As winter approaches, households will turn on the heating – if they can afford it.
The government has capped a home’s average annual energy bill at £2,500 until April, but there’s no cap on what YOURS is.
So it’s better to use less energy and save the planet.
Angela Terry, environmental scientist, says: “There are actions we can all take, actions that are free and at low cost.”
Sam Carlisle brings you advice on Angela’s website onehome.org.uk. . .
DEGREES OF CHANGE
Turn down the thermostat by 1C and save £145 a year.
In 1970 the average home was heated to 12C, now heating systems are designed to operate between 18 and 24C.
Other heating tips are to schedule it to only come on when someone is home – and to close curtains and blinds once it gets dark, to keep the heat in. inside.
If you have a hot water tank rather than a combi boiler, make sure the hot water is not on all the time, just when you need it.
DON’T BE FLEXIBLE
Wash clothes at 30°C or colder, saving the average household £34 a year. Use the eco-friendly settings on your washing machine – or dishwasher – which means lower wash and rinse temperatures.
Limit the washes you do.
Designer Stella McCartney said, “Let the dirt dry and brush it off.”
If it’s OK for Stella. . .
Get an electric blanket that’s perfect for snuggling up on the couch at night, or in bed.
Octopus Energy says it costs two to four pence an hour, whereas it costs around £4 a day to heat an average home.
Buy from Dunelm, Argos or Lakeland, from £30 to £80. One with different settings can help save.
Water companies often offer them, to reduce their use. Specialty showerheads can save up to £45 a year and an additional £25 if you use a meter.
Cistern bags save on toilet flushes and aerators mix air into tap water to reduce usage.
Speaking of gadgets, electrical appliances should be turned off at night rather than left on standby.
Check if you are eligible for grants. People from low-income households who receive certain benefits can apply for subsidies or have work done on their homes, through programs such as the Energy Company Obligation.
See gov.uk/helpforhouseholds and the Ofgem website to see if you qualify.
Buy a special sheet to reflect the heat produced by the radiators on the wall and in the room.
A roll of five meters will insulate three radiators. Use it only on exterior walls, and it works best on solid, uninsulated walls.
You can expect to break even on a £25 spend within 12 months.
GAME OF DRAFES
Seal doors, baseboards and windows with foam, copper or brush strips. Fill gaps in wooden floors with acrylic.
An unused chimney can carry heat away, so block it with a chimney balloon, £17 on Amazon.
To plug more waste, curtains with thermal liners are available from Wayfair and Dunelm from £25.
TO FILL OR NOT TO FILL
Do not overfill the kettle. By boiling too much water every time you brew a cup of tea, you could be losing up to £43 a year.
But fill the dishwasher.
Reducing its use by one run a week for a year could save you £17.
TIPS OF PEACE
Cover accessible hot water pipes with foam covering and use cable ties, tape or wire to hold it in place – then you can be sure you’re saving money.
The estimated savings for lagging your pipes is around £18 a year, and insulation costs around £10 for five metres.
COOK A SAVING
Use a microwave instead of an oven if possible.
Baking a potato in the latter would cost around 27p but only 3p in the former because a microwave uses less power and you don’t use it for as long.
If you can, invest in insulating your attic – it will pay off. Homes without this lose up to 25% of their heat through the roof.
It’s a manageable DIY job.
Or hire a licensed fitter, who for a semi-detached house would charge an average of £530.
You should break even in 1.4 years from energy savings.