I think we can all agree that running a home can be an expensive endeavour. But did you know that there are very simple and quick changes you can make at home to save you money and the environment?
Below is a list of 40 simple tips and tricks to help you save money on your energy bill and do your bit to help save the environment. To help you, we’ve separated these into four categories:
- Free tricks
These are tips that will cost you nothing. Instead, they will save you money
- Low cost tricks
You may have to spend a small amount of money (e.g. £10 – £35) to save
- Medium cost tricks
You may have to spend a moderate amount of money (e.g. £35 – £150) to save
- High cost tricks
You may have to spend a substantial amount (e.g. £150+) to save!
All saving estimates are calculated based on an average semi-detached house of 4.
Free Tricks to Save Money & Energy
- Turn off standby (potential saving: £86 per year)
Standby is when an electrical item is ‘turned off’ but still using energy. For example, when you turn off your TV with the remote and still see the little red light. That is standby mode.
Turning electrical goods off at the socket (or unplugging them entirely if you want to be extra sure they’re not using energy!) can have an immediate impact on your household energy consumption.
- Turn down your heating (potential saving: £45 per year for every 1°c reduction in temperature)
Heating our homes is one of the biggest uses of energy in our country. By simply lowering the temperature by 1°c in your own home you can save £75 per year. Lowering it by 2°c can result in a saving of £150 per year, and so on.
Reducing the temperate may mean you have to wear a jumper instead of just a t-shirt, but we believe it is worth it due to the potential savings.
- Low temperature washes (potential saving: £13 per year)
Washing machines often have multiple cycle settings and the ability to change the temperature of washes. Lowering these settings will result in less energy being used per wash. Combine this with the fact that modern detergents can produce similar results at lower washes and there really is no reason not to do this!
- Boil only the amount of water you’ll use (potential saving: £26 a year)
A kettle can use a considerable amount of energy to boil water and the longer it takes to boil, the more energy it uses. Only boil the amount of water you’re going to use to save money (e.g. don’t boil a full kettle for two cups of tea).
- Take showers over baths/keep shower to under 5 mins (potential saving: £35 a year/per person)
The average bath holds 80 litres of water and this must be heated higher than the desired temperature to ensure it does not cool down too much during the process of filling the bath.
This is the equivalent of 10 minutes in an electric shower on the highest setting, which would use approximately 8 litres of water per minute. In general, showers use less water and energy. This is particularly the case if you use a low-flow showerhead.
- Turn off lights when not needed/in use (potential saving: £28 a year/per incandescent bulb replaced)
Turning off lights when you are not in a room or using less lights can significantly cut energy bills. If you insist on having certain lights on all the time, as some do, ensure they are energy efficient.
- Fridge/freezer temperature (potential saving: £25 – £45 a year depending on fridge/freezer)
Keeping your fridge/freezer cold uses energy. the colder you keep it the more energy you use, and this ultimately costs you money.
Your fridge should be set between 2.8-4.4°C and your freezer should be set at -15°C or -18°C for long storage freezers. So why do fridges/freezers have an adjustable temp setting? This is to allow you adjust the appliance to meet the conditions of your home and to maintain a safe temperature throughout the year.
- Use your microwave (potential saving: £60 per year instead of using a hob)
Microwaves not only allow you to cook food much faster, they can also save you money as they use much less energy than an oven.
Whenever you’re cooking a meal, look at whether it can be heated, or at least partially, in a microwave. For example, you can steam vegetables in a microwave as opposed to using a hob.
- Air dry your clothes whenever possible (potential saving: £85 per year)
Tumble dryers use a lot of energy and can be a life saver when the weather is bad for prolonged periods of time.
But they are extremely power hungry and can cost between £85 – £120 a year to run. Furthermore, the tumble action can reduce the lifespan of your clothes through friction which wears down the fibres.
Air drying is free and it is better for the long-term life of your clothes. In this sense air drying saves you on both energy and the cost of replacing worn out clothes.
- Remove radiator covers (potential saving: £20 per year)
Radiator covers are favoured by some as they can make a radiator look nicer or help avoid people getting burned.
However, there is a huge downside to them. The covers also trap and absorb a lot of the heat. Removing them will make your home heat up much quicker.
- Don’t charge overnight (potential saving: £7 per year, per device)
Charging devices overnight that have a full battery is a complete waste of energy. Over a sustained period, it can lead to your device becoming damaged. Instead, consciously remember to charge your device whenever you’re at home or in the office and once it is charged, unplug it.
