Save Money Monday - Tips to reduce energy costs at home
Jayne, HR Business Partner, shares what she has learnt over the past 18 months as she has been on a mission to reduce energy usage and costs at home.
I’ve been experimenting with ways to save money for approx 18 months (it’s the Yorkshire in me), and with constant news of cost of living and energy rises, which are very worrying, I wanted to take things further.
I’d also like to do my bit to help the environment and some things really do make a difference. Any money I save is can be used to cover other bills,as everything is going up in price again.
One of the appliances that makes my smart meter spin is the tumble dryer.
I try not to use the dryer for everyday items (as I put clothes on a maiden in cooler months now) but I still use the dryer for bed sheets and towels. Often these can take ages to dry, so I invested in some dryer balls.
Dryer balls claim to halve the time it takes items to dry. Usually my thick towels take a good 30 to 40 minutes to fully dry and I’ve got this down to 15-20 minutes using the dryer balls. The brand I use are made out of natural wool rather than plastic. I put them in the dryer with the washing (they can clank around a bit) but they also increase drying time significantly.
And then there's my kettle...
With working from home more often since the pandemic, I noticed my kettle was on more frequently and I seem to use approx 4 to 5p of electricity each time I switch it on.
As a family we could easily use 50p in electricity in a day just on hot drinks and it soon adds up over the month. I now boil the kettle twice a day to fill two large stainless steel thermos flasks with hot water that easily makes ten cups of tea a day. I fill the flasks at around 7am and they are still hot at 7pm.
My oven and hob
I love to cook and used to have my electric oven and electric hob on most days for our meals, but after being obsessed with my smart meter I noticed that I could easily use up to £2 or more a day cooking meals on top of everything else.
I now batch cook during the weekend and freeze portions to microwave using the week. The microwave costs a fraction of the price of putting the oven on. I also steam my vegetables in the microwave to save putting the hob on. This has cut my costs by up to half now. I also use the air fryer for jacket potatoes, chips, wedges, sausages and bacon. It’s been in the news recently that air fryers are cheaper than putting the oven on, and I can confirm that they really are.
Appliances on standby and smartplugs
We have a TV in most rooms with sky boxes, extension leads, Alexa speakers, chargers, and the broadband router. Whilst most appliances are much more eco-friendly nowadays they do still consume a lot of energy over the month.
I’ve bought smart plugs for each extension lead with all appliances plugged into that. I now automatically switch off as I go to bed and switch on before I want to use the appliances the next day. Using smart plugs saves you reaching behind TVs and other equipment in awkward places to switch off at the socket, so it encourages switch off.
My biggest saving has been on heating. I tested this last winter and will be doing the same again this winter, even more so with prices rising again in October.
We have an older gas central heating system and whilst I’ve turned down some radiators in the rooms that are not used very often, my bills were still fairly high with having the heating on, especially with working from home more.
I used to set the heating to come on for a couple of hours in a morning and from teatime until bedtime at around 21 degrees.
After talking to a family friend who had managed to reduce his bills dramatically, he advised to keep the heating ticking over constantly at 14 degrees so it never drops below this, and only raise to 19 degrees when you need it.(Putting warmer clothing on also means we don’t need the thermostat on any higher than 19 degrees – my hubby used to walk around the house in shorts!).
I did notice my bills reduce by about £30 a month when I did this, but then I went one step further to see if I could make a bigger difference and I found that it did.
I went old-school and decided to leave the heating ticking over at 14 degrees all the time and invested in heated electric throws (cost approx £14 each) to put around us when working and watching TV, and an electric blanket for our beds that I switched on an hour before we went to bed (with a smartplug again).
By making this change (albeit drastic to some and not advisable if you are elderly or have babies at home), I managed to shave approximately £70 per month off my gas bill alone. With all the other changes as described above, I reduced my overall gas and electric bills by approx £130 a month.
With prices going up, that £130 will no doubt be consumed by the new rates, but I won’t be any worse off than before I made the changes, which I think is a good position to be in.
There have been lots of articles on news pages about cutting energy costs, so definitely have a read as it’s amazing how many small changes you can take to make a big difference.
- You can read some of our tenants' energy saving tips here: your-top-tips-for-saving-energy/
- For more help and support, visit our new Cost of Living Hub.
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