Looking for easy ways to save energy and money to help beat the energy price rises? I’ve got you covered with my handy, useful, and practical renter-friendly tips to help cut your bills and keep you warm.
With the energy price cap rise taking effect from Friday 1st April 2022, millions of householders across the UK are set to see their electricity and gas prices soar. It’s estimated that household energy bills will rise by a massive £700 a year.
At a time when many householders have had their finances battered by the ongoing economic effects of the pandemic, it’s poor timing. Petrol and gas costs are rising, along with food price rises which are stretching already stretched household budgets. In short, it’s a financial sh*t storm for many, many householders.
Easy Ways to Save On Your Energy Bills At Home
I’ve been writing for almost 10 years here at Moral Fibres, and in that time I’ve covered a whole range of easy energy-saving tips. In my former life, I worked in a local Energy Saving Trust advice hub. I also hold a City & Guilds energy-saving qualification, so energy saving is something I know more than a little about.
There are so many ideas on easy ways to save energy contained in these here archives. So much, that I thought it might be really useful if I collated them in one post for old and new Moral Fibres readers alike. Here you can learn ways to save money on both your electricity and gas bills, without compromising on the comfort levels of your home. I promise none of my tips involves wearing multiple jumpers, hats, scarves, and gloves at all times. However, it is of course good practice to pop a jumper on when you are cold, before cranking up the thermostat!
Many energy-saving tips focus on the big stuff. Things like insulating your walls, or switching to double or even triple glazing. These are very valid energy-saving tips. However, as someone who rented for many years, I remember the frustration of having ambivalent landlords who didn’t care that my energy bills were sky-high. I also remember the frustration at lacking the autonomy to be able to make these improvements. So, for these tips, I’ve focused on the more accessible energy-saving tips that almost anyone can implement.
Let’s crack on with the tips!
Easy Ways to Save Energy In Your Kitchen
Here are some of my easy ways to save energy and money in the kitchen:
- Did you know that freezers work best when they are full? This is because freezers expend most energy when they have to cool down the warm air that gets in when you open the door to take food out. Here are some clever tips to pack your fridge and freezer efficiently – from filling water bottles and reusing styrofoam packing blocks to keep your bills down.
- In a similar vein, defrosting your freezer is a pain but so worth it! Frost buildup in your freezer increases the amount of work your freezer’s motor has to do. If the motor is working harder, then this means it’s using more energy. Keeping it fairly frost-free means savings for the environment and for you. Not convinced? This Is Money says you can save £100 to £200 a year just by defrosting your freezer.
- Whilst you are defrosting your freezer, you may want to dust your fridge. Specifically, the coils at the back of the fridge, if you are able to do so. This is a surprising but effective tip, as when dust gathers on the condenser coils, it means your fridge has to work a lot harder. A harder working fridge means more energy is being consumed by it to do its job. This, in turn, results in bigger electricity bills for you. And it can shorten the life of your fridge, so you may have to fork out for a new fridge much earlier than if you’d been a bit more vigilant with the feather duster. According to Friends of the Earth, keeping your fridge’s coils clean can improve your fridge’s efficiency by up to a whopping 30%.
How To Save Energy When You Are Cooking
- Why using your microwave can be more efficient at cooking small portions of food. You can save 80% of energy compared to using an oven.
- Similarly, why you should switch your microwave off at the wall when you aren’t using it. A typical microwave is on for 70 hours a year. Yet a microwave draws power for more than 100 times as long, just to keep the clock and electronic controls powered. That means you are using energy and paying extra on your bills for appliances you are not even using.
- When you’re using your hob, it’s good practice to use a lid on your pans. This is because the lid keeps the heat in the pan, where it’s needed, rather than escaping into the air. Your food will cook faster this way, saving energy on your gas or electricity bills.
- Open your dishwasher door before it starts the drying cycle to air dry your dishes. This can save up to 50% of your dishwasher’s energy.
- Use a clothes horse instead of drying clothes on radiators. Hanging wet clothes on your radiator makes your boiler work harder, to get your room to your desired temperature. This means it takes longer to heat your home. In turn, this uses more energy to heat your home and costs you more money. That being said, ventilation is crucially important to help prevent health issues. If you can, dry your clothes in a room where you can open a window and close the door on it, to allow the air to circulate freely. If that’s not possible, opening your windows every day for at least fifteen minutes helps fresh air to freely circulate, reducing the chance of dampness occurring.
- Why you should turn down your hot water thermostat to 60ºC. The average boiler hot water thermostat in the UK is set to 65ºC. This is very inefficient and a waste of energy and money. At this temperature, you have to cool the water that you’ve spent money heating to be able to use it. Heat loss from your boiler/hot water cylinder is also increased at this temperature. You can save around £30 a year if you turn your boiler temperature down from 65ºC to 60ºC. Don’t set it below 60ºC though. You need your hot water to be at this heat to kill bacteria associated with Legionnaires’ Disease. This is a potentially fatal lung infection spread through the inhalation of water bourne particles.
Ways to Save In Your Living Room
Looking for easy ways to save energy in your living room? I’ve got heaps of ideas for you:
- Rearrange your furniture. Yes, really! If your sofa or any other bulky item of furniture is in front of your radiator then it will absorb a high percentage of the heat being emitted from your radiator. This means you’ll have to run your heating for longer for your room to warm up. Moving your sofa allows heat to circulate freely.
- Why you should turn the brightness down on your TV. When TV sets are packaged for sale or display, they are set at much higher levels of brightness and contrast than really necessary. Manufacturers do this bit of trickery so the screens look all bright and jazzy in illuminated shop displays. However, the default brightness settings are too bright for most living rooms. Increased brightness and contrast on your TV means increased power consumption. Turning down the brightness saves a surprising amount of energy.
- Why it’s a good idea to get into the practice of charging your mobile phone during the day. Did you know that to charge an iPhone, it takes under an hour for a flat battery to reach 80% battery levels? Then it takes another 60 to 90 minutes to reach 100%. That’s 1.5 hours maximum, to recharge your phone’s battery. But if you sleep for around 8 hours on a good night, you are using 6.5 hours of extra power that doesn’t need to be used. Leaving your phone on charge when it’s fully charged can also decrease the battery’s lifespan.
- Finally, here’s why you should close your curtains at dusk (and open them again as soon as you get up).
Have you got any easy ways to save energy? Share with other readers in the comments below!
What To Do If You Are Struggling To Pay Your Bills
Remember, if you are struggling with your energy bills, do seek help. Speak to your supplier first – some energy suppliers offer hardship funds that you can access. Citizens Advice have details on grants and benefits that might be available to you to help you pay your energy bills too. And you can also contact your local council. In the Spring Budget, it was announced that local councils would receive additional funding to help support those struggling with the costs of living. None of this is nowhere near enough, but after the incredibly disappointing Spring Budget, I desperately hope that some of this can help.