- Keep your fridge/freezer clean and frost free (potential saving: £15 – £30 per year)
The coils on the back of your fridge are used in cooling your fridge, if they are covered in dust, they struggle to release heat.
The coils on the back of your fridge are there for cooling purposes. If they are covered in dust, it can lead to them not being as efficient as possible. Cleaning them a few times a year will increase the lifespan of your fridge and help keep it as efficient as possible.
In addition to the above, frost build-up on the inside of your fridge can also make it difficult for your fridge to work efficiently. Keep a check on any build-up.
- Use pan lids (potential saving: £15 per year)
Pan lids trap heat inside the pan, helping it boil and cook whatever is inside the pan much faster.
- Use the right size pans (potential saving: £10 per year)
Smaller pans heat up and cook whatever is inside them much quicker. Using a bigger pan for the same task is a waste.
- Use the right size hob (potential saving: £20 per year)
Like the last tip, a larger hob uses much more energy than a smaller hob. Use a hob suited to the pan you need to use.
- Turn off the tap (potential saving: £15 – 40 per year)
Running the tap while you brush your teeth wastes water. This adds up over the course of a year.
- Use one device (potential saving: average £5 – £10 per year per device)
We are all guilty of turning on the tv then sitting back on our phones or laptop. Turning off as many devices as you can that you’re not using will save lots of money in the long run.
- Carpool (potential saving depends on distance travelled but averaged out it can be from around £150-£400 per year)
Carpooling with one person cuts the energy usage by around half and could cut your commuting costs by a similar amount. Obviously, the more people you pool with, the greater the saving.
- Lower device brightness (potential saving: £15 – £100 per year per device)
The brighter you have a screen on any device, the more energy it will use. Turning down energy on devices such as laptops or monitors can save you a good chunk of money over the course of a year. It could do wonders for your eyes too!
- Bleed radiators (potential saving: £30 per year)
Bleeding radiators regularly ensures they are operating as effectively as possible as it removes air blockages, which ensures the flow of water in your radiators is optimal.
- Walk/cycle more (potential saving: £150 – £400 per year)
Walking/cycling more means that you aren’t using public transport or your car, saving you money and saving the environment at the same time. Furthermore, it’s great for your body and mental health. Walking just 30 minutes a day could have a huge impact on your health.
- Purchase new shower heads (potential saving: £35 per year)
Modern shower heads (or specifically energy-saving shower heads) can help you save money by restricting water flow, meaning water is delivered at a higher pressure. This means you’ll get a similar result to what you’ve become accustomed to but will be using less water.
- Install tap aerators (potential saving: £13 per year, per tap)
Aerators fit inside or onto your taps and limit the amount of water coming out of the tap but make the water that does pass through come at a higher pressure.
By limiting the amount of water coming out of the tap and separating the flow of water with air, you will use less water without noticing any difference.
- Install radiator reflectors (potential saving: £20 per year)
Radiator reflectors go behind radiators and reflect heat into the room that would have otherwise been lost into the wall.
By placing reflectors behind your radiator, you will heat up your rooms much quicker and use less energy to do so, this also means that regulating your room temperature is much easier.
- Read more (potential saving: £20 per year)
Reading instead of watching TV means that your TV won’t be using energy. Over the course of a year this can save you a tidy sum off your energy bill.
- Rechargeable batteries (potential saving: £15 – £30 per year)
Rechargeable batteries cost much less to recharge than it would cost to buy new batteries, and although they won’t save you energy, you will save by not having to buy new disposable batteries. You can also feel very smug that you’re helping to save the environment.
- Grow your own food (potential saving: approx. £1,352 per year, based on a family of four spending £26 a week on fresh veg)
Growing your own things such as herbs and fresh veg can save you substantial money and stop you from needing to travel to the shop, again saving you on energy use.
If you have unused garden space, this is a perfect way to utilize it and save you and your family money. You could even save substantial amounts by paying for an allotment and growing produce there. The national average rate for a 250sqm allotment is 35p/sqm, giving you a yearly cost of just £87.50; against the savings means you could still save £1,264.50 on average for a family of four, and its an activity you can all get involved with!
- Carry a reusable bottle (potential saving: £30 – £50 per year)
Carrying a bottle around means that you can grab a drink of water wherever you go so you are not wasting bottles or needing to buy a new drink whenever you are thirsty.
