10 energy-saving tips for parents
- Our top 10 tips to help you cut your energy costs when you have a baby
- How to check whether your current energy supplier is the cheapest for you and switch if not
- Ways to save money on laundry and heating
Research shows that your energy use at home is likely to increase when you have a baby - unsurprising considering the amount of laundry and cleaning you have to do and the extra time you spend at home, especially when you are on maternity leave.
Our top 10 tips will help you cut your energy costs and save money for essential purchases like a new child car seat or pushchair as your baby grows.
1. Switch energy supplier
Switching energy supplier can be an easy way to save money on energy. Which? has found that the average saving over a year when you switch gas and electricity supplier is £191, and it could be higher if you've never switched before.
Our independent comparison site, Which? Switch, allows you to compare gas and electricity suppliers easily and switch to the cheapest option for you.
For more information on this, see our guide to switching energy supplier. It gives a step-by-step breakdown of what to consider when switching energy supplier.
2. Get free energy help
The Energy Saving Trust has a free home energy check to help you find out where you can make energy efficiency improvements in your home. It also tells you how much you could save if you make the suggested changes.
It estimates that some households could save £250 by following its personalised advice.
3. Use an eco-friendly washing machine
When you buy a washing machine, it's not just the initial cost you need to think about but also the long-term costs of energy usage. With a new baby around, it's inevitable that you'll be doing more laundry than before, and this is only set to increase as your child starts tucking into solid food and exploring the world around them.
Choosing an energy-efficient washing machine can save you up to £37 a year on bills. Take a look at these top energy-saving washing machines and find out why we rate them so highly.
If you're thinking about shopping around for a washing machine, use our washing machine energy costs tool to compare different machines and see the running costs for different models.
4. Find an energy-saving tumble dryer
Doing more laundry is likely to mean using your tumble dryer more. Tumble dryers are particularly useful for parents as it means you don't have to wait too long for your baby's clothes to dry - especially with the unpredictable British weather making line drying a gamble.
However, increased use of your tumble dryer will mean a rise in your electricity costs, too. Annual running costs for tumble dryers vary from £39 to £139, so finding an energy-efficient one can help save quite a few pounds.
Take a look at our energy-saving tumble dryers to help you cut future drying costs. If you already have an energy efficient tumble dryer, our energy-saving tumble dryer tips will help you make the most of it.
5. Choose an energy-efficient dishwasher
A dishwasher can be a useful investment for parents. They use less water than if you do the additional washing up you will inevitably have to do with the arrival of a baby by hand. The main wash program on a full-size dishwasher uses about 18 litres of water - less that two washing-up bowls full - and will clean 120 items.
Dishwashers can also be used to sterilise baby bottles instead of using a bottle steriliser. If you choose to use a dishwasher to sterilise bottles, you must wash them at 80 degrees or higher, and the bottles should be used straightaway as bacteria can start to grow as soon as they are taken out of the dishwasher.
See which of our Best Buy dishwashers have been identified as energy savers in our rigorous testing.
6. Consider an energy-saving TV
Spending more nights in is likely to mean watching more TV - another reason why your electricity use can increase. And as your child gets older, they too will probably be watching TV.
Our reviews of energy efficient TVs are a great place to start if you're looking for a new TV to help reduce energy costs. We've identified some Best Buy models that are energy saving.
7. Use energy-saving light bulbs
When you're feeding your baby throughout the night, you will probably be turning lights on and off more than ever. Even as your child gets bigger and can turn lights on themselves, they may not be quite so diligent at turning them off again.
One way of keeping electricity costs low is to use energy-saving light bulbs. If you replace all your light bulbs in your house with energy-saving ones, you could save £60 a year on your electricity bill.
Energy-saving light bulbs also last longer than traditional ones, which means they will need to be bought and replaced less often. Take a look at our guide to how to buy energy-saving light bulbs to choose the right ones for you.
8. Reduce draughts in your home
Reducing draughts in your home is a simple and effective way of cutting energy costs - the less the heat can escape, the warmer your house will be, so you can turn your heating down to save money and still keep the family warm.
Here's how to reduce draughts in your home:
- Windows - use draught-proofing strips around the frames; brush strips work better for sash windows.
- Doors - use draught-proofing strips for gaps around the edges and brush or hinged flap draught-excluders on the bottom of doors.
- Chimneys and fireplaces - if you don't use your fireplace, use an inflatable cushion, also known as a chimney balloon, to block the chimney or fit a cap over the chimney pot.
- Floorboards and skirting - as floorboards need to move, use a flexible silicon-based filler to fill the gaps.
- Loft hatches - using draught-proofing strips will help stop warm air escaping from your home into the loft.
Also consider turning down your thermostat if your home is already draught-proofed. Take a look at our top five tips for using your heating controls effectively.
9. Get an energy monitor
An energy monitor is a handheld device that calculates how much energy you are using in real time, so you can easily see where to cut back.
Monitors can cost from around £40 but some gas and electricity suppliers provide them for free. Read our energy monitor reviews to choose the best one for you.
If you already have an energy monitor, take a look at our expert tips for getting the most from your energy monitor.
10. Don't waste money on eco products you don't need
Although getting the best energy-efficient appliances is a great way to cut energy costs in your household, make sure you don't spend money on unnecessary items. Avoid these 10 eco-products you don't need and save £535. It will leave you with more to spend on useful baby gadgets, such as the 10 most useful baby products as voted for by parents.
- Find out which are the Best Buys for family homes
- Get peace of mind with our baby monitor reviews
- Protect your child with our guide to baby safety equipment