Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in April 2022 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in March 2023.
Are you feeling the pinch? In 2022, the energy price cap has risen by £693, equating to a 54% increase. The change in legislation will have impacted approximately 22 million Brits, with many of us struggling to pay our utility bills. It’s no small matter. The cost of living has been steadily surging in recent years, meaning that it’s harder and harder to stay on top of your finances. You’re not alone if you are worried about the sudden price skyrocketing. So, what can you do about it?
Sadly, we can’t wave a magic wand and make the price hike disappear. There’s not a whole lot we can do about this shift. However, we can share some energy saving tips for the household to help you cut back whenever possible. Using less energy means your bills will be lower, saving you some much-needed cash. If you are looking for ways to decrease your energy consumption, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s look at some of the best energy-saving tips.
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Why has the cost of energy increased?
First things first, let’s talk about the cost of energy. According to Ofgem, the higher cap is down to the ‘record rise in global gas prices’ over the last six months. Believe it or not, the wholesale cost of energy has quadrupled over the previous year alone. That is a massive leap, and it’s a price now being passed swiftly onto us — the customers. The price cap is in place to stop energy companies from profiting excessively from the general public.
The new price cap will impact millions of households across the country. Those affected by the change in the cap include customers who haven’t switched to a fixed-rate deal and those who stay with their energy provider after they have exited the market. The prices have led to many people worrying about how they will get by each month.
Energy saving tips
1. Do full laundry loads
When washing your clothes, consider how full the washing machine is. You may already have a system that works for you. Perhaps you do your laundry when your basket is full. That could work so long as the basket is the same size as your drum. If it’s not, you may be wasting space in the washing machine. That’s a rookie error.
Doing less frequent — but larger —loads of laundry could significantly affect your energy consumption. When we talk about how to save on your energy bill, this is a slight change you can make that won’t impact your lifestyle. Of course, if you are in a family household, you will find it easy to create enough dirty laundry for an entire washing load.
2. Turn your thermostat down
You might have guessed this tip was coming. Whether you have gas or electric heating, it’s time to turn your thermostat down. Dialling it down by just a few degrees may significantly impact your energy bills. You may even find that having a smart thermostat fitted helps you with this issue. The Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis recommends making this small change to save money and lower your energy consumption.
3. Say goodbye to ‘standby’
Heading out for the day or even the weekend? You know what to do. One of the most accessible energy-saving tips is switching your appliances off the wall. You may be used to using standby mode as a default, but this will cost you money. When you leave your TV running all the time — which is essentially what that means — you will be wasting electricity.
Most of the time, you can turn electrical appliances off at the plug without any issues. (Of course, there are some items you need to keep switched on, such as the fridge and the freezer!) Start getting into this easy energy-saving habit. When you’re not using a particular product, switch it off at the wall. Once you get used to it, it will become second nature.
4. Get a draught excluder
Are you feeling a bit chilly? If you tend to run cold when relaxing at home, you might find that this energy-saving tip helps you. Getting a draught excluder means keeping your room nice and toasty without using too much electricity or gas. Much of the time, there are draughts around your home that you don’t even know about. One of the biggest has to be under the door. Often enough, there is a gap there. If you fill that using a draught excluder, you will find that you can keep your temperature and bills lower.
5. Quit overfilling the kettle
Picture the scene: You’re desperate for a cuppa, but you’re the only one in the house who fancies one. What do you do? If you fill the kettle up before you boil it, you’re making a real mistake. You might have heard this before, but boiling the kettle uses a whole load of energy. More than you expect. One report suggested that overfilling kettles wasted a massive £68 million annually across the United Kingdom.
With that in mind, one of the ways that you can reduce your energy consumption is only to put in as much water as you need. If you’re making one cup of tea, try filling your kettle with one cup’s worth of water. When looking for smart ways to reduce electricity consumption, you will find that this approach makes a more considerable difference than you think.
Overfilling your kettle can also contribute to limescale build-up over time. Check out our other article to find out how to clean a kettle.
6. Take shorter showers
It’s terrible news if you love a hot and steamy shower. Another way you can cut back on your utility bills is to have shorter showers than you usually do. For example, if you tend to spend around 10 minutes in the shower, you could cut back and opt for three minutes. It might not be the most enjoyable option, but electricity and gas are now expensive. So make a game out of it and have a shower during your favourite song.
Why not multi-task and use the running water to make your shower shine, too? Read our easy ways to clean your shower now.
7. Turn off those lights
Turning off the lights when you’re not in certain rooms is a small habit you should be in. While you may be used to having all of the big lights on when you’re at home, the truth is that there is no need to do this. While it may take time to get used to this change, it will become an everyday habit when you have done it for a while.
On top of that, you may want to switch your bulbs and start using LED lights instead. The Energy Saving Trust suggests that this bulb can help lower your electricity bills and energy usage. That’s a win-win situation. In addition, taking the time to make this change could help you if you happen to be struggling with your utility bills.
We all need to cut back these days. The recent rise in energy costs will hit families across the country, so it’s worth looking at ways that you can save money. One of the easiest things is to monitor your overall energy consumption. You may find that getting a smart metre fitted in your home helps you do just that. Use our energy-saving tips to keep things in check and save you some cash.
8. Put a lid on your saucepans
This next one is straightforward, but it’s surprising how many people still forget to do it.
If you’re cooking on the hob, putting a lid on your saucepans will speed up your cooking time and save energy. The cover will trap the heat in the pan, helping to cook your food faster.
Whether you're simmering pasta, potatoes or vegetables, this easy hack is worth remembering.
9. Invest in your appliances
It's easy to settle for cheaper appliances when you're feeling the pinch, but did you know that this could cost you more money in the long run?
If you can, upgrading the appliances you'll be using for years is smart. Appliances like dishwashers last for about 10 years, and, while you can take steps to extend their lifespan, it might be more energy efficient to replace them.
It doesn't always have to be expensive, especially if you can shop around for a good deal. Not sure where to start? EDF has a guide to energy-efficient appliances for the home that breaks down what you should look for. We also have some tips on choosing the most efficient dryer in our article on how much a tumble dryer costs to run.
Is there something that we didn’t cover? If you’ve got a question on your mind, never fear. We’ve got you. Here are some FAQs for you:
Why is my electric bill so high?
As mentioned, the energy price cap rose by more than 50% in April 2022. Unfortunately, that means you may have higher utility bills than ever. However, taking the time to cut back where you can could make a difference in how much you need to pay.
What uses the most electricity?
Wondering what is using your electricity? The experts at Green Logic say that the following are the top five culprits: heating, water heating, appliances, lighting, and television.
Is it okay to leave the TV on all the time?
The short answer is no. This move will mean that you use more electricity than you need to, but it is also bad for your TV. When you have your television on all of the time, it may overheat, which can lower the product’s lifespan. It’s a no-no.
When is Earth Day 2022?
Earth Day is on 22nd April 2022. The day encourages people all around the globe to reduce their energy consumption and look toward a greener future. It’s a wise time to reevaluate your relationship with electricity and change it for the better.
Have these tips helped you cut back? Let us know in the comments below!