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Blog Post 1 July 2024 Updated 9 July 2024

How to save energy outdoors this summer

As soon as the temperature rises, patios across the nation get their annual clean and the parasols come out.

And the summer sales at your local garden centre will likely tempt you with new appliances like patio heaters and hot tubs. But it’s important to know how much these appliances will cost to run, even if you’re only using them while the weather is nice.

Whether you’re hosting a BBQ get-together or tending to your garden, we’ve got some tips on how you can save energy outdoors this summer.

How much do BBQs cost to run?

If you’re tempted by a new BBQ this summer, it’s worth looking at how much they cost to run, depending on their fuel source and whether you’re in Great Britain (GB) or Northern Ireland (NI):

BBQ typeCost per use (GB)*Cost per use (NI)*

*Based on July 2024 energy price cap for GB and October 2023 prices for NI, using a 40-50cm wide grill, cooking for two hours, for a family of four.

With running costs of gas BBQs being double or triple that of other BBQ types, any savings you get in the summer sales might be wiped out after a few uses.

BBQ energy saving tips

  • Keep your grill closed while cooking to retain heat.
  • Cook your food with a more energy-efficient appliance like an oven and finish off on the BBQ to give it that smoky flavour.
  • Clean your BBQ regularly so it doesn’t have to work as hard to cook your food.
  • Batch cook your food to make as much use of the heat as you can.

How much do patio heaters cost to run?

Although the days are a lot warmer and you want to know the best ways to stay cool in summer, the evenings can still turn chilly. If you’re not ready to call time on your summer party, you may be tempted to get a patio heater to keep your guests cosy. Here are the running costs for different types of patio heater:

Patio heater type Cost per use (GB)*Cost per use (NI)*
Fire pit£6.20£6.20

*Based on July 2024 energy price cap for GB and October 2023 prices for NI, covering 20m2, running for two hours.

Many electric patio heaters are ‘infrared’. These work by directing heat at objects and people rather than warming up the surrounding air. This should help warm you and your guests faster and with less energy wasted.

Patio heater energy saving tips

  • Think about whether you really need one in the first place. Most patio heaters aren’t efficient as they warm the outdoor air, which dissipates quickly.
  • Put on another layer or grab a blanket. Hotter summer days come with warmer summer nights, so it might not take that much to make you feel cosy in the evening.
  • If your outdoor space catches the wind, consider installing decorative panels to shield yourself from chilly winds.

How much do hot tubs cost to run?

You often see on news websites that retailers offer big discount on inflatable hot tubs, which sells out in minutes.

Hot tubs aren’t that common in UK homes, but cut-price options might tempt you to give it a go. Think carefully before you buy, as there are a range of factors that have a sizable impact on a hot tub’s running costs.

A hot tub will typically cost between £2 and £8 per use, depending on:

  • how big it is
  • how well insulated it is
  • how exposed it is
  • what temperature you set it to

Hot tub energy saving tips

  • Choose a smaller hot tub, which doesn’t need as much energy to heat up.
  • Look for hard-shell hot tubs, which are better insulated than inflatable ones.
  • Use a high quality, insulated cover when not in use.
  • Position your hot tub somewhere sheltered to protect it from wind and cold weather. This ensures the hot tub doesn’t need to work so hard to heat up.
  • Find the lowest comfortable temperature for your hot tub. Even turning it down by one degree can make a difference to your energy use.
  • If your hot tub has an eco-mode, use it.
Two children collect rainwater into a watering can

How to save water in the garden

If your summer activities involve tending to your garden, we’ve got some tips on how to save water. This will be extra useful if the summer heat causes hosepipe bans in certain areas.

If you’re able to use a hosepipe, consider using a hose attachment to save 1,500 litres of water per year. This is the equivalent of 27 baths full of water.

Better yet, ditch the hosepipe and use a watering can instead. This will save you an extra 2,200 litres of water per year. That’s an extra 40 baths each year.

Your best option to save water is to get a water butt to collect rainwater and use that to fill the watering can instead of the tap. This saves you an additional 1,100 litres of water – another 20 baths’ worth.

Using a water butt is one of the most popular water saving tips we get from our readers. See the full list of water saving tips.

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Last updated: 9 July 2024