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17th September 2018
Energy bills are an inevitable monthly outgoing for us all. You flick on a light, you curl up on the sofa to watch your favourite boxset, and you plug in your phone to charge it up: day in, day out, you and your family rely on electricity. But by being more aware of how your household consumes energy, you can begin to make small changes which help reduce the amount you’re paying out each month. Simply put, it’s about getting into the right habits.
Light The Way for Less
Throughout the winter months as the nights draw in early, lighting is an ideal way to keep your home cosy. However, be aware that light bulbs burn up more energy than you may think - especially if you’re still using traditional incandescent styles, referred to as Edison bulbs. Save money by getting into the habit of only lighting rooms which are being used, switching off lights as you leave to prevent wasted power.
Likewise, consider replacing incandescent bulbs for more modern LED (light emitting diode) bulbs. These consume much less energy and provide the added benefit of safer lighting: since LED’s don’t get as hot as incandescent bulbs, they are less of a fire hazard.
Whilst LED’s may not be suitable for rooms used only briefly (such as bathrooms) given that they take a few minutes to reach their maximum brightness, they are ideal for rooms which are always bustling! Try them in your kitchen and living room for a cheaper lighting option.
Standby Drains Power
When you switch off your TV via the remote control, you’ll usually see a small LED light which remains on. This is telling you that the TV is on standby: despite not being used, it is still contributing to your energy bill in the form of ‘standby power.’
In fact, this is the case for a variety of electrical appliances and equipment - but there is often no obvious sign that they’re on standby. The simple way to avoid this is to switch off the mains supply or unplug electrical devices from the wall - especially those which you use infrequently - to ensure that they are not using power when they're not in use.
Keeping your home warm in the cold winter months is essential, but this doesn't mean that every room needs a radiator on full heat 24/7. It is no surprise that more radiators turned on full requires more energy to heat up, so be selective! For rooms which are used less frequently, decide carefully when (or whether!) you need to switch on radiators. For instance, bedrooms tend to need heating in the evening and morning time, but not throughout the day.
Turning off individual radiators, where heat is not necessary, as well ensuring that the central heating system is switched off once your home is warm, will help to reduce the amount of energy that your household consumes.
Keep Winter Outside
Colder winter weather can mean unwelcome draughts creep under doors and through windows. A quick and efficient way to keep your home warmer and cosier is to prevent this from happening.
Sealing windows, doors, floorboards, and loft hatches can be a DIY job or, if you’re a little unsure, you can pay to get this done professionally. In the long run, draught-proofing your home will ensure that cold air is kept out whilst air warmed by your central heating system is kept inside.
Many items of clothing can be washed at cool temperatures, and doing so means less power is required to heat the water within your washing machine. Where possible, set your machine to wash at 30 degrees Celsius, and always ensure that you wash items in bulk rather than in small amounts. You need to leave some room in the washing machine drum so that your clothes can move around and be washed effectively, but for the sake of economy, your washing machine should always be at least half full.
Once washed, make use of the multiple radiators that are currently heating your house. Laundry will dry quickly when hung close to radiators, and this is an easy way to reduce your use of the tumble dryer - a main culprit when it comes to high monthly energy bills.
Help Your Home to Be Energy Efficient
Once you’ve paid to heat your home, you’re going to want it to stay that way: insulation is vital for this. Insulate your loft, walls and hot water tank to ensure that heat stays where it’s needed, and you’ll soon find that heating your home becomes cheaper. Help rooms to retain their heat by ensuring that doors are always closed: this will make your home feel warm long after your heating goes off.
Likewise, to maximise the heat from your radiators, consider installing reflector panels: these help to reflect the heat back into a room rather than allowing it to escape, meaning that your home stays warmer for longer - and for less. What’s more, you will be able to turn down your thermostat: since cold draughts have been eliminated and your home can retain its heat. A slightly lower, unchanging overall temperature will now suffice.
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