How to Save on household Electricity Bills

This article gives seven tips to help save electricity in your home, after an analysis of energy use in an average house. It concludes by looking at how much can be saved per person, per year, so if you are keen to cut those bills, read on!

Energy use

With energy bills set to rise and winter upon us, making some simple changes to the way a house operates can save money over the colder months. The average household spends around £1,277 on heating and power according to Ofgem, the industry regulator. Our use of electrical items has increased over recent years; the average home, with four occupants, now uses 13 electrical appliances whereas in 1990 just four items were used, according to an Energy Consumption in the UK (ECUK) 2017 report. Despite this, we are using around the same amount of energy as our equipment has become more energy efficient.

The top five energy consuming appliances are dishwashers and washing machines; consumer electronic items such as laptops/TVs; cookers; fridge-freezers and lighting. They account for 25% of a household’s electrical use and can often be used more sparingly. When replacing electrical goods, it is important to select energy efficient products: most display energy labels, A+++ being the highest and F-G the lowest.

7 key ways to save you money:  

1. Washing machines and dishwashers account for 10% of a home’s energy bills. Wash clothes at a lower temperature – selecting 30°C or 20°C can use around 57% less electricity than higher temperatures. Avoid half loads, wash clothes less frequently and clean the washing machine’s filter regularly to prolong life. Only use a dishwasher when it is full and select the eco setting if available.

2. Electronics: TVs and laptops account for 19% of the total electrical use in an average household. Avoid recharging mobile phones and other devices to 100%; most will last longer if the battery is half charged.

3. Kitchen items account for 19% of an average household’s electrical use. Energy saving measures include filling a kettle with just the amount of water that is needed; heat water in a kettle for cooking rather than heating it on the hob and cover pans as water will boil faster, using less energy.

4. Cold appliances: fridge-freezers account for 16% of electrical use and while they obviously must stay switched on, it is important not to overload them. Maintain the fridge temperature at 5°C and regularly defrost both sections.

5. Lighting accounts for 16% of household electricity. Replacing halogen bulbs with LED bulbs can save energy as well as regular energy saving bulbs.

6. Bathroom: if a shower takes hot water straight from a boiler or hot water tank (not an electric shower), fit a water efficient shower head to reduce hot water usage.

7. Heating: a boiler should be energy efficient, with heating controls which allow hot water and heating timers to be set to heat only the required areas, setting the temperature for each area. Installing a room thermostat, a programmer and thermostatic radiator valves could save around £70 per year if used efficiently.

The savings that can be made per person, per year, according to the Energy Saving Trust, include:

• Turning off standby switches: £35. Almost all electrical appliances can be turned off without interrupting their setting.

• Fitting a water efficient shower: £30.

• Draught proofing door and windows: £25 (for a 4-person household).

• Turning a room thermostat down by 1%: £55.

• Replacing all bulbs with LEDs: £30.

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