It’s common knowledge that every household wants to save money on its energy bills. And there are lots of ways for you to do this. Some may require some upfront investment, while others won’t cost you a penny, but may require a little effort and diligence. At Papernest, we love providing energy consumers with useful information on how to save on energy bills. So, without further ado, lets explain some tips that you can use to save on energy bills.
Last update: April 2022
As you may have heard on the news, the UK energy market is currently under an immense amount of stress as a result of a global gas shortage driving up costs and putting several energy suppliers out of business. To learn more about this and stay updated on a daily basis you can read our page on the UK energy crisis.
We strongly believe that finding the right energy supplier and tariff can make all the difference. But when you combine the right tariff with these energy saving tips, it can combine to form a powerhouse of savings.
How to save electricity
Every household is reliant on electricity. But that doesn’t mean that any household should have to pay through the nose for it. Even at a time when most of us are stuck indoors and reliant on our electricity supply to work and stay comfortable (and sane) at home, we can still save money. Here we’ll look at some energy saving ideas that can drive down your bills without affecting your productivity or quality of life.
How much electricity does the average household use?
Do you ever wonder how much your electricity use stacks up against the average household? Understanding how much energy you use can be a useful first step towards making energy savings.
The average household uses around 12,000 kWh of gas and 2,900 kWh of electricity per year. From this, we can work out roughly what the average household spends on electricity like so:
- The average electricity unit cost per kWh is around 14.37p
- Daily standing charges can range between 5p and 60p so let’s assume that the median average is 30p
- First of all, we need to multiply 0.1437 by 2,900 to work out the average annual spend on unit costs, which is £416.73
- To ascertain the cost of standing charges, we need to multiply 0.30 by 365 to get £109.50
If this is far beyond your household’s electricity spend, don’t worry. There are lots of ways to save on electricity.
What are 10 ways to save electricity?
There are lots of opportunities to save energy all over the home. And although we’ll get into some more specific ways to save on your bills, here are 10 surefire ways to save electricity in the home:
- Get rid of any incandescent light bulbs in your home. These waste 90% of the energy they use generating heat in order to generate light. Replace them with LED or CFL bulbs. This can save up to £55 over the lifetime of each bulb.
- Switch off electricity vampires like DVD players, TVs, games consoles etc. at the wall when not in use.
- Find energy-efficient alternatives for your devices. For example, an LED TV uses much less energy than an LCD and 30% as much as a plasma screen.
- Invest in a smart thermostat for your boiler.
- Identify the sources of draughts in your home and block or seal them.
- Only use as much water as you need when putting the kettle on.
- If you have a dual-rate meter, find ways to use more energy during off-peak hours.
- If your home uses electric storage heaters, stay on top of adjusting the settings to compensate for the weather.
- Whenever you leave a room, make sure everything that uses power (including lights) is switched off.
- Charge your phone, laptop, tablet etc. at night when energy is cheaper.
Energy saving tips for your kitchen/bedroom/living room
The above ways to save energy will hopefully be a useful quick reference guide for households looking to save electricity. But in each room of your home, we can also help you to identify potential energy savings. Especially if you use electricity to heat your home, and / or have a dual-rate meter such as economy 7 or economy 10.
Let’s take a closer look…
In the kitchen
Replacing your fridge can make for huge energy savings. An A+++ rated fridge freezer could save up to £110 per year on energy, even when compared to an A rated model. Likewise, your washing machine can use 25% less energy and 40% less water when you buy an energy efficient model.
If you use an electric hob, try heating water in the kettle when boiling veggies, eggs etc. as this could be more efficient than heating water on the hob. Oh, and if you have an electric oven, be sure to keep your oven window clean. Every time you open the oven door, you’re losing money as well as losing heat.
When washing clothes, make sure your washing machine is full every time you use it. A half load can result in wasted energy (and water). What’s more, you’ll find that 30 degrees is more than sufficient for most household washing. Only items that are heavily soiled will need to be washed at 40 degrees or higher.
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In the living room
In the living room, you should keep curtains and blinds open for as long as possible during daylight hours. So you get more free heat and light energy from the sun. When you do need to light your home, make sure that you use either LED or CFL bulbs rather than the wasteful incandescent variety.
Your TV can also make a difference to your energy bills. An LED, OLED or QLED TV can not only give you a better picture, it uses a lot less energy. Make sure the layout of your room is conducive to heat efficiency. For instance, keep furniture away from radiators wherever possible.
It’s also a good idea to keep lamps, or anything else that generates heat away from your thermostat. The heat they generate may seem negligible, but it can cause your boiler to shut off too soon and restart more frequently, costing you more money.
In the bedroom
First of all, it’s best to reduce the usage of TVs and other digital appliances in the bedroom. Not only can they add to your energy bills, the blue light they generate can also prevent restful sleep.
If you have an economy 7 meter, it’s best to charge your phone and other devices during off-peak hours where energy can be up to 50% cheaper. If you have an electric blanket this can cost you around 8-9p per night if left on all night. So make sure you switch it off as soon as you’ve gotten warm and cosy in bed. Otherwise the energy costs will quickly add up.
