Ten ways to save on energy
Check out these top tips for keeping those energy bills down.
I've become an energy saving obsessive, frantically turning off lights and appliances the second they're not needed and berating my husband for daring to charge his mobile phone during the day. And who says finance writers aren't fun to live with?
Of course, energy saving is something we could all benefit from, both from a money saving and environmental point of view - so here are some quick tips that I've gathered from sources such as Friends of the Earth that could help to keep those energy bills down.
Switch to a shower
If you can switch to having a shower instead of a bath, you could save about 40 litres of water each time - that's a lot of hot water. But make sure if you have a power shower that you turn the pressure right down as they can use even more water than a bath. And if you're putting in a new sink, consider fitting spray taps - they use far less water.
They do cost a bit more, but according to the Energy Saving Trust, each bulb can save you £9 over the course of a year (or £100 over the lifetime of the bulb as they last up to 12x longer too). In fact, if we all fitted just one of these lightbulbs, Scottish Power reckons we could save enough electricity to power lighting in three million homes for a year! Cheap energy saving lightbulbs can often be found in Wilkinson's and Lidl.
Turn it down
If you can turn down your thermostat by one degree Celsius you could save up to £40 per year. Go on, put another jumper on! And don't forget to ensure radiators aren't being blocked by furniture or curtains.
And while you're at it, turn down the thermostat on your hot water tank to 60°C. The water will be more than hot enough and it'll save you an extra tenner a year.
Wash it colder
It's not rocket science: washing clothes at 30°C can save 40% more energy than washing at 40°C.
As we all know, heat rises, so make sure that loft is well insulated or you'll be literally pouring money through the roof! You could be eligible for free loft insulation - find out more in How to get free cavity wall and loft insulation
Do as I do and switch off and unplug all appliances that aren't being used. According to Friends of the Earth, 85% of the energy used by a DVD player is wasted when it is on standby. And don't forget that equipment when fully charged continues to draw electricity - so unplug that mobile phone/camera/electric toothbrush etc.
Don't do as I do and spend ages pondering the contents of the fridge with the door wide open (each minute a fridge door is left open takes three minutes to cool back down again). And remember to let food cool before putting into the fridge. Freezers also benefit from being kept in a cool room, such as a garage.
Try to match the ring size on your cooker to the size of pan it is heating - you'll waste less energy. If you need to simmer something for a while, most cookers have small ring for this purpose. And don't forget that by putting a lid on saucepans the contents will heat faster and save energy.
Switch your tariff
And don't forget the biggie - there can be major savings to be made by switching gas and electricity supplier if you haven't done so for a while. Get some recent bills together and compare gas and electricity suppliers to see how much you could save.
Energy Saving grants
Finally, you may not realise it but the government and many local authorities offer grants in order to help us implement energy saving measures. Check out the Energy Saving trust grant search tool, or call 0800 512 012 and find out if there are any grants in your area that you could be entitled to.
This is a classic lovemoney article that has been updated