmth in. If you feel that heat is escaping through doors, consider using a door cushion to minimise leaks.
6. Turn down radiators when rooms aren’t in use
TVRs allow you to heat individual rooms, you can turn them down when the room is not in use and saves money. By turning down a radiator you could reduce the overall volume of hot water being used in the house, ultimately lowering your energy use.
Most radiators are fixed at the highest temperature by default so make sure to check around your home and turn the individual thermostats to a lower setting as you see fit. In our home, we lowered the radiators down in the guest room and office as well as in the living room as this room is south facing and is naturally warmer than other rooms.
7. Insulate the hot water tank
Insulating the hot water tank can reduce the amount of heat it loses. You can use a hot water cylinder jacket, which is available in most hardware stores and online. The Energy Saving Trust recommends the boiler’s jacket be 80mm thick.
A hot water cylinder jacket does not cost much and can easily be applied by you. Hot water tanks and pipes should be properly insulated to stop heat leakage.
8. Invest in energy efficient appliances
This includes anything from your refrigerator to your washer and dryer. Energy efficient appliances use less energy and are more cost effective. Investing in energy efficient appliances can help you save money on your monthly energy bills.
Of course, there is an upfront cost and it may take years before you can get back what you invested so go ahead and upgrade only when your existing appliances are at the end of their lifetime or are extremely energy inefficient.
9. Don't let appliances on standby
Most of the electrical appliances in your home such as laptops, televisions, computers, kitchen appliances, video game consoles, continuously use electricity unless unplugged. Turning these completely off or unplugged by the socket will prevent them from using up energy when they don't need to. Turning the devices to “energy-saving” mode can reduce the energy consumption.
10. Use clothing layers
Make sure to dress in layers during the winter. Wearing layers of clothing helps keep your body warm and reduce the need to turn up the thermostat.
11. Use a hot water bottle
If you are feeling a little bit under the weather it may be that you also feel chilly - instead of turning the heat on in the entire house, fill up a hot water bottle. It is guaranteed to make you so warm within minutes! You will want to turn the heating off after using one!
12. Use space heaters wisely
Space heaters can be an effective way to warm up a single room in your home, but they should not be used as a primary heating source. Space heaters can be expensive and should only be used when necessary.
13. Change old lights to energy-efficient bulbs
Energy-efficient light bulbs consume less energy and can help save costs. Lighting makes up 11 per cent of the average UK household electricity consumption. The LED bulbs save energy and help lower electricity bills and are environment friendly without compromising on the quality of light in our homes.
The amount of light LED emits is not linked to the energy usage, which means you can get the same amount of light in at a much lower energy cost.
You can also take advantage of natural sunlight. Open the curtains or blinds during the day to let in the sun’s warmth and close them at night to keep the heat in. Make sure you don't have lights on unnecessarily during the day, and in the evening walk around your home to switch off any unused lights.
14. Use the kettle smartly
If you keeping filling up the kettle all the way to the top when you only need enough hot water for a cup or two then stop. Kettles use a lot of energy (which is also why hot water taps are better comparatively) so only fill them for 1-2 cups worth to reduce the energy output.
15. Washing plates and clothes when energy is cheap
Find out when your rate allows for cheaper energy (in day or night) and set your dishwasher or washing machine to operate during that window of time.
16. Air dry clothes when possible
It is tempting to use the dryer of your washing machine but you may think twice if you realise how much energy is consumed this way. Get an air dryer and hang clothes overnight in a warm room like the kitchen.
You can lower your energy bills during this energy crisis and save money by actioning some of these tips into your own home. Whether there is an upfront cost (like moving to energy efficient lights) or not, there are plenty of things you can do to act now.