Let’s beat the energy companies at their own game. Prices nudge up and up but the power’s in our hands to push usage down and down. What tricks can we use to fight back and keep cash in our own pockets? Quids in! reveals the small changes that make a big difference.
SET YOUR HEATING to come on 30 minutes before getting up or arriving home and to go off 30 minutes before going to bed or leaving for work. You will avoid heating an empty house which will just cost you money.
IF YOU CAN TURN YOUR heating down by 1°C, this can cut your energy use by 10%.
KEEP your radiators clear. Don’t put anything in front of them or on them.
CONSIDER putting radiator panels behind radiators fixed to external walls.
USE THERMAL or heavy curtains during the winter. Keep them drawn after dark.
TRY TO BLOCK all draughts around the house to help stop the heat from escaping.
IS YOUR WATER too hot? Your boiler and cylinder thermostat should be set at 60°C.
ALWAYS TRY TO use a full load in a washing machine. Half loads waste energy.
USE AN ECONOMY programme on your washing machine whenever possible.
WASH your clothes on a lower heat. Most modern washing powders work well at 30°C or 40°C.
IF THE WEATHER IS FINE, dry your laundry outside instead of using the tumble dryer
KEEP FILTERS clean in your tumble dryer. But don’t use a dryer at all, if you can avoid it.
HANG OR fold clothes up straight away after drying them so they will need less ironing. If you’re going to iron make sure the clothes are still slightly damp, they will iron more quickly.
YOU CAN SAVE fuel by putting lids on saucepans when cooking.
ONLY FILL the kettle with as much water as you actually need.
WHEN BOILING veggies, use just enough water to keep them covered and don’t use a ring bigger than your pan.
TRY TO AVOID putting hot food in a fridge or a freezer. Let it cool down first
KEEP YOUR FRIDGE at the optimum temperature of around 3°C to 5°C.
DON’T LEAVE the fridge or freezer door open any longer than you need. Position them away from cookers and direct sunlight where possible.
YOU WILL SAVE electricity if you regularly defrost your freezer and fridge.
WHEN REPLACING electrical goods look for at least an ‘A’ energy rating. Don’t buy bigger items than you need.
ENERGY SAVING light bulbs last up to 10 times longer and cost less to run. And of course, remember to turn off the lights when you don’t need or aren’t using them.
UNPLUG your mobile phone or games console from the socket when it has charged.
SWITCH APPLIANCES off standby. Leaving TVs and other devices on standby wastes valuable energy.
LIMIT the time you spend in showers or buy a water flow limiter or monitor to watch how much hot water you’re using.
1 Challenge your supplier
We are the customer. If they want our business they have to earn it. Contact suppliers and check we’re on the best tariff for what we use and see if they have any other help they can offer us – even free gadgets to reduce our costs
2 Shop around
Grab a year’s worth of bills and check online, or visit an advice agency, to see if other suppliers will be cheaper based on how much your household uses. See if they have any discounts or schemes that could help
3 How we pay
People who are good with money always get the best deals and they know having a bank account and paying by Direct Debit is almost always cheaper. Pre-payment meters are the worst, so get rid, if that is an option
4 Smart meters
Sometimes, the worst thing is not knowing how much we will be stung for. So ask if the supplier can provide a free Smart Meter that says what costs we’re running up as we go.