Secret energy drains in the home: Top ways to reduce energy usage at home
It is fair to assume that no one is looking forward to 1st October when the dreaded energy price cap will increase to £2,500 per year.
Though this cap is a welcome decrease on the £3,549 that was originally announced by Ofgem on 26th August, households up and down the country will certainly still feel the sting.
To give a small helping hand, home improvement experts at Stormclad have some tips and advice on how households can reduce their energy usage at home.
Managing director at Stormclad, John Evans, said: “There is no question that the latest energy price increase will have sent a rippling wave of worry through households all over the UK. Living costs are at an all-time high so it is very easy to feel unsettled and overwhelmed with everything going on.
“It is important to remember that there are things, though small, we can do as individuals that will not only help towards reducing our energy usage but will mentally help us feel like we are in more control. Times are tough right now but little acts and choices that we make towards saving energy could add up and make all the difference. Plus, these little energy-saving acts will go towards helping our planet become greener, so that is a takeaway too.
“We’d recommend everyone getting more energy-saving-savvy, so that means keeping a close eye on meter readings, turning off gadgets when they’re not being used, and cutting out those now everyday luxuries knowing that in the long-run, it will pay off – literally.”
So, what is eating up the most energy in your home?
White goods are unsurprisingly the hungriest for power. According to Carbon Footprint1, an A spec fridge-freezer is the main culprit, guzzling up 408 kWh per year.
Other leading consumers include tumble dryers, electric hobs (0.62 kWH more than a gas hob), dishwashers, ovens, lights, televisions and, you guessed it, kettles (though we will say, replacing just your kettle and your kettle alone this year will not make an overwhelming difference to your energy bill…). Your kettle is costing you around £48 a year and your TV – for an average of six hours a day – is costing you approximately £1302.
What can you do to help reduce usage? Here are some ideas:
- We’ll start with the obvious – turn off those lights
We all want to leave the odd light on around the house to create a bit of ambience when we’re at home but, when you think about it, some lights can be left on in rooms for hours on end without anyone actually needing them. So, turn those lights off and consider investing in some energy saving bulbs where you can, especially if you do tend to leave one on for security when you pop out – every little helps.
- 4% of your energy bill is spent powering kitchen appliances3
Microwaves are generally more efficient than ovens due to the fact that, as the Energy Saving Trust points out, they only heat the food and not the air space around it, so it is worth trying to make more use of your microwave, or perhaps invest if you don’t own one.
The same goes for fridge-freezers – it’s a good idea to read up on which are the highest rated and then sum this up against what you can afford.
Generally, the smaller the appliance, the better – if you can manage with a smaller fridge-freezer, opt for it. And don’t over-stuff them either otherwise they will have to work twice as hard to keep everything cool – plus, they can stop working sooner if you do this and that’s just money down the drain.
Finally, try not to overfill your kettle so you are only boiling the water you need – waste not, want not.
- Is it a sunny day? Get the washing line out!
It always seems like a faff to peg the washing outside to dry but if you consider the number of times you take your clothes out the dryer and find that you have to air them out a little anyway, you may as well save yourself some money and make use of the sunshine – plus, it’s greener.
Always remember to not put the washing machine on if you haven’t got a full load – shout around the house to see who’s got some dirty pants you can chuck in with yours, this is no time to be picky! Also, make sure to make use of the “eco” button if you have one and wash at a lower temperature.
- How many things do you have on “standby”?
According to EcoCostSavings4, the average modern TV uses 58.5 watts while you’re using it and 1.3 watts while you leave it on standby – that works out at about £11 a year, and that’s just one telly. How many do you have?
It can become alarming when you think about how many appliances you leave on standby, and then the amount of time that actually goes by between uses. Whether it’s your TV, radio, charger, microwave, coffee machine, computer or Playstation, if you’re not using them, and especially if you’re not using them frequently, switch them off – over time, we guarantee you will see a difference.
- Home improvements – how insulated are your windows?
As home-improvers ourselves, we can’t not mention the importance of insulation. If you have yet to invest in double glazing windows, we strongly recommend you do so. Over 80% of homes in England now have double glazing and we aren’t surprised as it can save you up to £110 a year on energy bills, at the same time as increasing your overall property value by 10% – bonus.
Make sure to also draught-proof your doors and windows – no use in paying to heat up your home and make it nice and toasty to then have the warmth escape through little crevices.