"Turn those lights off!'
Do you sound like your parents used to? Maybe there's wisdom in those words echoing down the years.
Maybe you've got cash to throw around and you don't care about wasting money on energy. Good for you buster.
For the rest of us, saving money on some unnecessary expenses probably makes some sort of sense. Right?
Let's talk about how we can get that energy meter ticking over a bit slower. We all want the eMail from the energy company saying something like:
"Hey, my customer, we've reviewed your monthly payment. We hate to admit it, but looks like you're paying us way too much. We can't justify keeping it in our bank account earning us interest any longer. We're gritting our teeth and suggesting you reduce your monthly payment."
How do you get your kids to think about the electricity meter or your partner to "shut the door, can't you?"?
Well energy efficiency's a dull subject I guess. Is it? Is it? Really?
Let's say your direct debit to Fat Cat Bluster Bluster Shareholder Shareholder Energy Company is £100 a month. Whoah hang on a minute you're thinking, mine's £150!
Let's meet in the middle. You're passing over £125 of your hard earned cash every month to a an energy company that's just getting richer and richer, at your expense.
Not right is it. That wasn't a question.
How can you get the rest of your housemates to buy into saving some of this cash reaching the Werther filled pockets of the chairman of the board?
Image him taking your cash unnecessarily. Eugh, enough to make you shudder.
So how else can you motivate the household if that image isn't enough?
Let's imagine you can save 15 - 20% of your energy bill a month. Could be you've got an extra £25 a month sitting in your back pocket, or £250 a year.
Depending what floats your boat, that's a takeaway a month or 250 Prochive Bib Catcher Bathroom Grooming Suction Cups Beard Care Trimmer Hair Shave Aprons. I know. (Price correct at 18th June 2020)
With all that in mind, here's some strategies to keep money in your account and not being siphoned off towards that hydrogen powered yacht the old boy has got his greedy eyes lazily eyeing up.
Switch it Off
If you're not using it, turn it off. Standby uses electricity. Seriously, standby uses more power than you might imagine. For example a Greenage study calculated that a single modern TV left on standby would use £1.23 a year. An older TV (prior to the legislation limiting standby power consumption to 1W per hour) could use up to £15 per year. Now calculate that across every appliance you leave on standby.
Not a pretty picture. Mr. Fat Cat Bluster Bluster is drooling at the thought.
Unless You're A Vampire - Use Sunlight
It's a given that we love infrared heat at Jigsaw and we encourage you to make the most of the biggest natural infrared heater we've got. The sun.
That big infrared heater up there is also going to warm up your house.
You like it hot and steamy?
"You nearly finished in there?"
Who doesn't love a hot steamy shower? Don't believe you. Anyway, heating up your water uses a lot of energy. How about washing clothes at a lower temperature so you can carry on steaming up the shower door? Others ways to save money on heating water: turn off your hot tap while soaping the dishes or washing your hands.
Is your fridge efficient?
It works all the time, but is it working harder than necessary? Kids left the door open? Again. Stick the rule on the door - SHUT THE FRIDGE. Also a bit of urban slang to make the kids smile. Once.
If the fridge door is difficult to shut, maybe there's a problem. Hinges gunged up, heavy stuff in the door, you get the idea. Easily fixed and it will save you money.
Is the temperature you've got the chill set to, too low? Make sure it's just right.
Use a smart thermostat
Control. Don't heat empty rooms. Most heating controls are old fashioned and encourage inefficient use of your heating. Replace the control with something smarter. What makes it smart? Control and flexibility.
The best thermostats will allow you to control individual rooms to the temperatures you need in those spaces.
Little Billy's all grown up and at Uni now. Why are you still heating his room when he's out splashing his uni fund up the wall at the back of the Dog and Duck.
Dry your clothes out in the open
Maybe I'm showing my age, but when I was growing up people used to get their underwear stolen off the washing line. What happened to all the knicker thieves? Whatever, it's safer to hang your clothes outside to dry now. I think.
Try it, it's healthier for the house and fresher for your clothes. You'll save a shed load of money by not using the dryer. Just keep a look out for shadowy figures wearing full length macs.
Keep your doors closed
Shut the fridge, shut the front door, hey, shut all the doors.
If you heat the home with convection heat, you're going to use a LOT more energy if you leave the doors open. If you don't know why, here's the low down on the difference between convection and infrared heating.
A simple strategy to save money you can put in place immediately. Do like Teddy says, Close the door.
Quick & Simple tips
- Turn down your thermostat, with infrared heating you’ll do this naturally because all the surfaces will be warmer. 1ºC lower on the thermostat translates as a 6% saving.
- Sunshine! Make the most of it sunshine!
- Have you got the best deal on your gas and electric costs? It’s easy to check and easy to switch to a better deal if you need to. There are a number of comparison sites available. Mr. Google can point you in the right direction.
- Get yourself an outdoor clothes dryer, hang up the washing instead of tumble drying, you’ll save a pretty penny.
- How about an extra blanket on the bed (or an extra cuddle) rather than having the heating on while you sleep?
- Room thermostats. Every room has different heating requirements, a thermostat in each room means that your heating system will be working efficiently and specifically as required.
- Cavity wall insulation, if you’ve not done it yet, bear in mind that around 1/3 of the heat lost in an uninsulated house disappears out through the walls!
- Solid wall insulation – just because you’ve got solid walls doesn’t mean you can’t insulate. You can add either external wall or internal wall insulation
- How about the floors? Gaps and draughts around skirting boards are a simple fix. Arm yourself with a tube of sealant (available from all DIY stores). Other draught proofing measures are equally important, a big gap under the doors, easily remedied with a fabric ‘sausage’ or a ‘brush’ that you can get from a DIY store. It’s worth noting that in a typical home around 20% of the heat loss is through poor ventilation and draughts…
- Loft insulation is quite often supported with a grant from your local authority, they may even come out and do the job for you. It’s worth checking. If not, it’s a relatively inexpensive thing to do. Make sure you don’t fall through the ceiling!
- Hot water cylinder and pipework. All modern hot water cylinders will be supplied with either the blown foam insulation already there, or with a lagging jacket. If you’ve got an old cylinder make sure you put it in a jacket! Insulate the hot pipes wherever you can, you can get pipe insulation from the DIY store, it’s cheap and easy to do.
- Keep your freezer full. A full freezer will use less energy than an empty one. Why's that? Glad you asked, if the freezer is empty, every time you open it, the space will fill with warm air. No empty space = no wasted energy cooling down warm air.
- Finally, hot water temperatures. Your hot water cylinder / boiler shouldn’t really be set at more than 65C that’s plenty hot enough and just a few degrees drop on your setting will save you some of that cold hard cash. Make sure your boiler is efficient
What's that? You want more energy saving tips? How about checking out the Greenage's 100 ways to save energy in the home...
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