Property guides

Energy-saving tips for your home

Looking for ways to save money on your energy bills? There are number of steps you can take that could help to reduce your energy bills, all year round.

We look at both low and no-cost changes you can make right now, through to large-scale modifications that can help make your home more energy efficient. Take a look at some of the changes you can make to reduce your home’s energy usage here.

Changes you can make in your home for no cost
Reduce the water temperature when washing clothes
Use tumble dryers less
Switch off appliances at the socket
Closing your curtains and blinds
Turning your combi boiler flow temperature down
Turn down radiators
Apply for a smart meter

More energy-saving tips and home improvements to consider
Look into getting a smart thermostat
Check and compare energy-efficiency ratings when buying new appliances
Get your boiler serviced in summer
Finding and fixing draughts
Insulating hot water tanks, pipes and radiators
Choosing energy-efficient lighting
Double and triple glazing
Wall, floor and loft insulation
Solar panels

Firstly, check your home’s energy rating

To start off, it’s a good idea to check if your home has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Home energy ratings range from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). Your home will also be given an order of improvement score, which will give you an overview of the modifications that would improve your home’s score, and how they could reduce your bills in the long term. Things like how energy-efficient your lighting is, and if you have double or triple glazing on your windows, are taken into account when determining your home’s energy rating.

An EPC also gives recommendations about how to improve your home’s energy efficiency, and the potential rating your property could reach. These step-by-step recommendations are given in order. For example, it’s good practice to insulate your home before you buy a new boiler, as an insulated home needs less heat to stay warm, so your new boiler may not need to be as big.

Energy-saving changes you can make for no cost:

There are some quick and easy changes you can make now, that could help reduce your energy bills.

Reduce the water temperature when washing clothes

Because modern laundry detergents are effective at low temperatures, you can consider reducing the water temperature when washing clothes. Reducing your washes from 40 to 30 degrees will mean you’ll use less energy per washing cycle.

Reduce tumble dryer usage

Tumble dryers use a lot of energy, and are among the most expensive home appliances to run. If you do need to use a tumble dryer, make sure you have a full load, which is around three-quarters of the drum – but avoid overfilling it, as this could lengthen the drying time. If the air in your home is warm and dry enough, you might prefer to use an airing rack over a tumble dryer.

If you’re buying a new tumble dryer, look out for models with the highest energy-efficient rating. In terms of condensing tumble dryers – which collect moisture from wet washing in a chamber, that’s then emptied – the most energy efficient appliance available right now is B rated. The highest efficiency tumble dryer available is a heat pump tumble dryer, rated A+++. They achieve this efficiency by reusing heat, which reduces the energy required to generate warm air. Tumble dryers haven’t yet moved to the A-G ratings – which is the scale used on Energy Performance Certificates.

Switch appliances off at the socket

Electrical appliances continue to draw power if they’re plugged in. So it’s a good idea to switch your devices off at the socket when you’re not using them. This applies to chargers, as well as the devices themselves.

Close your curtains and blinds

During summer, closing curtains and blinds during the hottest part of the day can help to keep your home at a more comfortable temperature. Closing them at night in winter can also reduce heating costs, by keeping the warm air in.  If your radiator sits directly underneath a window, it’s important to make sure that curtains don’t cover the radiator while your heating’s switched on, otherwise it will limit the amount of heat that’s distributed around the room.

Turn your combi boiler flow temperature down

More than 15 million households in the UK have a combi boiler. The temperature of the water that your boiler sends to radiators is called the flow temperature. Many combi boilers are installed and set at temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees. According to the government’s Help for Households campaign, turning your boiler thermostat down to 60 degrees can increase the efficiency of your boiler and potentially reduce your energy bill by £100 a year.

Turning your radiator water temperature down won’t reduce the temperature of the hot water from your taps and showers, because the temperature of your home’s hot water supply is controlled separately. But it may take longer to reach the target temperature on your room thermostat. So it’s worth trying this when it’s warmer, and considering if this adjustment still feels comfortable heading into the winter months.

Turn down radiators

The Help for Households advice also suggests it’s good idea to turn radiator valves to a low setting if you have rooms you don’t use often – this could potentially reduce your energy bill by up to £70 annually. Contrary to popular belief, your boiler doesn’t need to work harder to heat a cooler room if you’ve turned a radiator down and need to turn it back up again. So maintaining a steady temperature won’t save you money, when compared to heating a room up from cold.

But, to make sure you’re warm enough and avoid problems with mould and damp, the NHS advise a minimum indoor temperature of 18°C. People over 65, children under 5 years old and those with pre-existing health conditions are more vulnerable to cold temperatures, and may benefit from warmer temperatures.

Apply for a smart meter

The government has required energy suppliers in England, Scotland and Wales to provide smart meters to all households free of charge by the end of 2025. Smart gas and electricity meters provide half-hourly updates on how much energy you’re using in your home, and the cost. If you don’t have one yet, it’s worth contacting your energy provider to request one, or to find out when they are planning to install them in your area.

You can also monitor your energy use via a smartphone app to track your spending, and to help you to budget. 

You can check the government’s Help for Households advice for more information on these energy-saving tips and potential energy bill savings here.

More energy-saving tips and home improvements to consider:

Look into getting a smart thermostat

Smart thermostats and heating controls enable you to adjust temperature settings when you’re not at home via a smartphone.

Some models can also ‘learn’ your habits, for example, switching your heating on at a time you’re likely to get home, and off again when you’re out and about. And making sure it keeps the temperature at a level that’s optimum for you. Similarly, if you’ve forgotten to switch your heating off before you leave home for the day, for instance, it can be instantly turned off from your phone.

