Energy saving advice
With rising water and energy bills and dangerous weather conditions making life difficult for communities across the world, we're all thinking of what we can do to save energy, save money and help the planet. We’ve put together some practical advice that can help you make some positive changes.
Save water to save energy
- Using less water means using less energy to heat the water and your energy bills will be lower. Your water bill will also be cheaper if you have a water meter.
- Fit a water efficient shower head – they give the same feel as a standard shower head, while using less water and energy. They cost about £15 or your water company may even give you one for free.
- Taking a four-minute shower instead of a bath can save 60% of the water.
- If you use the washing machine with a half load, try saving up your laundry and only washing with a full load. This could cut down the number of times you use the washing machine, saving water and energy.
- Turn down the temperature. With today’s effective washing machine detergents, there’s often no need to run your washing machine any higher than 30°C.
- The ideal water temperature for a bath or shower should be no more than 30°C. Most people can lower it to 25-28°C without feeling uncomfortable.
- You don't have to wash dishes by hand before putting them in a dishwasher, just scrape any food scraps into your food recycling bin and then pop the dishes straight into the dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwasher, rinse dishes with cold water only and don't leave the tap running while you do the washing up.
- Use the eco setting. On your dishwasher or boiler, the eco setting heats water more slowly, using less energy.
- South East Water customers can get free water saving devices, including hosepipe triggers, shower heads and water saving gels for plants. Southern Water offers customers free home visits which include water saving devices being fitted.
Unplug your devices
- Don’t use standby mode and unplug all your chargers. Your phone, tablet or TV still use energy on standby. Avoid paying for energy your don’t use by unplugging them when you can. You can save around £55 a year by just remembering to turn off your devices and appliances when you’re not using them.
- Think about getting a standby saver or smart plug which allows you to turn all your appliances off standby automatically.
Switch off your lights
- Lighting typically accounts for 15% of electrical demand in a home. Getting everyone in the habit of only lighting rooms that are being used can help to save around £20 a year on your energy bills.
Switch to LED lightbulbs
- Replace your lightbulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs. They use a lot less energy and last 10 times longer than traditional bulbs.
- LED bulbs don’t need to warm up and you can choose from warm white light (the same as traditional bulbs) or cool white light, which is a bit less yellow.
- LED bulbs are widely available in DIY and home stores and supermarkets and cost from £2 each. Each replacement bulb could save £5 a year on your energy bill.
Save energy in the kitchen
- Don’t overfill the kettle. Boiling a kettle half full four times a day instead of filling it up can save enough energy to run a TV for four hours, so just boil what you need.
- Always put a lid on your saucepan when cooking to reduce cooking times and use a cooker ring that is the right size for the pan.
- Turn off the heat a couple of minutes before food is fully cooked, especially when using an electric hob as they take some time to cool down and will keep on cooking the food.
- Cook multiple meals at once to be more efficient.
- Steaming using electronic or stackable steamers are an economical way of cooking more than one thing at once.
- Keep your oven closed as opening the door when food's cooking lets heat out, slows the cooking and uses more energy.
- Use your microwave more . You’ll save energy because it’s quicker than using the oven or stove. It's estimated that microwaving a jacket potato saves at least 25% of what it would cost oven-cooking one.
- Only run your dishwasher when it’s full to reduce the amount of water you use. Reducing your dishwasher use by one run per week could save you £14 a year.
- You can save around £28 a year by using your washing machine more carefully. Wash your clothes at 30°C. Most detergents are designed to work well at 30°C and lower, so unless there’s a specific reason why it needs to be a high temperature, you should avoid it. Cut down your washing machine use by one run per week.
- Don't tumble dry your clothes.
Save energy when you freeze food
- Defrost your freezer regularly to keep it running efficiently.
- Keep your fridge at five degrees or less to help keep food fresh for longer.
- Make there’s a least a 10cm (4 inch) gap behind your fridge to let heat flow away easily.
- Never put hot food directly into the fridge or freezer, allow it to cool on the side first.
- Don’t hold the door open for an extended time as it’ll have to work harder to cool the temperature afterwards.
Move your sofa
- Big furniture close to your radiator can stop heat reaching the room. Move them an inch or two away for better air circulation and your rooms will be warm and cosy much faster.
Check your curtains and blinds
- In summer, keep curtains and blinds closed in the hotest part of the day to keep the heat out. In winter, open your curtains and blinds during the day to allow any sun to heat the room naturally.
- In summer, open your curtains and blinds at sunset to let cooler air in. In winter, close curtains and blinds to keep the warmth in the room and reduce the amount of heat lost through the window.
- Make sure long curtains don’t cover radiators – you can tuck them behind the radiator instead.
- If you’re buying new curtains, look for thick materials and linings. Or if you’re crafty, you could try sewing an additional lining to your existing curtains.
Think 'lights and doors' when moving between rooms
- Always turn your lights off when you leave a room, even if it’s just for a minute.
- Be conscious of how many lights you have switched on and whether you need them all on.
- In winter, if you’re briefly leaving a warm room, close the door behind you to keep the warmth in the room. A closed door can also help reduce draughts and make you feel warmer.
Check your thermostat setting
- Reducing your room temperature by 1°C can lower your heating bill by 10% and you probably won’t feel any difference.
- You can keep lowering it by 1°C a day until you start to feel a bit too cold – then turn it back up by 1°C. This is your lowest comfortable temperature. For most people this is between 18°C and 21°C.
- If you’re elderly, infirm or have a heart or respiratory health condition, then you should heat your home to at least 18°C.
- Heating your home is important to avoid a build-up of damp. You can read more tips on this as well as how to report it on our condensation, damp and mould page.
Use radiator foils to keep heat in during winter months
- Place foil radiator panels behind any radiator that is on an external wall. The panel will reflect the heat from the radiator back into the room, instead of losing it through the wall.
- Foil radiator panels can be purchased from DIY stores and online for under £10 per radiator and can help reduce heat loss by up to 45%.
Tackle problem draughts
- Most houses lose heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps in the floor, up the chimney or through keyholes and letter boxes. Draughts also make you feel cold, which could mean you need to keep the heating on for longer or at a higher temperature.
- The best way to tackle draughts is to install draught excluders (foam strips or brushes) around problem gaps, which can be bought from DIY stores. However, there're cheaper ways, including rolling up newspaper or towels and putting them under doors.
- Make sure you never cover air vents, which are needed to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and damp.