Save energy and save money

You can save lots of money with a few simple changes around your home.

These no-cost measures involve subtle changes to your habits which will soon become second nature.

Heating

  • Turn the room thermostat down by 1 °C. This can save up to £30 a year.
  • Don't put curtains or furniture in front of a radiator - they will block the heat.
  • Pull on a jumper or warmer layers rather than turning the heating up.

Hot water

  • Turn the thermostat on your hot-water tank down to 60 °C rather than add lots of cold water to your bath. Saving: £10 a year.
  • Put the plug in the basin or sink, especially when running hot water. Otherwise you are pouring money down the drain.
  • An ordinary shower uses only two-fifths of the water needed for a bath. Power showers use as much as a bath, and sometimes even more.

Cooking

  • Match the size of the ring to the size of the saucepan or you will be paying to heat air.
  • Put a lid on saucepans so the contents heat quicker and you use less energy.
  • Cook several different foods on one ring with a pressure cooker or steamer.
  • Microwaves save money because you don't waste energy heating containers or air.

Appliances

  • Switch off appliances such as microwaves, TVs, stereos and computers. 85% of the energy used by a DVD player is wasted when it is on standby. Saves up to £11 a year.
  • Unplug equipment once fully charged otherwise they keep drawing electricity.

Refrigeration

  • Avoid leaving fridge doors open. Each minute the door is open takes three minutes of energy to cool down again.
  • Avoid putting hot or warm food straight into the fridge. Allow it to cool first.
  • Defrost your fridge regularly to keep it running efficiently and cheaply. If it seems to frost up quickly, check the door seal.
  • Keep the freezer in a cool room or garage.

Washing machine and dishwasher

  • Wash laundry loads on the low-temperature programme.
  • Only put the washing machine or dishwasher on when you have a full load (but don't overfill).

Drying & ironing

  • In summer dry your clothes outside and enjoy the fresh smell that only comes from line-dried clothes.
  • Don't dry clothes on a radiator. It stops heat reaching the room, creates damp and encourages mould.
  • If you have to use a tumble dryer, don’t put really wet clothes inside. Wring them out or spin-dry them first.
  • Only iron if you have to. Choose fabrics that don't need ironing. And do you really need to iron your bed sheets?

Lighting

  • Mirrors and light-coloured walls reflect daylight, making maximum use of natural light.
  • De-clutter window ledges to get the most daylight in your home. Pull curtains back during the day and keep plants trimmed so they don’t block incoming light.

This article is based on an extract from Save cash & save the planet.

Take action

Friends of the Earth is urging the Government to tackle climate change by cleaning up our electricity by 2030. Find out more about our Clean British Energy campaign.