It’s a hot topic as we head into the colder months but luckily for us, Zoe Moulding from Ecotricity has put together some top tips to help you save energy and cut your bills and stay warm this season.
Winter has arrived, and with that comes the dilemma of heating your home and trying to save energy at the same time. But thankfully, there are some things we can do that are surprisingly quick and simple to do. Even better – lots are free!
1. Fine tune your heating
- You can save a considerable amount by turning your heating down by just 1°C – and you probably won’t even notice the difference.
- Make sure your boiler is serviced regularly, so it’s operating efficiently and reliably. You can check your boiler flow temperature too, as default settings are usually unnecessarily high.
- It’s a good idea to make sure your heating is off when you’re not at home. Set your heating timer to turn off an hour before you leave in the morning – your home will stay warm until you leave, and you’ll save an hour a day of heating.
- Similarly, set it to turn off an hour before bedtime – that’s another hour saved every day, seven days a week for 30 weeks of the year, that means you could save 350 hours’ worth of heating energy.
- If you don’t already have them, consider installing modern heating controls to help you increase the efficiency of your heating.
Turning your heating off an hour before bed could save you up to 350 hours' worth of energy a year. Image credit: M-Production via Adobe Stock
2. Insulate your home and yourself
- Start by insulating yourself – winter is a time for extra layers, and there’s nothing like a warm jumper to help you stay cosy. There are also plenty of cosy vegan down alternatives to keep you warm this winter.
- Insulate your walls – it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to save energy around the home.
- Check that your loft is properly insulated. As heat rises, this is a must-have in your insulation toolbox.
- Close your curtains just before it gets dark to reduce heat loss through the glass. The heavier and thicker the better, particularly if you don’t have double glazing.
Make sure you close the curtains before it gets dark to reduce heat loss through the glass. Image credit:
3. Save energy in the kitchen
- If you cook with gas, small changes can save you money. Boil water in a kettle first and use a lid on pans to retain more heat. The gas can then be turned down to get the same effect.
- Don’t open the oven too soon – you’ll let out hot air and waste energy. If you can, take a look through the oven door instead and see if your food looks ready.
- Save money on energy and ingredients by batch cooking – preparing a few meals at the same time and freezing them means you’ll need to use the stove or the oven less, and you’ll save yourself time too! Here are some of our favourite one-pot vegan meals and vegan curry recipes that are great for batch cooking.
4. How to make your radiators more energy efficient
- Turn off radiators in rooms you don’t use. Alternatively, use thermostatic valves to set specific radiators to switch off at lower temperatures than your main thermostat. For example, bedrooms can be set to a much cooler temperature than the living room.
- Bleed your radiators to make sure you’re getting the full amount of heat possible. If a radiator is colder at the top than the bottom, there’s air trapped inside which needs bleeding.
- Fit a shelf above a radiator to direct warm air into the room.
- Place foil behind radiators on exterior walls to reduce heat loss to the outside.
- Keep your internal doors closed so your radiators are heating individual rooms, rather than your entire home.
You can save energy by bleeding your radiators to ensure they're generating as much heat as possible. Image credit: astrosystem via Adobe Stock
5. Saving energy in the laundry and bathroom
- Give the tumble dryer a winter break as much as you can, and air dry clothes. As long as it’s not raining, even the windier, cloudier days can be good for drying laundry.
- It’s well known that showers are more energy efficient than baths – and if you want to take that further, aim for shorter showers, maybe even setting a timer to alert you after four minutes.
6. How to make your lighting and electronics more energy efficient
- If you don’t have them already, choose LED bulbs the next time you need to replace one. They use 70-80 per cent less energy than a conventional bulb, and since lighting typically represents around a tenth of a domestic electricity bill, these bulbs alone might shave 7-8% off your bill.
- Turning off lights when you are not in the room is a no-brainer and will take that saving further.
- Make sure you don’t leave appliances like TVs and laptops on in standby mode all the time – this is a constant, invisible ‘energy sponge’ that you don’t really need.
- If you do need to buy new appliances at the moment, take a hard look at their energy efficiency ratings. There should be a sticker on display grading them between A (good) to G (bad) based on how much energy they consume during typical use, compared to other appliances of a similar size. Aim for A-graded appliances wherever you can.
All this may sound like hard work, but small changes in habits can quickly become routine, and it can be rewarding to know you are taking tangible steps to save money and live in a greener way.
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Featured image credit: DBenitostock via Getty Images