Skyrocketing energy prices have played a major role in the ongoing cost of living crisis.

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The latest rise in the energy price cap means the average energy bill in the UK will increase to £2,500 a year for the typical household.

With more and more people struggling to make ends meet and looking for ways to save electricity, at Plumbing Superstore we decided to put together a list of tried and tested energy-saving tips.

Let’s dive in.

Table of contents:

How many kWh does the average home use in the UK?

The amount of energy your household uses is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). It might come as a surprise, but today UK homes use around the same amount of energy as they did 30 years ago, even though the typical household has roughly four times as many appliances (13) as it did back in 1990 (4). That’s due to a variety of factors, such as vastly improved energy efficiency.

But with so many appliances, what uses the most electricity in a house?

That would be your wet appliances – washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers and so on – which together account for 14% of your typical bill.

So, what are the actual numbers?

Here’s the scoop:

The average annual electricity usage in a small household (1-2 people living in a flat or a 1-bedroom house) is 1,800 kWh. The corresponding figures for a medium household (2-3 people in a 3-bedroom house) and a large one (4-5 people living in a 5-bedroom house) are 2,900 kWh and 4,300 kWh, respectively.

In addition, the average annual consumption of gas for small, medium and large households is 8,000 kWh, 12,000 kWh and 17,000 kWh, respectively.

How to save energy at home

Energy saving tips

There is lots you can do when it comes to reducing electricity consumption at home with heating and ventilation. However, some tips require a considerable initial outlay, which could potentially prove beyond many people.

Luckily, that’s not the case across the board.

Here’s the deal:

There are things you can do which require very little investment on your part. We’re going to start with these simpler tips to save electricity.

Switch off standby mode

Leaving devices on standby mode is a sin most of us are guilty of committing, simply because we tend not to think about it. And yet, remembering to switch off devices we’re not using at the moment can go a long way towards saving energy at home, whether we’re homeowners or renters.


Standby mode isn’t as big of an issue as it used to be since most devices are far more energy efficient than their predecessors. That being said, standby mode is still wasted energy, with some studies suggesting that the average UK household wastes a massive 7,374 hours of energy every year as a result of these ‘phantom’ or ‘vampire’ loads.

Depending on the number of devices, you might be able to save anywhere from £40 to over £100 a year by not using standby mode.

Don’t be blinded by the lights

Walking out of a room and leaving the lights on is yet another thing many of us do in a fit of absentmindedness. In fact, the bigger our households, the bigger the problem. And yet the fix is so simple. Simply switching off lights when you’re not using them could save you around £20 per year.

But wait! There’s more:

Ordinary lightbulbs are incredibly inefficient. In contrast, LED lightbulbs use around 70%-80% less energy – which, bearing in mind that lighting can amount to up to 11% of your electricity bill, is quite a lot. That’s why you should consider replacing your old bulbs with LED ones.

Sure, they’re more expensive, but you can save anywhere between £5 and £13 per bulb per year.

A picture containing lighting, light fixture, and ceiling fixtures.

Wash & dry clothes smarter

If you plan ahead, you can do one fewer washing cycle per week. Try to combine similar types of colours, clothes and other items for a fuller load. And unless your washing machine it’s quite old, feel confident to wash at 30° as much as possible.

The thing is:

Most of us tend to opt for a 40° on most occasions, but modern washers are perfectly capable of doing a proper job using the lower temperatures. This way, you’ll save around £28 a year.

A washing machine in a room

In terms of how to save on your electric bill, you also need to know when to use the washer. The cheapest time to use washing machines is between 10pm and 5am, when energy tariffs are lowest.

Then there’s drying. Tumble dryers are incredibly convenient because they take so little time to dry our clothes. Unfortunately, they also use a lot of energy. That’s why you should air dry your clothes as much as possible, especially during the warm, dry months.

Remember – clothes horses and washing lines are your friends, so much so that cutting down your tumble dryer usage over the course of a year could leave you around £60 better off.

Turn down the thermostat

Turning down the thermostat is one of the easiest things to do. It’s also one of the most problematic, especially in a larger household. While not everyone is comfortable with a colder home, there are ways to go about it without freezing, such as putting on a bigger jumper or a snuggie blanket during the day and using a hot water bottle at night. In case you weren’t aware, Public Health England recommends an indoor temperature of 18°-21°.

A picture containing a thermostat on a wall

What’s more:

There are considerable savings to be had. For instance, turning down your thermostat by one degree can save you around £130 a year. In addition, you shouldn’t heat unoccupied rooms. If no one’s using the bedrooms, why leave the heating on? To switch it off, you’ll need individual thermostats, preferably smart ones (more on that later).

Still, it’s an investment well worth making. Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually cheaper to have the heating on only when you need it rather than having it on low all day. Just make sure you keep the doors between heated and unheated rooms closed to prevent heat loss.

