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Blog Post 21 December 2021 Updated 15 December 2023

Top tips to reduce your energy use over Christmas

The festive season is traditionally a time of excess. Lots of food, lots of presents, lots of people and lots of noise.

But with energy bills still high, one thing you don’t want an excess of is your energy use.

Here are some quick tips to keep your energy bills in check over the festive season.

Turn down your boiler flow temperature

Lowering the flow temperature of your boiler improves your boiler’s efficiency by up to 5%. The boiler doesn’t need to heat the water so much, which should lower your heating bills.

This works best if you have a combi boiler. If you have a conventional boiler with a hot water cylinder, make sure the temperature is no lower than 65 degrees. This stops harmful bacteria forming in the water.

For more information, read our guide to lowering your boiler flow temperature.

Get a draught excluder for your chimney

Though it may stop Santa Claus from delivering gifts, draught-proofing your chimney could save you £65 (£70 in NI) off your annual energy bills.

You can pick one up for around £25 online. Even if you’ve capped your chimney, adding a chimney balloon stops heat being lost in the chimney stack itself.

Get the most out of your dishwasher and washing machine.

The festive season comes with a lot more washing up to do. Make sure you fully load your dishwasher and washing machine before you switch them on, and use the ‘eco’ setting if you have one.

And try washing your loads at 30 degrees, which could save you £13 (£18 in NI) a year.

For more tips, read our guide on saving energy when using your washing machine.

Turn down the thermostat when cooking or when people are around

If you’re spending time in the kitchen, your home is likely to be warm enough already. Turning down your thermostat by one degree from 22 to 21 degrees could save you £100 (£105 in NI).

The same applies if you have lots of people around, as they’re generating plenty of heat anyway.

Embrace cosy culture

The Danish concept of hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-gah’) is all about being cosy and comfortable, and it works well with those who want to save energy:

  • Turn down the thermostat and use thick jumpers and blankets to be extra cosy.
  • Switch the lights off and use LED candles to create a more comfortable atmosphere.
  • Switch off the screens – focus on reading or playing board games instead.
  • Have warm, comforting food and drink like soups, stews and hot chocolate.

Father and son enjoying Christmas holidays at home

Use the right appliance for cooking Christmas dinner

Unless you plan on batch cooking your food, you could save energy by using an air fryer, microwave or slow cooker instead of an electric oven.

For example, it costs 22p to cook a 600g chicken breast in an electric oven. But it only costs 16p in an air fryer.

If you’re cooking for a family or several guests, it’s better to batch cook your food in an electric oven and make use of the heat.

For more information, read our guide on whether it’s cheaper to use an air fryer than an oven.

Keep the lids on your pans when cooking on the hob

Whether you’re parboiling your potatoes ahead of time or cooking everything on Christmas Day, keep the lids on.

Doing this uses around 10% less energy and your food will cook faster too.

Clean your oven door and keep it closed

One of the most common ways that heat is wasted when cooking is when you open the oven door to check on your food.

Every time you open your oven door, some heat escapes and it takes longer for it to heat back up again.

So make sure your oven door is clear enough to peer through and you’ll reduce the need to open the door.

Upgrade your Christmas lights to LED or solar powered lights

LED lights use around 80% less energy than halogen lights. If you’re still using Christmas lights from years ago, now’s the time to upgrade to more energy efficient lighting.

Better yet, look for lights and decorations that are solar powered. What better way to lower your electricity costs over Christmas than by making use of an unlimited, free natural resource?

Even on cloudy December days, you should be able to capture enough light to power your decorations during the night.

Replacing all of your home’s lights with LED bulbs could save you £60 (£75 in NI) a year.

10. Use a timer for your Christmas lights - and switch your devices off at the plug

Many modern Christmas lights now come with a timer that lets them stay on for around eight hours and stay off for the rest of the day. This should help keep your costs low and ensure your lights only come on at night when they’ll have the most impact.

If you don’t have a timer, remember to switch your lights off at the plug. This applies to your appliances too. Doing this could save you £55 (£70 in NI) a year off your electricity bills.

How to keep your house warm in winter

With energy bills still high, it's important to find out how you can keep your house warm without turning up the heat.…

Is it cheaper to cook with an air fryer, oven, microwave, hob or slow cooker?

Our energy experts look at how much it costs to cook using different kitchen appliances.

Last updated: 15 December 2023