Tried and tested ways to reduce energy usage at home

Since the pandemic, both Mr H and I have worked from home so our energy usage has increased over the last couple of years. We’ve had to power our laptops and monitors and of course, the kettle has been put through its paces too. However, with energy prices going up significantly from April 2022 I’ve been looking at ways to reduce our usage.

We switched over to a Smart Meter around a year ago so we have a monitor that will show us just how much gas and electricity we are using on a daily basis. Before I started trying to reduce our usage, we were using on average around £5/6 a day on both gas and electric. Since putting in these new measures below we have now got this down to around £4 a day – saving of £1-2 a day which is £30-£60 a month! Obviously, these figures will change now that the price increase has hit but I am pleased that by just making small changes we’ve been able to reduce our usage.

Here are the things we changed to reduce energy usage at home

Heating

Turn thermostats down, only heat the rooms you need

When the boys are at school, we don’t need to heat the upstairs of our house so we turn the thermostats in all the rooms upstairs to 0, heating just the downstairs to keep us warm. We also lower the thermostats as they don’t all need to be blasted on full power.

turn-thermostat-down

Install Smart heating, turn the temperature down a few degrees

We had Hive installed last year when we upgraded our boiler to a more energy-efficient combi. Having it has meant we can easily schedule the heating to only come on when it dips below a certain temperature. Equally, it will know how long it takes to get the house to a set temperature and will switch off when that temperature has been reached.

Make use of the heat from the oven

Open the oven door after cooking to allow the heat to warm up the kitchen and surrounding rooms.

Water

Don’t wash up using a running tap

I am SO guilty of doing this when washing up but I have now switched to only washing up with a sink full of water.

washing-up

Only use hot water when necessary

For a quick wash of hands, we turn the cold tap on instead of hot to save the boiler coming on using up gas and electric.

Time your showers

We picked up a 4-minute shower timer a while ago when I visited The London Museum of Water and Steam so I’ve been making sure we all try and stick to it so we don’t waste water!

four-minute-shower-timer

There are also a number of water-saving devices (including the shower timer) you can order from your local water company.

Turn off tap when brushing your teeth

The boys are always leaving the tap running when brushing their teeth so we’ve bore it into them to stop doing this.

Appliances

Don’t leave devices on standby, switch off from the mains and make use of smart plugs

swtich-off-mains

Mr H thought I was mad when I went round one evening switching everything that wasn’t in use off. It seems excessive but it really does make a difference. One of the things that cost the most to run on standby is your TV  and also any gaming consoles like Playstations.

We now have the following switched off (unless they are in use of course):

  • Microwave,
  • Kettle
  • Toasters
  • TV
  • Games consoles

For things that are not easy to just switch on and off (such as phone chargers behind bedside tables), I use a smart plug so I can switch them on and off using the app. I am not sure if it saves as much energy as switching off directly from the mains but I figured it was better than being left on!

Use the Eco setting on your washing machine

washing-machine-eco

I am so used to putting my washing on and adjusting the time so it’s the shortest cycle – thinking this was more economical but this actually uses more energy.

If you have an Eco setting on your machine – use this as it does what it says on the tin and is more energy-efficient to use. The eco setting on mine takes 3 and a half hours so I do have to be more organised by making sure I either use the timer to come on at a set time or I pop the wash on first thing in the morning.

If you don’t have an eco setting on your machine, wash your clothes at 30 degrees instead of 40.

Invest in a flask for hot water

flask-for-hot-water

Working from home, you can imagine how often the kettle is boiled for hot drinks. Whilst we do always only fill the kettle to how many cups we need, I worked out that it was costing around 3p each time. Again, this doesn’t sound like much but if were to boil the kettle say 4 times a day, that easily amounts to nearly £4 a month!

Lights

Use energy-efficient bulbs

This has been more of a gradual change over the years but we have replaced all our lights with energy-efficient LED bulbs. They last longer than traditional bulbs and use less electricity.

Other things you can do

  • Turn your combi-boiler onto Eco mode. This stops it from pre-heating water in advance of when you need it (wasting energy)
  • Use blankets to keep warm instead of putting the heating on
  • Only use dishwasher when it’s full
  • Use a slow cooker to cook meals
  • Insulate your loft
  • Keep doors closed to keep heat in
  • Draft proof windows and doors
  • When decorating, consider using Thermal lining paper to retain heat
  • Insulate hot water pipes

Do you have any other energy-saving tips that I’ve not mentioned above? Do share them with me in the comments below!

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