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Learn to save energy like a pro (without even noticing!)

The price cap goes up again next month. But there are more ways to save energy than we might think

We’ve probably all heard the advice to turn our thermostat down by one degree to save energy.

But with another rise in the energy price cap looming, it’s a good idea to think about other ways to cut our use.

The good news is there are simple ways we can save energy that don’t have much (or any) impact on our lives.

Here are five we can start with:

  1. Don’t leave devices charging for longer than we need to

Lots of us plug our phones and devices in at bed time and leave them charging all night. But most devices will charge fully in three hours, meaning we’re wasting energy. (Charging for too long may also damage the battery.)

  1. Big furniture items in front of radiators? Move them

If we have sofas, chairs or beds right in front of a radiator the chances are the furniture will be absorbing most of the heat. That means the room won’t warm up properly and our heating goes into overdrive. But we don’t have to rearrange the whole room. Even moving bigger items an inch or two from the radiator will help.

  1. Take the chill off

Are we sure our fridge and freezer are set to the right temperature? With these appliances running all day, every day, they’re big guzzlers of energy. So we don’t want them to work harder than they need to. A fridge should be set at 3C to 5C and a freezer to -18C. We can check the temperature of our fridge by leaving a glass of water in it overnight. Popping a thermometer in it the next morning will tell us the fridge’s temperature.

Putting hot food into the fridge makes it use more energy to stay cool. And over-filling it also means it’ll gobble up more electricity.

But we need to be careful. Lots of fridges are actually too warm. Not only could this lead to food poisoning, we may also end up wasting food and cancel out all our energy savings.

  1. Bleed our radiators

If our radiators don’t seem to be warming right up to the top, it could be that we need to bleed them. This just means getting rid of air bubbles that stop radiators working properly and make our boiler use more energy.

First of all, we need to turn our heating off. Then we turn a radiator valve key in the bleed valve until we hear the hiss of air coming out. When a trickle of water starts to come out, we’ve bled the radiator. All we do then is turn the key again to tighten the valve.

This video is a helpful explainer.

  1. Lower our combi boiler’s flow temperature

This only applies if we have a condensing combi boiler. With these boilers we can adjust the temperature of our hot water and the water in our radiators. Often the factory settings sit at 80C – but we don’t need it to be this high. Lowering it to 60C could cut our gas usage by a whopping nine per cent. And it won’t affect the temperature of our home.

This video gives more detail on how to do it.

Once we’ve shaved some money off our energy bill by following these tips, we should check if we’re making any of these five energy mistakes that cost us money.

Image: Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels

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