Energy saving tips
Kilo Watt's top tips to save you energy and money
Kilo Watt, Salford's very own energy saving polar bear, designed by Salford school children, has lots of ways that you can improve the energy efficiency of your home and make it warmer. Some of these may include grant aided work, but the majority are ether free or cheap to introduce.
Why save energy?
It's good for your wallet. Saving energy means you are saving money. With the ever increasing price of fuel and the cost of electricity nearly doubling since 2002, there has never been a better time to save energy in the home. Cutting energy use also reduces your carbon footprint. Most carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases which are harmful to our planet are released during energy generation.
Kilo Watt's top ten no cost energy and money saving tips
- Switch off lights in rooms you are not using. A family could save between £45 and £80 a year just by remembering to switch things off.
- Turn appliances off standby - you could save around £33 a year by ensuring appliances are switched off and not left on standby.
- Close curtains at night to retain heat.
- Turn down central heating by 1oC, it can save about £75 on heating bills.
- When boiling a kettle only boil as much water as you need - a good way to do this is to fill your cup with water then pour this into the kettle. Always make sure there is enough water to cover the element!
- Use the right ring for the right thing - if your cooker has a small ring use a small pan. Don't heat a large pan on a small ring you're more likely to end up heating for longer.
- Don't put warm items inside the fridge or freezer as the fridge has to work harder to cool down.
- Site your fridge or freezer in a cool place out of direct sunlight and away from the cooker and heating boiler.
- Try and keep your fridge or freezer about three quarters full, this is most efficient.
- Replace a soak in the bath with a shower once a week. You will be surprised how much energy, water and money you can save. This could save you up to £20 a year.
The amount of energy you use in the home is measures in kilowatt hours (kWh). When you use 1,000 watts of energy for an hour, that's a kilowatt-hour. A kilowatt hour gives you:
- 20 minutes of boiling a kettle
- 27 minutes of ironing
- 50 minutes of vacuuming your house
- 66 minutes using a microwave
- 3 hours watching TV
- 24 hours of gaming
- 40 hours on a lap top
- 40 days charge for your mobile phone
Top tips on insulation and heating
- Install solid wall insulation - older properties with solid walls can be insulated externally or internally. Such works will save up to £460 on heating bills.
- Install cavity wall insulation - this reduces the energy you need to keep your home warm and could save you £145 a year.
- Top-up your loft insulation - insulating your loft to the full recommended depth of 270 milimetres could save up to £150 a year on heating bills if no insulation is already present.
- Install draught proofing - save up to £30 a year by draught proofing around doors and windows.
- Fit a letterbox flap to stop draughts.
- Lag your pipes.
- Install thermostatic radiator valves to each radiator so you can regulate the heat you need for each room.
- Boilers work more efficiently with regular servicing.
- Replace your old boiler - replacing an old G-rated boiler with a new A-rated condensing boiler and a full set of heating controls can cut your heating bill by up to a quarter - that's up to £305 a year.
- If you are not ready for a new gas boiler, it is a good idea to give your existing boiler a yearly check-up. That way you will know that your boiler is working efficiently.
Top tips for lighting
- Turn off any lights you don't need, but make sure you have enough lighting on stairs and hallways.
- Use energy saving light bulbs - each bulb's lifetime saving is up to £50.
- When buying outside lighting, buy lights with sensors, so that they only go on when needed. Why not consider buying solar powered lights, they work all night and don't cost anything to run.
- Replace halogen lights with energy efficient LED spotlights.
Top tips to save energy in the kitchen
Old appliances versus new
Old appliances can cost a lot more to run compared to ‘A' rated new appliances. All new fridges, freezers, washing machines and boilers must carry an energy label which indicates how energy efficient that model is, allowing you to compare the efficiency of one appliance with another.
Cooking uses a lot of energy as ovens, grills and rings work at such high temperatures:
- Use the small top oven for small items if you have one.
- Set the oven temperature you need, no higher.
- Keep lids on pans.
- For toast, use a toaster instead of a grill.
- Don't overfill pans or kettles; you waste energy heating extra water.
- Avoid opening the oven door while in use and replace damaged door seals.
- Use a pressure cooker, steamer or slow cooker, they are more efficient then a pan.
- Food recipes and cooking instructions on the food you buy often say preheat your oven. Most modern ovens need very little time to get hot, especially fan ovens. The less time your oven is on the more money you will save.
For the fridge and freezer
Fridges and freezers are on all the time so the cost of running them over a year can be high.
- Check the temperature inside using a fridge or freezer thermometer. Fridges should be set at 0oC to -4oC, freezers at -5oC to -18oC.
- Keep your freezer at least three quarters full. The more that's in it will the less energy you will waste.
- Replace damaged door seals - they let heat in.
- Make sure you there is plenty of ventilation space at the back of your fridge or freezer.
- Allow time for food to defrost rather than using the microwave.
- Keep fridge and freezer doors shut.
- If possible keep your fridge freezer away from your cooker, heaters and direct sunlight. If they get warm they will use more energy to keep cool.
Washing and drying
- Use a bowl to wash up rather than leaving the tap running.
- Wash your clothes at 30oC.
- Only wash with a full load. Two half loads will use more energy than a full load.
- Use the washing line to dry clothes instead of the tumble dryer.
- Cutting down by one load a week could save you £25 a year.
- If you use a tumble dryer make sure your filters are fluff free.
- Dry your washing outside, don't hang your washing over radiators as you will cause condensation and use more money to heat your home.
- Make sure your washing machine filters are fluff free.
Other useful information
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This page was last updated on 2 June 2014