heating

Heating

Cover bare floors. Rugs and carpets on bare flooring helps retain heat, especially if there is no floor insulation.

Raise the temperature slowly to keep your bill lower. Quickly raising your heating temperature uses more energy than raising it slowly.

Portable heaters. They’re great for “spot” heating, but can be very expensive if run regularly.

Lower your thermostat every time you leave the house, turning your thermostat down by 1 degree celcius can save you as much as £60 a year.

water

Wise up about water

Wash with cold water, laundry detergent works just as well, and you’ll save 20 pence per load.

Check your hot water pipes for leaks, which can drain your energy savings.

Turn off your water heater if you plan on leaving home for a few days. Most models will reheat the water to the set temperature in about an hour.

Have short showers to cut hot water costs.

Get an insulation wrap to help your old water boiler heat in more effectively.

Install a timer for your water heater that will turn it off when you are not at home.

lights

Lighting

Switch to LEDs You can now get LED spotlights that are bright enough to replace halogens, as well as regular energy saving bulbs (‘compact fluorescent lamps’ or CFLs). They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and fittings.

If the average household replaced all of their remaining old-fashioned bulbs with CFLs, and all of their halogens with LEDs, it would cost about £100 and save about £35 a year on bills.

Turn off lights Turn your lights off when you’re not using them. If you switch a light off for just a few seconds, you will save more energy than it takes for the light to start up again, regardless of the type of light. This will save you around £15 on your annual energy bills.

fridge

Don’t forget the fridge

Allow hot foods to cool before placing them in the refrigerator. Hot food decreases the temperature in the refrigerator temporarily forcing the refrigerator to work harder to keep the air cool.

Do not overfill your refrigerator or freezer since that will interfere with the circulation of cold air inside.

Turn off and recycle your second refrigerator. Many of these secondary units (usually older and less energy efficient) use as much as 40% more energy than a new model.

Regularly defrost manual-defrost models. Frost buildup increases the amount of energy needed to keep the motor running. Avoid excessive ice build-up on the interior surfaces of the evaporator.

washing

Wash wisely

Use cold water. According to ENERGY STAR almost 90% of the energy consumed by your washing machine is used simply to heat water. Given that, you can save a lot of energy by washing your clothes in cold water. In fact, switching to cold-water clothes washing for a year can save enough energy to run an average home for up to two weeks! Cold-water washing also keeps colors bright, reduces wrinkling and won’t set stains.

Run a full load. The machine will use the same amount of mechanical energy, regardless of how full it is. If you don’t run a full load, be sure to set the water level for the amount of laundry you are running.

Washing at a lower temperature. Washing at 30ºC rather than 40ºC can save you a third of the cost to run the cycle.

cooking

Cook with care

Cover up Where possible, cover up your pots and pans. This will help your food to cook more quickly and generates a higher temperature allowing you to turn down the stove.

Nuke it Instead of boiling water in a pan; zap it in a microwave instead. In fact, try to use a microwave as much as possible as it will save a stack of electricity.

Be prepared I fired up the fry pan sometimes and then started slicing and dicing – tch tch; wasting a bit of gas in the process. Always ensure your ingredients are prepared as much as possible before turning on the heat.

The right pan for the job If you can see the heating element or the gas flame is licking a little on the side of the pot or pan, it’s too small and much of the heat is being wasted.

Pressure cooker: Cooking a roast chicken in a pressure cooker takes approximately half the time it would need in an oven, and it’s especially good if you like your roast falling apart. As an optional extra you can crisp it up a bit by putting it in the oven for around 15 minutes afterwards.