Energy and money-saving tips

Amy Smith
Amy Smith
Updated 9 September 2021  | 4 min read

Key points

  • Compare energy tariffs and look out for collective energy-switching schemes
  • Try out our easy energy-saving tips
  • Weigh up the pros and cons of more expensive energy-saving options against the potential savings

Energy and money-saving tips

1. Choosing a new supplier

By comparing different energy tariffs and suppliers with the plan you’re currently on, you can see if you’re on the best price for the energy you’re using.

If you decide to switch online, your new supplier might offer you an exclusive rate or pay your old supplier’s early exit fee, if you have one.

2. Turn the lights off

When a room isn’t in use, turn the lights off - according to Energy Saving Trust, it’ll save up to £14 per year.

3. Unplug or switch off appliances

It might not be practical to turn off your appliances at the wall, but your laptop, phone and other appliances will still use power if you leave them on standby.

Switching them off uses less energy, potentially saving you around £35 per year.

4. Read your energy bills

Make sure you’re not getting overcharged for your energy use by supplying regular readings. If you’re in credit, you’re entitled to ask for a refund.

5. Use LED bulbs

Change older or halogen bulbs to LEDs as they use less energy so are cheaper to run and last longer than standard bulbs. You could save up to £40 per year.

6. Turn down the heating

Lowering the temperature on the thermostat by one degree could mean you spend up to £60 less on your energy per year.

If you can schedule your heating, make sure it only comes on when you’re home – if it’s not that chilly, turn it off to save energy.

7. Wash your clothes at 30 degrees

When you wash your clothes, turn down the water temperature from 40 to 30 degrees.

If you can run your machine less often, one less wash a week will save £8 over a year.

8. Don’t run the tap when washing up

Fill up a bowl or the sink to waste less water and use less energy to constantly heat it up - you could save up to £25 per year by doing this.

9. Adjust the temperature of your water

Instead of going backwards and forwards with the hot and cold taps, newer boilers allow you to change the temperature of your hot water.

For example, turn the thermostat down to fill your bath without needing to use the cold tap. When you’re finished, just turn the temperature back up again if you need to.

10. Get an energy-efficient showerhead

Water-efficient showerheads could help you to save up to £91 per year. on gas and water combined Have a look at the cost of energy and how much water you’re currently using versus the cost of replacing it, to see if it’s worthwhile for your household.

A few more ways you could save energy and money:

  • Turn off radiators in unused rooms
  • Keep doors closed between rooms
  • Draught-proof windows, doors and loft access points
  • Open curtains to let in natural light during the day
  • Keep your utilities and appliances well maintained

Help with fuel bills

There are multiple grants and other sources of support available for those who are struggling with their gas and electricity costs.

If you need more help with fuel bills read our guide, or you can get support from the Energy Savings Trust and Citizens Advice.

Smart meters and energy monitors

Suppliers are expected to have taken all reasonable steps to roll out free smart meters to all UK households by the end of December 2021.

These meters automatically send your energy usage to your utility company, so you’ll benefit from more accurate bills and direct debits. You’ll also be given a handheld display unit that shows you real time details of your energy usage and how much it costs.

Energy storage systems

There are a few kinds of energy storage systems: thermal stores, heat batteries and electricity batteries.

Energy storage systems can be expensive to buy and install, but these costs should reduce as demand increases.

Before purchasing, weigh up this expense against the amount you could save by storing excess energy.

Thermal stores

A thermal store is an insulated tank that holds heat as hot water. They come in a range of sizes and if you have a renewable energy system – such as solar panels – you can store any excess energy you generate in a thermal store to be used at a later time.

Thermal stores also reduces the amount of wear and tear on your energy system, as you won’t need to spend as long generating energy thanks to the excess you have stored.

Heat batteries

Heat batteries allow you to store either spare heat or excess electricity.

When full they’re usually lighter and smaller than thermal stores and they don’t tend to lose performance over time, unlike with an electrical battery.

The size and type of heat battery you need, and so its cost, depends on your heating needs.

Electricity batteries

Like a heat battery, electricity batteries can store any excess energy generated whether you’re connected to the national grid or you generate your own renewable energy.

Battery capacity varies and there are custom options available for households that require extra storage.

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