Check and compare energy-efficiency ratings when buying new appliances

Fridges, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers and TVs have an energy rating from A, being the highest, to G, the lowest. So when the time comes to replace appliances, it’s a good idea to compare models by how much electricity they use. For example, upgrading from a C-rated washing machine to an A rated one could reduce the energy you use to wash your clothes by 25%. So, even though an A-rated appliance might be a more costly initial outlay, it could save you more money in the long run.

Plan your boiler service ahead of when you really need it

Getting your boiler serviced annually helps to keep it running efficiently. If your annual service is during winter, it could be worth considering arranging an additional one-off service during summer, so your annual service takes place during the warmer months. This will make sure any potential problems are picked up and rectified before it starts running at full capacity in winter, when you rely on it most.

Finding and fixing draughts

One of the cheapest and most effective ways to reduce your energy bills is to draught-proof your home.

Block unwanted gaps around windows, doors, chimneys and floors that let the cold air in and warm air out. Add doorstep or draught excluders on the inside of external doors, put window film on windows to reduce the heat escaping through the glass and use sealant or filler around windows that don’t open. But, it’s important to ensure you still have adequate ventilation – never block air bricks or grilles that have been put in place to make sure you have fresh air in your home.

Insulating hot water tanks, pipes and radiators

If you have an older hot water cylinder with 25mm foam insulation or less, put a hot water cylinder jacket that’s at least 80mm thick around your hot water tank to keep water hot for longer, and reduce the amount of heat the cylinder loses.

You can also buy foam tubing that covers any exposed pipes between your hot water cylinder and boiler if they’re easy to reach, which also reduces heat loss.

It can also be a good idea to insulate cold water pipes too. Foam tubing can prevent water in your pipes from freezing in particularly cold weather, which can mean costly repairs if pipes burst when the ice thaws.

Radiator reflector panels can be fitted behind your radiators fitted behind external walls, to reflect the heat back into the room, rather than letting it escape. These cost around £25 for a typical home.

Switching to energy-saving light bulbs

According to Energy Saving Trust, replacing all the remaining energy inefficient light bulbs in your home with energy saving alternatives could typically save £60 on your annual bills.

LED light bulbs are the most efficient type of bulb you can buy. They use 90% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs and are available in different colours and lumens (an indicator of how bright the light emitted is). So it’s easy to match your new LED bulbs to the same brightness as your existing lighting when you replace it.

Read more about energy saving lighting here

Double and triple glazing

Around 18% of an un-insulated home’s heat goes straight out of the windows. Because of this, the type of windows and glazing you have will be taken into account to determine your home’s energy rating.

Having double or triple-glazed windows helps to keep your home cool in summer, and to reduce cold air coming in during winter. It also helps with soundproofing.

Heat is lost through single glazing around twice as fast as through A-rated double glazing. According to Energy Saving Trust, upgrading from single to double glazing could reduce the cost of your bills by £165 a year.

Read more about the benefits of triple glazing

Wall, floor and loft insulation

When looking into more expensive options for installing insulation, such as in roof spaces, walls and floors, it’s good to know what will make the biggest difference to heating savings and how long it will last.

Read our guide to insulating your home

Roof and loft insulation

Compared to walls and floors, loft spaces are the easiest and most affordable areas to insulate. When done effectively, loft insulation produces noticeable results that can last for around 40 years. And this can potentially save you between around £240 and £445 a year on your energy bills depending on the size of your home. 

Underfloor insulation

Floor insulation prevents heat loss in winter and can also help to keep your home cool during the summer months. It creates a barrier that protects your home from the air flow beneath your property.

While newly built homes tend to have insulated solid concrete floors, mid-century homes often have uninsulated concrete floors, that can be disruptive to insulation. Pre-1930s homes are most likely to have suspended timber floors that insulation can be added to underneath.

Energy Saving Trust estimates that it can also help reduce your heating bills by around £80 a year. A typical suspended floor installation costs around £4,700, depending on the size of the space and how it’s accessed. There’s a higher cost for insulating solid floors. 

Cavity wall insulation

If your home was built between 1920 and 1990 it’s likely to have been built with uninsulated cavity walls. Cavity wall insulation is injected into the cavity between the inner and outer walls of a home and sealed with cement, to help keep heat inside.

Installation costs vary, depending on the size of your home, but Energy Saving Trust estimates that you should be able to make it back in energy bill savings within five to ten years, as the potential saving ranges from £115 to £485.

Read more about the types of home insulation

Installing solar panels on your roof

You could save around £405 per year by installing solar panels on your roof, based on a household in Manchester, with someone home all day. Solar photovoltaics, or solar pv panels, capture light that’s then turned into electricity. 

Solar panels help to save energy costs by using the electricity you generate, rather than buying it from a supplier. And you can sell any excess electricity you don’t use back to the industry, a process known as export payments. To do this, you’ll need to deal directly with an energy company. The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) introduced in 2020 for homeowners in England, Scotland and Wales was designed to ensure small-scale generators, or households, are paid for the electricity they export to the grid. There are multiple export tariffs available, so it’s worth exploring your options to find the best deal for you.

It’s important to note however, that if you’re looking to keep the electricity you generate from the panels to use later, you’ll need to have a battery to store the electricity until you’re ready to use it.

The average cost of installing solar panels depends on where you live, the type of panels you want, and the size of the system you’d like to install. As a guide, Energy Saving Trust say the average domestic solar PV system for a three-bedroom house is 3.5 kilowatts peak (kWp), and costs around £7,000. 

However, the government has removed VAT on the purchase of solar panels until March 2027, which is thought to save the average UK household over £1,000 in total installation costs.

Read our guide to installing solar panels and how much they cost

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