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Blog Post 19 November 2020

10 ways to save energy this winter

The continuation of Covid-19 restrictions means millions of people around the UK are still working from home, using more energy to power laptops, boil kettles and keep the lights on.

As winter approaches, we may also need to start thinking about turning up the heating during the day, which can have a big impact on our energy use, heating bills and carbon footprint.

We’ve put together some cold weather energy saving tips to help people reduce the amount of energy they use at home, which can save money on your bills and help reduce carbon emissions this winter.


Tackle draughty spots

Unless your home is very new, you will lose some heat through draughts around doors and windows, gaps in the floor, or up the chimney if you have one.

Professional draught-proofing could cost around £200 for materials and installation for your whole house, but it could save you around £25 a year on energy bills.

Installing a chimney draught excluder could save an additional £17 a year, as well as 70kg of carbon dioxide emissions.


Upgrade your heating controls

Over half of a typical household’s energy bill goes on providing heating and hot water. You can upgrade or install heating controls without replacing your boiler. It’s a particularly good idea to think about this if your controls are more than 14 years old.

Installing a room thermostat, a programmer and thermostatic radiator valves and using these controls efficiently could reduce your energy usage and save you around £75 a year.

Installing a smart meter could also help you save energy by making you aware of how much energy you use.


Turn down the thermostat

Room thermostats prevent your home from getting warmer than it needs to. They turn the heating on until the room reaches the temperature you set, and then off until the temperature drops.

Your thermostat should be set to the lowest comfortable temperature, typically between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius. You don’t need to turn your thermostat up when it is colder outside; the house will heat up to the set temperature regardless.

Turning your room thermostat down by just one degree could save £60 on your heating bills and 310kg of carbon dioxide a year from your household carbon footprint.


Replace your inefficient boiler

Modern boilers are more energy efficient than older versions. If you have a boiler that is more than 10 years old, you should consider replacing it with a more efficient condensing boiler.

The costs for replacing a boiler will vary, but a straightforward gas boiler replacement plus thermostatic radiator valves will typically cost about £2,300 (excluding radiators). An oil boiler replacement could cost around £3,100.

See how much you could save on your fuel bill by replacing a gas or oil-fired boiler.


Keep the heat in with insulation

We’ve looked at tips to control the heating in your home, but you also need to think about keeping the heat in your house.

About a third of the heat lost in an uninsulated home escapes through the walls, so making sure you have proper insulation on your solid walls or cavity walls could help keep the heat in and lower your energy bills.

If you live in a house, bungalow or ground floor flat, you could be losing heat from the bottom of your home. Insulating under the floorboards could save you about £40 a year. Insulating the top of your home – either the roof or loft space – is also an effective way to reduce heat loss and lower your energy usage. See how much you could save.


Insulate pipes to keep water hotter

Pipe insulation can reduce the amount of heat lost from the pipes in your home, keeping your water hotter for longer and reducing the amount of energy needed to heat the water.

It consists of a foam tube that covers the exposed pipes between your hot water cylinder and boiler. All you need to do is choose the correct size from a DIY store and then slip it around the pipes.

Pipe insulation can save around £10 a year on your energy bills. You should be able to do this yourself, however if your pipes are hard to reach, you might need to use a professional.

Dog on rug by radiator

Reflect on your radiator

Radiator reflector panels are a great, low cost option to reduce your energy consumption.

Fixed behind your radiators, they reflect heat from the radiator back into the room, instead of letting the heat out through an external wall.

Remember, you only need to put reflector panels behind radiators on external walls, where they could save you around £19 a year.


Turn off standby

You can quickly and easily reduce the amount of energy you use by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode.

Almost all electrical and electronic appliances can be turned off at the plug without interfering with their settings, saving you around £35 a year on your energy bill.

Remember, you may need to leave any ‘smart’ technologies you own switched on, such as smart speakers and heating controls. We have more advice on what to look for when choosing appliances.


Look at your lighting

Switching to energy efficient lights such as LED spotlights could help you save energy this winter, especially as many of us continue to work from home due to Covid-19 restrictions.

LEDs come in a variety of shapes, sizes and fittings – if the average household replaced all their bulbs with LEDs, it could save up to £40 a year.

And for an extra tip – remember to turn off your lights when you’re not using them! This will help reduce the amount of energy you use every day and could even knock up to £15 a year off your energy bill.


Water, water, everywhere

Water use is closely linked to energy use. Water companies use energy to treat and pump water into houses, while energy is required to produce hot water at home.

Currently, the average UK household uses around 330 litres of water a day – or 140 litres of water per head every day. Using water wisely at home can make big difference to your water and energy bills.

Our top tips to help you save water – and therefore energy – at home include:

  • take short showers instead of baths
  • swap your shower head for a more efficient model
  • use cold water instead of hot when you can
  • make sure washing machines and dishwasher are full before using them
  • turn off the taps when brushing your teeth
  • use a washing up bowl to clean the dishes

Last updated: 16 November 2020