Hurry up in the shower

Everyone loves a nice, hot shower on a winter’s day – or a long, cold shower during a heatwave. But if you cut your shower time to 4 minutes, you might be to save about £70 per year for the entire household. Don’t forget you’ll also save money on your water bill. Like quite a few of our other tips on our list, it’s really quite simple, as all it requires is a bit of discipline.

But how do you measure the time, I hear you ask?

A picture containing wall, shower, bathroom, indoor, plumbing fixture

One way is to buy a shower timer. However, there’s already a device we all own that makes this unnecessary – the smartphone. Simply put on a favourite song around the 4-minute length, and you’re good to go. Just don’t go for Enya or something similar, or you’ll end up spending 40 minutes, not 4!

Another thing you can do to up your shower game is install a more efficient showerhead. This has the added benefit of making your showering experience more pleasant.

Bleed the radiators

If you have a central heating system, you have radiators. And that means air can get trapped inside them, preventing them from functioning properly.

The question is:

How do you know that’s the case?

A cat lying on a radiator

One thing to note is that a radiator with air in it will take longer than usual to heat up. Also, you might feel cold spots on it. Luckily, bleeding your radiator is easy and only takes about 10 minutes. You should do it at least once a year, the perfect time being just before you switch on your heating for the winter.


Draught-proof your home

In order to maximise your electricity savings, you need to avoid wasting heat at all times. And one of the best ways to do this is to draught-proof your doors, windows and any unused chimneys. If you’re a seasoned DIYer, you can do it yourself.

But if you’re not confident in your abilities, you can always call in the professionals. Keep in mind that this will set you back a couple of hundred pounds.

It’s well worth it, though:

By draught-proofing your doors and windows, you’ll save around £45 a year and as much as £65 if you do the same with your chimney.

Invest in smart heating controls & appliances

We now get to some of the more expensive energy-saving ideas. We recognise that not everyone will be able to set aside the amount of money required to carry them out. But while it’s true they mean a significant initial outlay, the long-term benefits will be significant.

Here’s the scoop:

One of the best things you can do in terms of power saving is to invest in smart heating controls and appliances. A smart thermostat will allow you to control the temperature in your home on the go. There’s no point in having the heating on when there’s nobody in, right? But you don’t want to come to a cold home after a long, hard day of work either.

A tablet on a counter with a smart heating controls app

Smart thermostats offer the best solution and allow you to monitor your energy usage closely. Ideally, you should have one in each room, so you can set a different temperature for each zone. Over time, they learn your habits and adapt, allowing you to use as little energy as possible without compromising on comfort.

If you install smart thermostats, programmers and thermostatic radiator valves, you’ll be able to save as much as £75 on your energy bills. Besides, you’ll increase the comfort of your home. A win on all fronts!

But that’s not all:

When it comes to how to save electricity, a smart meter is another must-have. Smart meters will be required by law in all UK households by 2024, but why wait till then? Get yours as soon as possible.

Last but not least, consider replacing older appliances with smart ones, as they can be a significant drain on energy, especially in a larger household. In contrast, new ones are highly energy efficient.

Install insulation

Did you know that you’re losing one-quarter of your heat if your roof is uninsulated?

This is huge!

So, the best way to conserve energy is to install insulation. Start with your loft, but don’t end there! While you’re at it, insulate the walls and windows. Then do the same for your hot water cylinder and any exposed hot water pipes to prevent them from losing heat.

Yes, insulation is expensive, but it’s guaranteed to save you loads of money in the long run. If you have cavity walls, you might be eligible for a government grant, so make sure you check with your local authorities. You need all the help you can get.

For best results, use a British Standard Jacket 80mm thick.

Don’t overfill the kettle

A kettle on a stove

Whatever our preferred brew, in the UK we love nothing better than a cuppa. In fact, we make around 100 million cups every single day, which amounts to a whopping 36 billion a year!

The problem is:

When we make a cuppa, many of us automatically fill the kettle all the way to the brim, which is grossly inefficient. And if our thoughts are somewhere else and it’s slipped our minds, almost one-quarter of us re-boil the kettle, which makes matters even worse.

It might take a bit more attentiveness, but you should only boil as much water as you need. By doing so, you’ll be able to say between £20 and £35 a year. Don’t knock it.

Save on energy bills with our expert energy-saving tips

And there you have it – 10 crafty energy-saving tips that will help you get through the ongoing energy crisis.

There’s something for everyone on our list:

Some of the ideas, like remembering to switch off the light when you leave the room and not filling your kettle to the brim, require nothing but a bit of discipline.

Others, like buying smart thermostats and insulating your home, are significant long-term investments. They will benefit you immensely in the long run but will set you back considerably at first. It’s up to you to decide which electric-saving options you’re going to take and in what order.

The bottom line is:

When it comes to how to reduce your electricity bill, there are plenty of things you can do to make it through the energy crisis. Best of luck! We’ll see you on the other side.

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