• energy saving tips

  • Saving energy doesn't have to take hours to organise or cost a lot. Even the simplest changes can make a big difference and the good news is you can do a lot of them for free. We've collected together the best tips and advice on changes you can make to save energy and money.

  • Changes that don't cost a penny

    Heating

    • Turn your heating down by 1°C and you could save around £60 per year*.
    • If you’re feeling cold, put on an extra layer of clothing before you turn the heating up. An extra jumper or pair of socks could make all the difference and save you money.
    • To avoid chilly feet, wear socks to bed!
    • Draw the curtains at dusk and keep the heat from the day in your home.
    • Make sure that heating and hot water are only provided when and where they’re needed. A good heating system should have the following parts:

      - A programmer
      This is a box, often near the boiler, that allows you to program the central heating and hot water to go on and off at the times you choose. 

      - A room thermostat
      This is a dial, located in one or more rooms, which has the temperature on it in Celsius. You can set the temperature for the room and it will switch the heating on and off to keep the temperature you’ve set. Setting it between 18°C and 21°C is usually sufficient. If you only have one room thermostat, try locating it in a room you use a lot like a living room.

      - A cylinder thermostat (if you have a separate hot water tank)
      This controls the temperature of the water in your hot water tank and is usually located on the hot water tank itself. Turn it down to 60°C to make sure the water is hot enough to kill off harmful bacteria, but not so hot it wastes energy or increases the risk of scalding.

      - Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs)
      These are adjusters that can be found on the side of a radiator with numbers on. They let you control the temperature of each radiator separately. They sense the air temperature and switch radiators on and off to keep the temperature to the level you’ve chosen.

    Lighting

    • Turn off any lights you don’t need, but make sure you have enough lighting on stairs and hallways.
    • Keep your lampshades and bulbs clean. They give out less light if they are dirty.
    • Use lighter lampshades where possible. Darker lampshades give out less light so you might need to use a higher watt bulb with them.
    • Spotlights can be more expensive to run than other lighting, so avoid leaving them on for a long time.
    • Fluorescent tubes give out more light and are good for kitchens.
    • Consider how much light you need and see if you can take out one or two bulbs from a multiple light fitting. A small hallway may only need one 60 watt bulb instead of three. Make sure you turn off the light first and take care not to hurt yourself when removing the bulb.

    Cooking

    • Only fill kettles with as much water as you need, but make sure you cover the element if you use an electric kettle.
    • Cut food into smaller pieces before cooking; it may cook more quickly.
    • When cooking vegetables, use just enough water to cover the food and put a lid on the pan to keep the heat in.
    • Always use the right size of pan for your cooking ring.
    • Keep the lid on the pan as much as possible to keep the heat in.
    • Use pans that can divide into sections so you can cook several items at once.
    • Cook big batches of food together and freeze what you don’t need that day. It’s more energy efficient to use all the oven space available.
    • Don’t keep opening the oven door while you are cooking. Keep the glass clean and you can peek in when you need to.
    • Microwaves aren’t just handy for reheating leftovers. Use a microwave instead of the oven for fresh food too. They’re quick, easy and economical to use and they’re handy if people in your household eat at different times. For example, jacket potatoes take just five minutes in the microwave instead of an hour in the oven!
    • If you’re heating things in a microwave, try to use a microwave safe lid or cling film with holes in it to speed up cooking time.
    • Never use a gas cooker to heat a room.
    • Turn down the gas on a gas hob as soon as the water boils.
    • Remember – you don’t need to pre-heat gas grills and ovens for most dishes.

    Washing

    • Always try to put a full load of washing into your washing machine or tumble dryer.
    • Use economy programmes on your washing machine for small loads or washing which isn’t very dirty.
    • Washing at 30°C instead of a higher temperature uses around 40% less energy.* Modern washing powders and detergents work just as effectively at lower temperatures so unless you have very dirty washing, bear this in mind.
    • If you have an Economy 7 meter you’ll get cheaper electricity at night. If your washing machine or tumble dryer has a timer or delayed start, set this up so the programme starts when the cheaper electricity kicks in.
    • If the weather is fine, dry your washing outside.
    • Even if it’s raining, why not use a clothes horse to dry your clothes? It uses less energy than tumble drying and they’ll need less ironing too. But don’t hang them over radiators as you could cause condensation and use more energy in heating.
    • If you use a tumble dryer, spin your clothes in the washing machine first. They’ll dry in the tumble dryer more quickly.
    • Make sure the filters in your tumble dryer are fluff free.
    • You won’t have to iron everything if you don’t turn up the tumble dryer thermostat too high or dry your clothes for too long.
    • Hang up or fold clothes straight after drying to cut down on ironing time.
    • Plan your ironing so you don’t have to keep changing the temperature setting on your iron. Iron the clothes that need a cooler setting first, and finish with clothes that need the hottest setting.
    • You can also save energy when washing yourself! Showers are usually cheaper than baths because they use less water. If everyone in a family of four replaced one bath a week with a five minute shower, your could save up to £18 a year on your gas bill*. But be careful - a power shower running for more than 4–5 minutes it actually uses more water than it would take to fill a bath.

