As the cost-of-living crisis shows no sign of slowing, we are all looking for ways to save money. One of the best ways to tighten our purse strings is to reduce energy consumption at home.
Whilst there are many big changes we can make to our homes to make a real difference, there are plenty of small things we can do that will all play a part in reducing energy consumption.
Every little change we make helps!
How to Reduce Energy Consumption
Inflation is higher than 10% for the first time in 40 years, primarily driven by rising food and fuel prices. This means that our living situation is responsible for our home’s major costs.
After your mortgage or rent, heating and electricity bills are likely to be your highest monthly expenditure. Therefore, reducing your energy use in the home is a good place to start if you want to substantially lower your spending.
You can also do your bit for the environment while saving money by implementing these updates in 2023.
There are several ways we can reduce energy consumption at home. The obvious methods are reducing power by turning lights off when not needed, not filling our kettles up to the max every time we want to make 1 cup of tea, and turning appliances off at the sockets.
We can also help reduce energy consumption by keeping windows and doors shut to stop cold air from getting in and turning down our heating a degree or two.
However, to make a real saving by reducing energy consumption, we need to invest in our home infrastructure and fix any problems that could be costing us more.
Upgrade your Heating System
With the government removing financial support for energy bills in April, now is a great time to upgrade your heating system to make it more efficient. The better your system works to heat your home, the smaller your bills will be.
There are several different options for homeowners seeking to upgrade their heating systems and help reduce energy consumption.
The most straightforward method is to replace an old traditional boiler with a compact combi-boiler for more efficient performance. This is also a great space-saver.
For smaller properties, you could look into electric boilers which ensure minimal waste but are only suited to homes with low demand for central heating and hot water.
Modern eco-technology is also available if you are in a position to invest in long-term benefits such as being more sustainable at home and reducing energy consumption.
Solar panels and eco-friendly heating systems such as air source heat pumps require significant outlay. However, a commitment to using renewable energy to power your home will guarantee substantial savings over time.
Improve Your Home Insulation
Making your heating system more efficient has little point if your home is not designed to retain warmth. Around 65% of UK homes fail to meet energy efficiency targets meaning that residents are spending more than they should need to heat their property.
Take steps to improve insulation in your home to prevent heat from leaking out too quickly. As well as ensuring your windows are double or triple-glazed, consider adding extra barriers such as weather-sealing strips and blocking any unwanted gaps in your windows, doors, chimneys, and floors.
You should also investigate the insulation in your roof and add more if needed as this is where most home heat escapes from. Another way to check your home is adequately insulated is to check your walls have cavity wall insulation.
If your windows are not double or triple-glazed, but you currently cannot afford to replace them, how about looking at getting thermal curtains or blinds installed?
Whilst thermal curtains will never be as good as upgrading your windows, they do help with insulation. They help to trap cold air between the window and the curtain and if they are installed correctly, prevent the cold from entering the room.
In turn, this means you may be able to turn down the temperature on your radiator slightly which helps towards reducing energy consumption in the home.
Reduce Your Water Waste
In addition to considering your use of electricity and fuel, you should also investigate ways to reduce water waste. This can involve making changes to your plumbing such as fixing leaking taps, installing a low-flow shower head, and fitting out your toilet with a dual-flush system.
It could also include changes to the way that you use water in the home, such as turning off the tap while you brush your teeth, cutting short your showers, and opting for fewer baths.
When it comes to reducing your home’s energy consumption, tapping into the expertise of a professional plumber can pay dividends. An experienced plumber has the knowledge to identify issues that negatively impact your energy efficiency, from detecting leaks in your water lines to fixing leaking taps and inspecting the integrity of insulation wrapping around hot water pipes.
Turning Down Your Radiator Temperatures
Turning your radiators down in rooms you don’t use to between 2.5 to 3 on the valve (around 18 degrees) can help you save around £70 a year. Don’t turn radiators off completely in rooms you don’t use as the boiler will have to work harder to get these rooms warm again when you need to heat them.
Keeping the radiators ticking over and the room at a comfortable heat level will help with energy consumption in the long run.
Turning Off or Lowering Energy Use on Appliances
Appliances in the home can also be a huge energy consumer, but by making small changes in how you use them, you can help save money overall. By dropping the temperature from 40 degrees down to 30 degrees on washing machines when you wash your clothes, you could end up saving around £40 a year.
Using a cooler temperature uses a lot less energy, but does not make a huge difference in whether it cleans your clothes.
Using your tumble dryer less is one of the best ways to reduce your energy consumption. It is well known that tumble dryers are energy intensive, so try to dry your clothes (when possible) outside on a washing line or a clothes airer.
Always try to fill the tumble dryer so that it is around 3/4 full, which means you will use it less in the long run. But, don’t overfill it as it will take longer for your clothes to dry!
Finally, turn off all appliances at the plug when they are not in use. Even when appliances like washing machines and TVs are not being used, they are still drawing down power from your electricity supply!
Reduction of energy consumption in the home is not only good for our bank balance, but it also reduces the demand for fossil fuels and, in turn, lowers the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Can smart home devices help save energy?
Yes, smart home devices like smart thermostats, smart lights, and energy monitors can help save energy by allowing you to control and optimize your home’s energy usage more efficiently, reducing power, and can all be done remotely through a smartphone app.
Is it more energy-efficient to use a dishwasher or wash dishes by hand?
Modern, energy-efficient dishwashers are generally more water and energy-efficient than washing dishes by hand, especially if you run full loads and avoid the “heated dry” option.
Can window treatments really help save energy?
Yes, window treatments such as blinds, shades, and curtains can help control the amount of sunlight entering your home, reducing heat gain during summer and heat loss during winter, which in turn can reduce your heating and cooling needs.
Is it worth replacing old appliances with new, energy-efficient models?
Yes, replacing old, inefficient appliances with newer, energy-efficient models can lead to significant energy savings over time and help with reducing energy consumption. Look for appliances with the ENERGY STAR label, which signifies they meet energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.