With energy prices already having risen 54% in the spring, they’re set to rise even further next month. Although the cost-of-living crisis hits households in many other ways, energy now seems to be the biggest cost of all.

So what can you do to reduce your energy bills? There’s lots of information out there, with many of the obvious ones covered, so we’re going to highlight some of the not-so-obvious and also bust some of the myths too…

Easy wins

Using the eco cycle:
Have you ever noticed that the eco cycles on a machine take about 3 times longer? You’re probably wondering how that can be more efficient than a quick wash… well, it’s to do with soaking. A long wash will soak the clothes for longer, only turning the drum every now and again, whereas a quick wash will have to vigorously turn and spin the drum to wash the clothes instead. This applies to a dishwasher too.

The recipe says to ‘pre-heat the oven’?
In almost all cases, pre-heating the oven isn’t necessary unless the recipe requires a consistent temperature (like certain baking). Warming an oven takes around 2.5kw/h of power during the heating process and that increases the time the more the door is open. Putting your food in at the same time as you switch on will save you around 10% of the energy compared to pre-heating. You just need to cook the food for a little longer, but as the oven is already hot, it won’t use that much more energy. Once you’ve skipped the pre-heating a few times, you’ll develop a feel for how much longer the cooking time will be.

Check your tariff and use your timers:
Many people are on tariffs with cheaper rates at night and don’t even realise it, which can be as much as 4 times less. Most washing machines and dishwashers now come with timers so use them! It’s so easy to think… ‘Oh don’t worry about it; it won’t make much difference’ but it can and does… as much as 40%.

Paper test your rubber seals:
If your cooker and fridge-freezer doors aren’t sealed properly, you are literally throwing money out the window 24/7. Take a piece of paper and shut it in the doors in several places and see how easy it is to remove (please ensure you do this when the oven is off!). These are so cheap to replace and you can often do them yourself so no call-out charges!

90 degree washes:
We’re all told to use 30 and 40 degree washes now to save energy; but long term that can cause your washing machine to build up with limescale and undissolved powders. This causes water restrictions meaning the machine has to work harder. Run an empty 90 degree wash every now and then and pop in a limescale remover if you’re in a hard-water area.

LEDs
You don’t need to change all your light fittings to save energy. You now only need to change the bulb itself. If you’ve still got some of the old fashioned 40, 60, 100W lightbulbs then you’re wasting energy. Most LEDs use around 6w… compare that to 40 or 60 x the amount of lights in your home…?

TV standby myth:
We still keep reading new articles that say turning off your TV instead of leaving it on standby can save up to £50 a year. That’s no longer the case unless you have one of the old pre-digital TVs that aren’t LEDs/LCDs. Most TVs use around 10-150w while they are on (depending on size and whether it’s LCD or LED)… and barely anything on standby (approx. 0.5w). It’s plasmas you need to look out for… these can be as much as 200-600w whilst on!

Boiling away the watts:
Boil a full kettle costs 4 times more than enough water for 2 cups. Times that by 4 times a day over the year and that’s nearly £90 compared to £22!

Boil water before cooking:
As long as you use the correct amount of water, it’ll save you 80% of the cost by boiling water for a saucepan, over heating it from cold on the hob.

Slowly does it:
Slow cookers are much cheaper to run that ovens. Use between 75 – 150 watts of electricity on low and 150 – 210 watts on high, the appliance can cook all day, but use the same amount of energy as a 100w light bulb (not that you’ll be using one of those any more after reading our tips above!) In our opinion, food cooked in a slow cooker is also much tastier than the same dish in the oven or hob!

 

Long term gains

Us telling you to buy a new appliance might sound like a sales ploy, but if you have old appliances that have a high energy consumption, some of the new appliances can return your investment in as little as 2 years!

So, if the above is a possibility or you just happen to be in the market for a new appliance, then the following will be good advice!

Tumble-dryer users, take note!
If you’re a heavy tumble-dryer user, whether it be due to having a large family or limited space then getting a heat pump tumble-dryer is a big win. For the sake of approx. £100 more for the machine, it’ll save you a whopping 65% of the energy!

Extend the life of your fresh produce:
Although not saving energy, it is saving on your food waste. Beko and Bosch have introduced innovative 3 colour light technology in the crisper drawer of fridges to cleverly mimic the 24-hour sun cycle, preserving vitamins in fruits and vegetables for longer – apparently by up to 30%!

Induction V Ceramic:
They might look the same but buying an induction hob over ceramic can save you over 10% energy as it only heats the area that the pan is on, not the whole ring. With prices now coming down, it’s a no-brainer for a family or household that does a lot of cooking.