1. Turn it down! Many households have their central heating set higher than they need it, without even realising it. Try turning your room thermostat down by one degree. Leave it for a day and if you still feel warm enough, try turning it down another degree. Every degree that you turn it down can reduce your heating bill by £65.
2. Turn it off! Make sure you turn your lights, appliances and chargers off when you’re not using them. If you turn a light off for even a few seconds, you will use less energy than it takes the light to start up again, no matter what sort of lights you have. A family home’s bill will be reduced between £50 and £90 a year just by remembering to turn things off, if they don’t already do this.
3. Careful in the kitchen! You can cut another £40 a year just by being careful how you use your kitchen appliances. Set your washing machine to wash at 30°C. Only use your tumble dryer when you can’t dry your clothes outside. Don’t fill your kettle right up every time – just boil the amount of water you need.
4. Get a head! An eco shower head, that is. If you’ve got a shower that takes hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank (rather than an electric shower) then you may be able to fit a water-efficient shower head and cut your hot water use without noticing any difference when you shower. A shower head will cost around £27 and a family of four will see around £75 a year off their water heating, and another £90 on water bills if they have a water meter.
5. Don’t lag behind! Lag your tank instead. If you have an uninsulated hot water cylinder, you could start saving now by fitting a tank jacket. It’s easy to fit yourself, the materials for the whole lot will only cost you around £25, and you’ll be £60 a year better off.
6. Be a draught excluder! Unless your home is very new, you’re likely to be losing some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps around the floor, maybe up a chimney or two, and a whole host of other little holes around the house. So why not buy some proper draught-proofing products for the doors and windows, seal your skirting boards with silicone sealant, and fit chimney draught excluder or sealed fire guards? Depending on your house, materials could cost up to £160 but you could lower bills by £75 a year, so they’ll pay for themselves in less than two years.
7. Lighten your load! Have you changed all your light bulbs for low-energy ones? Even the halogen spots? You can now get LED spotlights that are bright enough to replace halogens, as well as regular energy saving bulbs (‘compact fluorescent lamps’ or CFLs) for pretty much everything else. They will cost around £125 and lower electricity bills by around £60 a year.