Save electricity and save money
Article 2 of 4
Save electricity and save money
Find out how small changes around your home can save you money and help you cut your electricity usage.
Cutting the amount of electricity you use isn't just better for the environment – it will save you money, too.
Inefficient households could save hundreds of pounds a year by making changes to use electricity more efficiently.
Keep reading to find out what you can do to save electricity and cut your energy bill.
The easiest way to cut your bill is to make sure you're on the best energy deal. Use our independent switching site, Which? Switch, to compare gas and electricity tariffs.
How much money can I save?
Your home appliances and lighting and account for over 70% of the electricity you use at home, according to the government. So being efficient has huge potential to save you money.
Even without buying new energy-efficient appliances, changing the way you use them can save you quite a lot. For example, tumble drying clothes can cost over £100 a year if your machine isn't particularly efficient.
You can cut this by following our simple energy-saving tumble dryer tips.
In the UK we can all save an extra £30 a year by turning off appliances when we're not using them, rather than leaving them on standby, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Although new models are much more energy efficient, remember especially to unplug older inefficient products to cut this down.
Compare energy suppliers to save money
To make sure you're not wasting money by paying more than you need to for gas and electricity, compare energy prices with our switching service Which? Switch.
- Saving: Move from a pricey Big Six standard tariff to the cheapest deal on the market and you could save around £300.
(This figure is the difference between the priciest standard tariff from one of the Big Six energy companies, and the cheapest tariff available GB-wide for dual-fuel customers, paying by direct debit with online bills. Data is from Energylinx and correct in June 201.8)
Save money with low-energy light bulbs
Changing traditional light bulbs to energy-saving equivalents can make a big difference to your electricity bills.
Shops have been banned from selling traditional incandescent bulbs for household use since September 2012, but many homes still use them. Traditional bulbs last for an average of one year, but energy-saving bulbs can last up to 10 years. Some LED bulbs can even last 25 years.
You can use the results of our tough lab tests to discover the best and worst LEDs.
Traditional 40W, 60W and 100W bulbs have equivalent low-energy versions, which are rated approximately 8W, 10W and 15-20W respectively. By replacing a 40W traditional bulb with an 8W low-energy one, you have immediately cut your use by 80% for that bulb.
Lighting your home accounts for 15% of the average household's electricity bill, so it's easy to see how savings can add up. Remember to turn off lights in rooms you're not using.
- Saving: For each light bulb replaced with an energy-saving equivalent, you can save around £7 a year.
Also consider how many light bulbs you need on in a room, make sure your light switches are easy to reach, and put sensors or timers on external lights.
Monitor your electricity use
An energy monitor is a small, simple gadget that estimates in real time how much energy you're using in your home. You can use it to find out how different appliances affect your consumption.
You can buy an energy monitor or get an in-home display (IHD) free of charge if you get a smart meter installed.
Both will show where you could make savings, and lets you see the impact when you change your habits. The monitor itself won't save you electricity, but using it in the right way will. Find out more about smart meters.
Generate your own electricity
Although it takes time to recoup the installation cost, you could try producing your own electricity to go the extra mile for energy efficiency.
Solar panels can generate electricity (solar PV panels). A financial incentive, the feed-in tariff, pays you to generate electricity in this way. You could make around £6,850 over 20 years (but you should take into account repaying the cost of buying the panels, which could be around £5,970).
For a much lower initial cost, solar thermal panels will help you heat water - this can slash your water-heating bill by a third.
Small domestic wind turbines cost around £3,000 (1kW roof-mounted turbine) to install. This means they have shorter payback periods than solar panels.
The average wind speed around your house is key to how your small domestic turbine will perform. For most people in the UK, it won't be worth it. Find out more in our wind turbine guide.
- Saving: An average solar PV installation (3.5kWp costing £5,970), positioned on an optimum roof, could save £72 on electricity bills annually and earn £292 in tariffs.
Other ways to save electricity
Unplug your gadget chargers when you're not using them. If a charger feels warm when it's plugged in, it's still using energy, even if it's not attached to a device.
Buy energy-efficient appliances. The upfront cost should not be the only factor you consider when you choose a new TV, fridge or tumble dryer. The annual running cost of appliances varies a lot, and choosing the least efficient models could leave you hundreds of pounds poorer every year.
- Saving Choose appliances with low running costs. For example, our tests reveal that tumble dryers can vary between £23 and £140 to run for one year.