Summertime is a great time to save energy in our homes, as we’re less reliant on household appliances and tend to spend more time outdoors. With the cost of living crisis, increasing inflation and interest rates, and rapidly rising energy costs, we’re all becoming much more conscious about the energy we use at home. Whilst using energy efficiently all year round is important, small changes you can make to reduce your energy consumption in the summertime can make a difference too, not only saving you money which is great for your bank account, but also helping to reduce your carbon footprint. Great for the environment too, so a double win! In this blog, we share our top tips for saving costs on energy whilst keeping cool – and with the hot weather set to return this coming weekend, that’s a top priority for all of us!
Be wise with water!
We all use water in our day-to-day activities, and with the recent heatwave water suppliers have struggled to cope with the increased demand. Whilst this last week many of us have been using water to cool us down and water our gardens, according to the Energy Savings Trust, approximately 20% of annual heating bills are down to heating water. There’s lots we can do to save water, such as putting a full load in the washing machine or dishwasher and choosing the eco setting, fitting a flush-saver in your toilet, turning the tap off when brushing your teeth and showering instead of bathing. You may want to consider fitting a water-saving shower head. And according to Yorkshire Water, spending one minute less in the shower each time saves lots of water. They’ve created a ‘shower playlist’ full of 4-minutes songs to help you time your shower – one song per shower. What a great way to save water and help the environment too!
If your water is scalding hot, adjusting your oil central heating boiler’s temperature setting and turning it down will lower the amount of heating oil you use. As a guide, having your temperature set between 60 and 65 degrees Celsius is generally comfortable for most people.
Keep cool with fans:
The record high temperatures we’ve experienced this week, with the temperature exceeding 40 degrees Celsius in some areas of the UK according to the Met Office, have left many of us reaching for fans to keep us cool as our homes have been exasperatingly hot.
However, keeping windows closed during the day when temperatures are high, and using blinds and curtains (or even tin foil to line your windows) to block out direct sunlight, then opening your windows at night when temperatures drop to allow the cooler air to circulate indoors, can help you save energy by making you less reliant on energy-consuming fans. Whilst our first instinct is to throw open our windows in hot weather, this could actually make matters worse as you’re letting the warm air into your home by doing so. But if you can’t manage without your fan, one tip to keep cool is to place a bucket of ice in front of it so it acts like a homemade air conditioning unit. As the air blown from the fan passes over the ice, it will be chilled and circulate cold air around your room.
Switch off appliances:
Do you leave your TV on standby? Or leave your mobile phone or laptop charging even when fully loaded? Or leave your toaster and kettle plugged in? Even in standby mode, devices continue to drain electricity – this is what’s known as your ‘phantom load’. A phantom load is any energy that an appliance or device consumes whilst turned off. And whilst there are some devices we all choose to leave running, such as obvious examples like fridges and freezers, remembering to switch off other devices at the plug can make a substantial saving on energy costs over the year. According to the Energy Savings Trust, potentially a typical three-bedroomed house could save £55 a year by switching off appliances rather than leaving them on standby.
Whilst it isn’t always affordable to change old and low-rated appliances, when the time does come it’s worth you checking any new appliance for its energy efficiency label. Every appliance will have been assessed based on its energy efficiency, with ratings marked on a scale from A to G, with A rated appliances being the more efficient. According to LoveEnergySavings.com, an A-rated washing machine will cost less than half that of a G-rated washing machine to run, so a considerable saving on energy costs can be made by choosing wisely.
Invest in LED light bulbs:
Consider replacing all the light bulbs in your home with LED ones. Whilst LED’s are more expensive than standard light bulbs, they do last longer and will help lower electricity bills by up to £55 a year as they are capable of producing a large amount of light at a low wattage. Furthermore, the Energy Savings Trust states that they can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by up to 40KG a year, which ‘is the equivalent to the carbon monoxide emitted by driving your car around 145 miles’. And they have useful advice on choosing the right light bulb to help with saving costs on energy.
Of course, getting into the habit of turning lights off when you leave a room costs nothing to do, but over time saving costs on energy will result in the pennies adding up.
- Forget about your tumble dryer - if you have a garden, back yard or even a balcony, make the most of the warmer summer weather and let the fresh air flow through your laundry for that unbeatable feel and fresh smell of line-dried clothes.
- Be careful with that kettle and avoid over-filling - think ‘how many cuppas am I making’ and fill to the level you need. The more water you boil, the more energy you use. You may even want to consider buying a smaller, more energy efficient kettle.
- Use your microwave more – it’s quicker than using your oven or stove, and uses less energy as it only heats your food, not the air around it. Or you could invest in a slow-cooker, one of the most energy-efficient kitchen appliances.
- Defrost your fridge to keep it working efficiently - an efficient fridge uses less enegy!
- Use bigger pans - a small amount of liquid on a large surface takes less time and therefore less energy to heat. And always put the pan lid on. The contents of the pan will boil faster and heat your food quicker.
- Don't open the oven door repeatedly - opening the door lets the hot air out, slows cooking and wastes energy.
So with the warmer weather and extra daylight hours, it’s a great time for all of us to start changing our habits and start reducing our energy consumption without compromising on our comfort levels at home, whilst at the same time keeping a few more pennies in our pockets. And as the saying goes, 'look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves'.
And one final tip - before the colder weather sets in this Autumn, we would recommend you have your boiler serviced by an OFTEC registered oil heating engineer for efficiency and safety. Ensuring it runs at it maximum efficiency will lower your heating oil bills and help prevent potential breakdowns in the busy winter months ahead!