    Fridges and freezers

    • Don’t put your fridge or freezer next to a cooker or in the sun.
    • Make sure air can circulate around the back of your fridge or freezer and keep the back dust free. 
    • Load and unload the fridge as quickly as possible. Don’t leave the fridge door open for longer than you need to. 
    • Never put hot food in a fridge or freezer. Let it cool first. 
    • Defrost your fridge or freezer regularly. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for more details. Ice should never be more than a quarter of an inch (6mm) thick around the ice box. Check for gaps in door seals that could let warm air in. Place a piece of paper in the door, if you can easily remove the paper with the door closed, then the door is letting warm air into the fridge. Upright freezers are less efficient than chest freezers as cool air drops out of an upright freezer when you open the door.
    • Use a thermometer to make sure you have set the thermostat in your fridge or freezer to the correct temperature. If it’s too low your appliance will use more energy, and will not keep your food as effectively. 
    • Use boxes or newspaper to fill gaps in your freezer.

    Dishwashing

    • Pre-rinse dishes in cold water instead of hot.
    • If you’re washing dishes in the sink, use a bowl or sink full of water rather than leaving the hot tap running.
    • If you have a dishwasher, try to wait until you have a full load before putting it on.
    • Use your dishwashers' economy programmes whenever possible.
    • If you have an Economy 7 meter you’ll get cheaper electricity at night. If your dishwasher has a timer or delayed start, set this up so the programme starts when the cheaper electricity kicks in.

    Appliances

    • Towel dry your hair so you don’t have to use your hairdryer as much.
    • Try not to leave phones or other items charging overnight. A few hours are usually all that’s needed.
    • When you’re not using them, switch appliances off. This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to leave a TV on when we leave the room and forget about it!
    • Appliances like your TV, DVD player and games console use energy even when you’re not using them. When you turn them off they can still be in standby mode. Some appliances can use up to 90% in standby mode which in some homes is the equivalent of leaving a 100W light bulb on all year! 
      There are only a few appliances that need to be on all the time such as:

      - home security systems
      - sensor lights
      - gas and oil boilers
      - heating controls
      - remote garage door openers
      - standby reduction devices
      - fridges and freezers

      For everything else, the rule should be that if you’re not using it, switch it off at the socket.
    • This goes for devices attached to your TV or computer – speakers, printers, blu-ray players etc. If you’ve finished with it, click that switch! And if you’re worried about missing your favourite shows, plug your set top box or recording device into a separate socket from the TV etc so you can leave it on whilst turning everything else off.

  • Changes that cost a little

    Small insulation, draught proofing and double glazing

    • Your hot water tank should have insulation at least 75mm thick. If your tank is not insulated to this level, consider upgrading or adding a jacket to keep the heat in. It could save you around £40 a year*.
    • Insulate any exposed hot water pipes and you could save around £15 per year*.
    • Go on a draught hunt. Check windows, doors (keyholes and letterboxes too), loft hatches and suspended floorboards. Then start filling those gaps! DIY stores have a wide selection of draught proofing you can add yourself. For outside doors, there's draught proofing for keyholes, letterboxes and the bottom of the door. You can get draught proofing strips to fit around windows and for inside doors, you can buy or create, draught excluders. Try using a couple of pillow cases stuffed with plastic bags or old clothes.
    • Hanging thermal curtains or adding a thick lining to your existing curtains can help keep the heat in.
    • If full double glazing is a little pricey or unsuitable for your house, consider fitting secondary glazing. These are panels or panes of glass fitted inside the existing windows. They aren't as good as full double glazing but could save you around £100 per year* and are cheaper to fit. You could even fit them yourself if you're good at DIY.

    Heating

    • Use the right tog duvet to avoid using air conditioning or heating overnight. Get a low tog one for the summer and a high tog one for the winter.Try putting a spare duvet or blanket underneath the bottom sheet to keep cosy.
    • An electric blanket can be used as an alternative to turning the heating on at night, but why not try a hot water bottle instead. It’ll be cheaper and still keep you warm.
    • Get some extra blankets and keep them near to the bed to pop on if you feel cold during the night.

