Energy prices can soar in the winter. It’s freezing cold so we whack up the heating, we’re at home more as we’re less likely to venture out in the evenings so we use more electrical appliances. It's a viscous cycle.
Thankfully, Which? recently conducted a test of the costs of basic gadgets around the home based on the average use average electricity price. It found that making four slices of toast a day costs £3.65, putting the kettles on for two mugs of tea twice a day costs £730, while two hours of ironing a week will set you back a whopping £14.04. I’ve never needed a better reason to avoid the iron.
There are some easy ways you can shave pounds off your energy bill and winter-proof your home:
- Switch off appliances at the plug when they’re not in use. Newer electronic appliances follow regulations that state they must use less that 1W when on standby; older electric goods are not energy-saving so it’s worth considering switching them off.
- Keep your fridge and freezer full (you can even pack them with bottles of water if you need to fill the space). Don’t overfill them though as they won’t be able to circulate air and will use more energy to keep your food cold. Annual fridge freezer running costs can vary by £88 a year, depending on the model you buy.
- Most TVs have an eco mode which uses a sensor to measure the room’s ambient light and adjusts the picture settings accordingly.
- Only fill your kettle with the amount of water needed; don’t automatically top it to the brim each time. You should also descale your kettle regularly or you’ll pay to use more energy to boil the same amount of water.
- This should be common sense, but don’t walk around in a vest top with the heating on full blast. Turn it down a notch and stick a jumper on.
- If it suits your lifestyle better, look into having an economy meter installed. These will have cheaper rates during the night, so you can use storage heaters that store heating through the evening and let it out gradually through the day – so perfect if you’re on night shifts and need to do a load of washing before setting off. But bear in mind, this is only worth using if you’re at home in the daytime, as this is when the heat is released. Home owners with storage heaters commonly report that all the heat has been released by late evening.
- After central heating, fridges and freezers are the biggest contributors to your energy bill and account for 20% of electricity used in the average UK home, so if you need to upgrade you should definitely buy energy-efficient appliances. The most energy-efficient fridge freezer inWhich? tests costed £14 a year to run, compared to the most expensive at £102. Most white goods have an energy-efficiency rating on the label.
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