Energy saving advice

Energy saving advice

With rising water and energy bills and dangerous weather conditions making life difficult for people in 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

  • The less water you use, the less energy you use to heat the hot water and the lower your energy bills will be. 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 five-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 reduce the number of times you use the washing machine, saving water and energy.
  • 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 any discomfort.  
  • It's no longer necessary to pre-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.
  • 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.

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 you £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 and use a cooker ring that is the right size for the pan.
  • 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.
  • Defrost your freezer regularly to keep it running efficiently.

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 wintern 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 purchased from DIY stores. However, there are cheaper ways, including rolling up newspaper or towels and putting them under doors.
  • Make sure you never cover air vents, which are necessary to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and damp.