Does unplugging things save electricity?
It certainly can. Especially if you have a lot of devices that spend much of the day on standby. Things like TVs, games consoles, set-top boxes, DVD and Blu Ray players, all of these devices can add to your electricity bill, even when they’re not in use. This is why they are often referred to as “electricity vampires”. Believe it or not, some devices can use up to 80% as much energy on standby as they do when active. So it’s always a good idea to switch these off at the wall when not in use. Or plug them into a smart strip that will shut them down instead of leaving them on standby.
Even something as simple as this can save up to £68 per year on your energy bill.
How to save gas
Many homes rely on gas for heating and cooking. There are lots of ways in which you can save on gas and cut down the cost of heating at home, with a combination of due diligence and careful investment.
How much does the average household spend on gas?
Ever wondered what the average gas bill is in the UK? Knowing how much the average household spends on gas can give you an idea of whether your spending is above or below average.
The average household uses around 12,000 kWh of gas per year. With that in mind, we can get a rough idea of the UK average energy spend.
- The average unit cost per kWh of gas is around 3.8 pence
- Daily standing charges for gas range from 10p to 80p. So we can take 40p as a good median average
- To calculate average unit costs, we multiply 0.038 by 12,000. This gives us £456 per year.
- To this we add the average cost of standing charges, multiplying 0.40 by 365 to get £146.
- Adding these together gives us an average spend of £602 per year.
What is the best way to save gas at home?
We’ve already seen how many ways there are to save electricity. And homes that use gas have even more opportunities for energy savings and lower bills. Cooking and heating are the most common uses for gas around the home. But don’t worry, you don’t have to sacrifice your comfort (or your delicious meals) at the altar of savings!
Here are some little changes you can make that could add up to make a big difference to your gas bill:
- Turn down your thermostat (reducing the temperature by a single degree can save up to £75 per year)
- Try and take more showers and fewer baths
- Avoid drying wet clothes on or close to radiators as this can impede the flow of heat around the room
- Give radiators plenty of space to ensure that the heat they produce isn’t blocked by furniture
- Bleed your radiators every year to ensure that they get as hot as possible
- Install a smart thermostat to reduce heat waste intelligently. More on that later.
Saving gas across the different rooms of your home
As with electricity, every room of your home presents opportunities for gas savings. Let’s take a closer look at key savings in every room in the home…
In the kitchen
Of course, most of the gas use in the kitchen will be geared around cooking. And there are certainly opportunities to save on your gas bill here.
For instance, not every food needs to go into a preheated oven. Even if you need to preheat, 10-15 minutes is usually more than adequate for cooking and baking. There’s no need to preheat your oven for half an hour!
Again, use your oven window to check on the progress of your cooking and baking. Every time you open the door, you lose heat and potentially waste gas.
When cooking on the hob, be sure to cover your pans. This will trap steam that escapes from your cookware and speeds up the cooking process.
Finally, when washing the dishes, avoid using a steady stream of hot water. Instead, fill a basin with warm soapy water and rinse with the cold tap.
In the living room
Heating is the main cause of gas spending in the living room. So make sure your radiators aren’t blocked by furniture, and that they’re bled annually to ease the flow of hot water. Again, try and rely more on gree heat energy from the sun than your boiler. Speaking of which, if your boiler is 12 years old or more, it’s probably much less efficient than it should be. Replacing it can save over £300 per year, every year. Make sure that you service your boiler annually to keep it operating at peak efficiency.
In the bathroom
Water heating is the main cause of gas use in the bathroom. So think about how much you really need to use hot water. Could you wash your hands with cold or lukewarm water rather than hot? Could you use your shower instead of taking a bath? Power showers heat water by passing it through a heated copper coil. The faster the water goes through, the less it’s heated. This can be a far more energy-efficient way to stay clean. And it uses a lot less water.
Energy saving tips during Covid lockdown
Hopefully, lockdown will be significantly eased in the coming months and we can get back to doing the things we’ve missed for the better part of a year. Nonetheless, with many of us working from home and using more energy throughout the day, it’s never too late to start saving on energy.
With that in mind, here are some extra energy saving tips for lockdown:
- Avoid keeping your laptop plugged in throughout the day. Charge it during off-peak hours, and leave it unplugged for as long as possible.
- Avoid keeping other devices like the TV or radio on while working. They can reduce your productivity and cost you money.
- Try not to keep the heating on all day. Use a hot water bottle or layer up if you start getting cold during peak hours.
- Plan your tea / coffee breaks throughout the day. Otherwise you could find yourself using the kettle / coffee maker more and more throughout the day.
- Keep your phone in your desk drawer or somewhere out of reach. Not only is it distracting, the more you use it, the sooner you’ll need to charge it.
Combine these tips to save energy with the right tariff for your changing needs, and the Papernest team can put a significant dent in your lockdown energy costs.
