Range cooker with cooking pots on top of a gas hob

Top energy saving tips

Once you’re on the cheapest energy plan for your needs, one of the next-best ways to save money on your energy bills is by cutting back on your consumption. These tips can help you get started….

Why save energy?

Aside from the cost-saving benefits, cutting back on your energy consumption in the home is also a great way to do your bit for the environment, so it’s win-win!

Remember, the biggest saving you can make on your energy bills is by using our free gas and electricity comparison service to compare suppliers and switch to a new deal.

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Once you’ve done that, take a look at our energy-saving tips to save even more money on your gas and electricity bills.

Top tips to save energy in the home

Remember, what you’re aiming to do is reduce your energy consumption, which is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWhs) - the unit rate you see on your energy bills is the cost you pay per kWh you use.

There are loads of easy, quick ways to make energy savings which can help you cut back on your consumption. One of the easiest ways is to ensure you turn all appliances - from the microwave to the TV - fully off, rather than leaving them on standby. This will save up to 20% of your appliances’ energy use.

In terms of other energy-saving measures, these can be divided into particular themes, to make them even easier to tackle…

1. Conserving heat and water

Heating costs make up a huge portion of our energy bills, so conserving heat in a sensible way is a great way to make some savings.

  • Think about turning your heating down by one degree - this could knock 10% off your heating bill.
  • Seal off your windows and doors to make sure you’re not losing heat due to draughts.
  • Keep your curtains closed at night to conserve heat, even in empty rooms, and ensure that the curtains don’t hang over the radiators as that will just funnel all your heat out the window.
  • Opt for a shower rather than a bath, but if you have a power shower, try turning down the pressure slightly, so you’re not heating more water than you need.

2. Cooking (and making the tea!)

We spend a lot of our time in the kitchen, and it’s also where a lot of your household’s energy is probably consumed, but there are ways to cut back…

  • Only put as much water as you need in the kettle, so if you’re making a cup of tea for one, don’t fill it to the top.
  • The oven is one of the most expensive appliances in the home to run - using an electric oven can cost around 2 kWhs per hour of cooking - so if you use the oven to reheat food, but you also have a microwave, you would be much better off cost-wise using the microwave for reheating meals.
  • Make sure you preheat your oven for the right length of time so you don’t waste energy, and defrost food before cooking, where possible.
  • Don’t open the oven while your food is cooking, as this will cause the oven to have to reheat itself, which will require a lot of energy.
  • Use ceramic or glass when cooking, as these do not need very high temperatures for cooking and so they’ll work with your oven for maximum efficiency
  • On the hob, make sure you match your pan size to your burner - the closest you can get to a match between the hob and pan size, the less energy you’ll waste.
  • As with the kettle, try to cut back on the water you use when cooking - the more water you add, the slower the cooking process will be. In fact, using a steamer for your vegetables - rather than boiling them - will be even more efficient.
  • Turn down the heat and cover your pans once the food has boiled, so that the heat doesn’t escape while your food is simmering.
  • If you have a slow cooker, use it. These are really energy-efficient, and you have the added bonus of your dinner cooking throughout the day and being ready to eat when you get home.
  • When you’re clearing up after dinner, make sure you only use your dishwasher when it’s full - half loads are not energy efficient.

3. Making sure your fridge-freezer is efficient

Most of us probably don’t think about our fridge-freezer too much, apart from when we’re staring into it looking for something to eat. But ensuring it runs efficiently can be a big help when it comes to saving energy.

  • Try to keep the fridge-freezer out of direct sunlight and away from appliances which generate heat, such as the cooker.
  • Leave a minimum of 10cm between the fridge-freezer and the wall, as this will aid the efficiency of the coils.
  • Keep the coils free from dust - using the hoover on them every few months will suffice - and make sure the seals around the door are clean and working properly.
  • Keep the fridge-freezer at a steady temperature - the fridge should be between 3 and 5°C, while your freezer should be at -18 °C.
  • Make sure food is cool before putting it away in the fridge - placing hot food in the fridge uses up more energy as the fridge attempts to cool the food down.
  • Defrost your freezer regularly to ensure there is no build-up of ice and it can work efficiently.

4. Doing laundry

Laundry is not something any of us want to be spending our time doing, but making a few simple changes can help make the whole process more energy efficient, which is at least a bit of a help.

  • Typically, washing machines with a decent energy rating use around 1 kWh per cycle. Washing at as low a temperature as you can will cut down on the amount of energy used.
  • The dryer is one of the more expensive appliances in our homes, using around 2.5 kWh per hour of drying. It might be an idea to hang clothes first whenever possible and just use the dryer sparingly to finish the drying.

Energy-saving gadgets and tools - spend a little to save a lot

If you’re open to an initial outlay of cash, some energy-saving gadgets and tools can help you cut back even more on your energy bills. For example:

  • A Radiator Booster is designed to move the hot air around the room and away from the radiator and the windows, which ensures you have a consistent even room temperature.
  • Energy-efficient lightbulbs cost a fraction of the cost of traditional lightbulbs to run and could save you between €5.00 - €22.00 a year, depending on the power of the bulb used.
  • Using a solar charger means you can charge your phone for free - simply leave the charger by the window during the day and then plug your phone into the solar charger at night.
  • Installing draft excluders to the bottoms of doors and the back of your letter box will make a noticeable impact on your heating bills.
  • A chimney balloon can stop heat escaping up into your chimney and the cold descending down into your home.
  • Using a lagging jacket and insulation to pipes will keep your water hotter for longer and reduce the amount of time the boiler is on.

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