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Energy Saving Tips

We've put together a few hints and tips about easy ways to save energy (and money) around your home.

There's lots more information available online from a huge range of sources - including Money Saving Expert and the Energy Saving Trust. You can also request a free energy assessment from South Dartmoor Community Energy (in the South Hams) or Tamar Energy Community in West Devon.

Saving Energy - Simple Tips

1. Know how much your appliances cost to run.

Money Saving Expert has a good 'rule of thumb' - find the wattage of an appliance (it should be on the label). Current costs are about 34p per kilowatt (1,000 watts) per hour. So a lamp with a wattage of 100 watts would be one tenth of a kilowatt per hour - or 3.4p.

The table below gives you the costs of some typical appliances. Please note these prices are based on the October 2022 price guarantee of 34p per kilowatt hour.

ApplianceCost per hour
Tumble dryer (3,000 watts)£1.02
Oven (2,000 watts)68p
Kettle (1,800 watts)61p
Electric hob (1,700 watts)58p
Dishwasher (1,200 watts)41p
TV (30 watts)1.02p
Light bulb (10 watts)0.34p
Washing machine (700 watts)24p
Slow cooker (225 watts)8p

2. Fill up your washing machine.

Try and do one less load of washing per week, and make sure you fill the machine each time. You could also try washing at a lower temperature - 30 ºC is fine for everyday washing - save 40 ºC and higher for tough stains.

3. Tumble driers - avoid!

Tumble driers are one of the most expensive appliances to run - up to £1 to run for an hour, with most cycles being 90 minutes at least. Drying clothes on an airer (with a window open to avoid damp) or outside can save a significant amount. There's also the added bonus that you're less likely to shrink your favourite pair of jeans and end up paying to replace those too!

4. Change your light bulbs

LED lights use about half the energy of the fluorescent spiral-style lights, and last longer too. There's an initial cost to buy them, but you'll soon recoup that. Swapping 50 watt halogen bulbs to LEDs could save up to £6 per bulb per year - so if you have 20 bulbs in your home that's a saving of £120 per year.

5. Investigate Slow Cookers and Air Fryers

These appliances are a great way to save money and energy on your cooking. A slow cooker can make a delicious stew or Bolognese in a few hours for just 24p (for three hours), whereas a fan oven will cost 58p in just one hour.

Air fryers are actually more of a tiny oven than a fryer - they cook food by circulating hot air in a small space, which speeds up cooking time. They can be expensive to buy, but many people report that they are noticing savings using them.

3. Phone charging tips

Hands up if you plug your switched-on phone in at bedtime to charge and leave it on all night? Most mobile phones charge fully in three hours, so if you're leaving it plugged in for seven or more you're wasting energy. 

Try and top your phone up throughout the day instead, and turn it off while it's charging - it will charge a lot faster.

For nearly fifty more energy-saving tips, check out the Money Saving Expert Guide.

Making your home energy efficient

If you need to make your home more energy-efficient, check out our Housing Grants, Loans and Services section. Funding is sometimes available, or we may be able to help with a low-cost loan from our partners Lendology.

Other cheaper methods of making your home energy-efficient include:

  • Reflective panels behind your radiators - these reflect heat back into the room and prevent it escaping through external walls.
  • Radiator shelves - these work on the same principle, directing heat back into the room instead of allowing it to rise.
  • Line your curtains - lining material, such as fleece or canvas, is cheap and readily available, and will help keep the warmth in your house. Make sure any material you buy is fire-retardant.
  • Look into professional draught proofing. If you have an open chimney, a draught excluder fitted inside the chimney or around the fireplace can save up to £90 a year.

Check out the Energy Saving Trust website for more hints and tips.

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