1. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs
Switching to energy-efficient bulbs is one way to save electricity. The traditional types – known as incandescent bulbs – only convert 10% of the energy used to power them into light. The rest is lost as heat3.
When your old bulbs wear out, if you’re able to replace them with LEDs then each year you could cut your carbon emissions by up to 40kg4 – and your bills by £305. LEDs have a lifespan of around 34 years, compared to just over one year for incandescent bulbs.
To find out more, check out our ultimate guide to energy-saving light bulbs, and find out how to choose the right ones for your home.
2. Switching off at the wall
According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average UK household spends £40 a year on appliances left on standby6. This is because, when you leave devices like TVs or stereos on standby, they still use power. Turning them off at the wall stops this happening.
3. Being more energy-efficient with fridges and freezers
Cleaning the coils of fridges – the coils at the back of your fridge get dirty over time. Wiping them clean can make a difference in boosting the energy-efficiency of your fridge.
Checking the temperature – the ideal temperature for your fridge is between 3˚and 5˚C, while for your freezer it’s minus 18˚C. Making sure they’re at the right temperature will make sure they use no more energy than they need to.
Don’t put hot food in – where it’s safe to, it’s best to let hot food cool before putting it in the fridge – otherwise it takes extra energy for the fridge to cool it down. It’s important to keep food covered and not to leave it out for long.
To learn more, check out our guide to energy-efficient fridges and freezers.
4. Being more efficient when cooking
If it takes less time to cook something then it also uses less energy too. Heating water in a kettle rather than on the hob helps speed up the process. And keeping the oven door closed as much as possible will mean less heat escapes, so that food cooks faster.
5. Washing clothes on a lower temperature
According to the Energy Saving Trust, washing clothes at 30C will save 40% of the energy that gets used when washing at higher temperatures. And a study by Which? found that if the whole of the UK washed at 30C, it would cut 858,000 tonnes of carbon being emitted each year.
6. Making the most of lighting
Cleaning lampshades and bulbs is a useful way to make sure they give off maximum light and aren’t dimmed by dirt and dust.
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7. Don’t overfill the kettle
From making a cup of tea to boiling water for a pan, only filling the kettle with the amount of water needed stops any energy being wasted. According to the Energy Saving Trust, this can save £8 a year7.
8. Buying energy-efficient appliances
Whenever you’re replacing appliances at home, buying an energy-efficient model will use less energy and save money on power. For more advice, see some of our guides:
- How to make your laundry more energy-efficient
- The ultimate guide to being efficient with heating and hot water
- The ultimate guide to energy-saving white goods
- Types of boilers explained
- A guide to energy-efficient fridges and freezers
9. Taking shorter showers
If your shower is electric or you have an electric boiler, they can use a fair bit of power – even just a minute less in the shower will cut the electricity used.
10. Microwaves are good for saving energy
A microwave can tackle some tasks just as well as the oven or the hob – and your microwave uses far less energy to do it. For instance, if you’re reheating soup, there’s no need to use the stove. It’s much more efficient to use the microwave – and it gets the job done quicker too.
11. Getting appliances serviced regularly
By getting your appliances serviced to make sure they’re working well, you’ll also know that they’ll be working efficiently – and not using any more power than needed to do their job. Here are other guides on this:
A guide to electrical safety certificates
Gas safety certificates: what are they, and how to get one
12. Investing in smart home technology
If you’re able to, smart home tech can help save energy. By getting a smart thermostat, for example, you can make sure you never heat an empty home – and you can sync your heating up to the weather.
How about getting a smart meter? It’s free to have one installed and they let you track your energy use, helping you to spot ways to save.
Smart home tech can range from smaller gadgets to large-scale innovations, like heat pumps or thermal energy storage. It’s all designed to make homes more efficient – or even to generate energy, through technology like solar panels.
To learn more about smart home tech, take a look here:
- How smart home tech can add value to your home
- A guide to air source heat pumps
- A guide to ground source heat pumps and how they work
- How do solar panels work and are they worth it?
13. Using the dishwasher instead
If you have a dishwasher, it’s possible that using it might be more energy-efficient than washing by hand. A study by Which? found that all the dishwashers they tested used less water than washing your dishes in the sink.