Reusable bottles cost a little more than your average bottle, but they tend to save money in the long run by lasting longer. Most also have the added benefit of being BPA free, meaning chemicals in the plastic will not leach out over time onto the contents.
- Check and replace your fridge/freezer seals (potential saving: £10 – £20 per year per appliance)
Your fridge and freezer needs to be able to keep the cold in to operate as efficiently as possible. If the seal is failing or broken then the unit will have to work harder to keep the temperature stable, using more energy and costing you more money.
To test your seals, put a piece of paper between the door and close it, if the paper falls you need a new seal (it’s worth trying this in each corner and in the middle of all four sides of the door).
New seals can range from £15, for universal ones that you measure and fit yourself, up to £80 for device/manufacturer specific ones that can simply be replaced.
- Fix drips and leaks (potential saving: £20 per year per leak/drip)
Dripping taps or other leaks constantly let out water, by fixing the leak you are guaranteed to save money on your water bill. It’s also good to fix just for the environmental impact, as all domestic water is drinkable having gone through the treatment process to make it safe. Fix those leaks and drips and save that precious drinking water from being wasted and save yourself money in the process!
- Purchase a smart thermostat (potential saving: £86 per year)
They allow you to control the time your heating turns on and off based upon several scenarios. For example, when you’re not at home, when your house reaches a certain temperature or during certain times.
This management of the temperature in your home via a smart thermostat can help you reduce the amount of time your boiler is unnecessarily heating your home.
- Draught proofing (potential saving: £50+ per year)
It is the process of sealing up cracks, holes or gaps that let cold air into your home. By doing this you will require less from your boiler as it will work less to help your home reach the desired temperature.
- Roof/loft insulation (potential saving: £150 per year)
This involves lining the floor of your loft with thick layers of thermal wool insulation to stop heat rising and escaping through your loft.
- Switch to LED Light bulbs (potential saving: £240 per year (source))
Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs use up 90% less energy, much of which is saved in the form of drastically less heat being lost compared to traditional (incandescent) bulbs. LED bulbs are available in brightness’ comparable to incandescent, with many manufacturers now offering dimmable LEDs, so you can keep the feel of your home the same whilst saving money and the environment.
Whilst the initial cost of LEDs can be slightly more than traditional bulbs, the energy savings quickly make up for this extra cost, and in addition, the average life expectancy of a LED bulb is 10,000hrs, so if you used the light for 10hrs every day you can expect to get 2.7 years out of a single bulb. Compare this to incandescent bulbs where the average life expectancy is 2,000hrs, that gives you just over half a year in the same scenario.
- Heavy curtains (potential saving: £40 – £110 per year, depending on your windows and if you don’t shut the curtains at night already)
Heavy (thick) curtains can dramatically alter the temperature in a room. Curtains aren’t only used for blocking out light, as they have the potential to reduce the heat loss from your room by 17%. So, by ensuring curtains in your house are shut, you can save a surprising amount of money every year.
- Insulate pipe work (potential saving: £12 per year)
It is a layer of insulation that goes over your water and heating pipes. This means the water that enters your radiators is warmer and you also won’t have to run taps for as long to get hot water, as it retains the heat for much longer due to the insulation.
Pipe insulation won’t save you a fortune, but it is cheap to purchase (though it can get slightly costly if you have a lot if pipes to insulate). It’s worth doing for the small cash saving and knowing that you’re helping the environment.
- Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances (potential saving: £85 per year)
Every appliance sold in the UK has a rating between A and G. A-rated appliances uses the least amount of energy and G uses the most.
If you were to switch from using a freezer rated G to one rated A, you could save yourself £85 a year. After recouping the initial cost of an energy-efficient appliance over the first few years, you could effectively be profiting from upgrading.
- Replacing your boiler (potential saving: £340 per year compared to your old boiler)
Boilers produce your hot water and heat your home. Due to technological advances over time, newer boilers are much more efficient. Although boilers can last 15 years, a newer one could save you a lot of money in running costs alone.
- Installing new windows (potential saving: £110 per year with B-rated double glazing)
Modern double glazing (rated B) can help you save a surprising amount of money as part of their design is to keep heat in your home. This helps eliminate cold entering your home, so your boiler works less to regulate the temperature in your own home.
- Buy a dishwasher (potential saving: (potential saving: £60+ per year)
While dishwashers do use power, they tend to be low consumption appliances and generally use much less water than someone washing pots by hand. In addition, and they also tend to do this at a lower temperature.
These factors combined mean dishwashers save money on both energy and the amount of water they use.