    Lighting

    • When you’re shopping for new light fittings, think about buying ones designed for low-energy lights.
    • Fit timers and automatic sensors to lights, especially outside ones so they’re only on when they need to be.
    • Think about replacing ordinary light bulbs with energy saving ones (or Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) to give them their proper name). They use lower wattages to produce the same amount of light as older bulbs. The cost of these bulbs has come down a lot in recent years and there are a wide variety of styles and fittings available. You can even get ones with a warm glow like older bulbs - but with the ability to last up to 10 times longer. So for each one you fit around your home, you could save around £55 over the bulb’s lifetime.* 
    • If you’re not keen on energy saving bulbs or can’t find them to fit in your existing light fittings, consider fitting lower wattage bulbs wherever possible.
       

    Energy saving products

    • An intelligent mains controller turns off the equipment linked to your TV whenever the TV is turned off.
    • A standby reduction device will automatically turn off appliances completely using your remote control, rather than leaving them on standby. You can get ones with multiple sockets and some have sockets that are ‘always on’ so you can plug in items like your Sky box without having to worry.
    • Dryer balls can be added to your tumble dryer and reduce drying time.
    • You can enjoy the feel of a power shower, but cut the cost considerably by fitting a ‘low flow shower head’. This mixes air with water, to give you the feel of an invigorating shower, but reduces the amount of water by up to 70%. 
    • If you have an Economy 7 meter, you’ll get cheaper electricity at night. If your appliances like washing machines and dishwashers don’t have timers, consider buying timers that can be fitted to the plug socket and turn the machine on when the cheaper electricity kicks in.
    • Find more energy saving products in our online shop

  • Changes that cost more

    Green Deal

    Green deal is an initiative to help you install energy saving measures like insulation or boiler upgrades in your home without large, upfront costs.

    Insulation

    • By making sure your house is insulated to a certain standard you can keep the heat in and save money.
    • Ideally, loft insulation should be around 270mm thick. It could save you up to £200 per year*.
    • Houses built from 1920 onwards usually have a gap between the inner and outer wall – these are called cavity walls. Cavity wall insulation fills that gap and it can save you up to £135 a year.*
    • If you have an older building, you might have solid walls. These can be more expensive than cavity walls to insulate but could give you a saving of up to £475 a year*.
    • Check out our insulation page for more information.

    Double glazing

    • Your home loses heat through its windows. Energy efficient glazing keeps you home warmer and quieter.
    • It also helps to reduce condensation build-up on the inside of windows.
    • Having full double glazing installed can save you up to £165 a year*.
    • If you live in a period property you may find it more difficult to get double glazing fitted. But there are companies who can fit energy efficient windows in the style of the property. The energy saving trust website has more information. 

    Boiler upgrades

    • Your boiler can account for around 60% of your energy costs* so it makes sense to make sure it’s as efficient as possible.
    • Like appliances, boilers have energy rating from A – G. By upgrading an old boiler to an A rated one, you could save up to £300 a year.*
    • We have great offers on boiler upgrades and installations so it's the perfect time to get a new, energy efficient boiler for your home. 
    • We also offer flexible payment options and a low deposit.#

    Appliances

    • Buying a new appliance can seem like a big expense, but by buying a highly energy efficient appliance, you should save energy and money in the long run.
    • Before you buy a new appliance, check its energy efficiency by looking out for the energy labels. These give each appliance an energy efficient rating on a scale from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). Where you can, go for ‘A’ rated appliances wherever possible. You’ll find some appliances can be A+ or A++ which makes them extra efficient. 
    • At the moment, manufacturers only have to put energy labels on fridges, freezers, fridge-freezers, dishwashers, washing machines, electric tumble dryers, electric ovens, air conditioners and light bulbs. But many manufacturers put them on other appliances too. If they don’t have a rating, check the details for an appliance to see how much energy they use. 
    • Look out for the Energy Saving Recommended logo as this shows the most energy efficient models.
    • Find a wide variety of energy efficiency appliances in our online shop.

    Micro-renewables

    • Generating your own renewable energy is a great long term way to save money. You may even be able to get financial help to install micro-renewables in your home.
    • There are a number of different options available such as wind turbines and ground source heat pumps.
    • When you generate your own electricity you may find you create more than you actually use. You can sell this excess back to the grid and be paid for it with a Feed in Tariff. Check out our Feed-in Tariff page for more information. 

  • #Availability of credit and the payment plans on offer are subject to status. 15% deposit required at the time of application, with no additional payments for 12 months, then pay in full with no interest or over 48 monthly payments at 14.9% APR (fixed). Example: Cash price £3000, Deposit: £450, Balance: £2550 at 14.9% APR (fixed) over 48 monthly repayments of £79.10. Total repayable: £4246.80. Finance provided by Clydesdale Financial Services Limited trading as Barclays Partner Finance (Company number 02901725) and full terms and conditions available on request. We may withdraw this offer at any time.