Building an energy efficient home
Often, saving money on your energy bills is simply a matter of care, attention, and diligence. However, making a few energy efficient investments in your home can also be a great way to drive down your energy usage. The upfront cost associated with making energy efficient renovations can easily be offset by how much they save on future energy bills.
Keep in mind that the Green Homes Grant is still available until the end of March 2021 and could offset the costs of green renovations such as new insulation and even green heating technologies like ground source heat pumps or solar thermal heaters. You can check your eligibility and apply here.
How to improve energy efficiency in buildings
Improving your home’s energy efficiency means taking steps to prevent heat loss in your home. This starts with your windows and doors. Not only do you need to ensure that your window and door fittings are well sealed, your windows and doors themselves can also lead to significant savings.
Contrary to popular belief, not all double glazed windows and doors are created equally. They are graded from A++ to E by the British Fenestration Ratings. A++ rated windows could save between £115-£120 per year on your heating bills in a detached house, or £60 a year in a semi detached house.
Double glazed windows trap the free heat energy from the sun that enters your home, while keeping the heat that you’re paying for inside where it belongs.
Improving your home’s insulation is one of the most effective ways there is to improve its heat-efficiency and save money on your energy bills. As well as seeping out through your windows, the heat that you pay for can also escape via your walls and roof.
What’s more, the insulation in your roof can be rendered less efficient if rats or mice burrow into it. It’s worth checking your insulation for rodent damage or damp to ensure that it’s as efficient as possible. It’s recommended that you replace your insulation every 15-20 years.
Replacing your loft and cavity wall insulation can save you around £305 on your energy bills every year.
Get savvy with smart controls
In the age of smart technology, it makes sense to use your digital devices to assert more control over your energy spending. A smart thermostat allows you to control the ambient temperature around your home from your mobile app. What’s more, it also learns your household’s behaviour, ensuring that heat is not wasted in rooms that are usually empty.
A smart thermostat costs around £260 to install, but can save around £350 per year on your energy bills.
How to save money on energy bills
We’ve looked at ample ways to save energy around the home. But is there anything else you can do to reduce your energy bills? One thing’s for sure, you won’t benefit from burying your head in the sand.
The better you know your energy bill, the better positioned you are to make significant savings. Of course, the Papernest team is here to help you make savings by changing energy tariffs and suppliers. But there’s really no such thing as being too prepared.
Understand your energy bill
The better you know the costs that make up your energy bill, the better positioned you are to make savings. Energy bills are mostly made up of unit costs and daily standing charges. You can get energy plans with no standing charges, but these come with much higher unit costs. So these are best suited to short term rentals, holiday homes or very, very low usage households.
It’s important to choose an energy supplier that makes your bills easy to understand and helps you to take control of your energy spend.
How do I lower my energy bill?
There are lots of ways to lower your energy bill. It’s simply a case of finding the right tariff, and ensuring that your energy plan always gives you the best value for money. You can lower your energy bill by:
- Opting for a plan that gives you a dual fuel discount for both gas and electricity
- Choosing a fixed energy tariff that locks in your rates and protects you from unexpected price rises
- Choosing an energy plan with no early exit fees. So you can always move onto a better deal without negative consequences
Compare energy prices
The energy watchdog Ofgem recommends that you switch suppliers every 12-18 months. This helps to keep the market as competitive as possible and prevents suppliers from resting on their laurels when it comes to pricing. Furthermore, it conditions energy consumers to always keep looking out for the best deals and comparing energy plans from different suppliers regularly.
Switch energy suppliers
As you’ve no doubt gathered by now, switching energy suppliers can supplement these other energy saving tips to drastically reduce your gas and electricity bills. And you can always rely on the Papernest team to scour the market to find the best possible energy plan for your unique needs and circumstances.
We’ll even manage your switch from end-to-end, so you can start using cheaper energy faster and completely hassle-free.
Call us today on 0330 818 6225 to find out how much we can help you save.
We’re available from 8am to 6pm.
Would you like to know more information on saving energy bills? Great! Check out these related articles
Why is my electric bill so high all of a sudden in 2021?
Wholesale energy costs are rising, and the energy price cap is due to rise in April 2021. As such, if you’re on a variable-rate tariff, you may have noticed that your bills have started to rise unexpectedly. Switching to a fixed-rate energy plan and implementing some of our energy saving tips could bring your bills back down.
Are devices using energy when plugged in?
Yes. In fact, things like your TV, games consoles and media players can use up to 80% as much energy when left on standby as they do when active. So make sure they are switched off at the wall when not in use.
What causes high electric bills?
There are lots of reasons for high energy bills. But all-too-often our bills climb when they’re allowed to spiral out of control. Getting a smart meter fitted and implementing our energy saving ideas should help you to see the effects of your energy saving measures in real time.
How do I reduce my heating bill?
The best way to reduce your heating bill is to cut down heating at times when you’re less likely to benefit from it. A smart thermostat can help you to control your home’s heating from your mobile device. Better still, it will get to know your household’s habits and ensure that heat is less likely to be wasted in empty rooms.
Updated on 24 Jan, 2022
Energy Specialist & Copywriter