Over a month ago, we wrote an article about how to save energy and prepare for energy blackouts that were rumoured to occur this winter. Luckily, the National Grid suggested that the likelihood of power cuts this winter was low as there is “sufficient generation” of energy in the United Kingdom.
However, we are currently living in an economic crisis, where Jeremey Hunt, in his Autumn Statement, declared that we are in a recession. People are beginning to feel the economic squeeze because of dramatically increasing energy bills.
Not to mention the soaring inflation prices, rising taxes and spending cuts, all causing unpredictable housing market changes. You may wonder if there are any quick fixes you can do over the next couple of months to help reduce the energy you are using – and possibly save yourself money in the long run.
This article will cover some of the easiest and most intuitive ways to save energy this winter.
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Are There Any Free Ways To Save Energy?
Yes, there are many free and costless ways to save energy, like turning off your lights and switching appliances off at the wall during daytime or when you’re not using them (you could save up to £90 a year).
Saving your water use and decreasing the number of times you use the dishwasher or tumble dryer could save you around £104 a year. If you only use the dishwasher when it’s complete, you will save around £17 a year. Changing a bath for a four-minute shower could save you £115 a year.
How Do You Save Energy This Winter, Smartly?
The best (and our new favourite way) is to use innovative technology to save energy use when you do not need it. Innovative technology utilises home appliances using X10, Insteon, Wifi or Bluetooth to let you control which devices you want to use from your home or nest system.
Smart systems that are linked to your phone can also learn your homely behaviours and try to emulate your routine. This, in turn, can dramatically improve the way you use energy by optimising your daily life — although, for intelligent technology to work genuinely, you should first consider installing proper insulation.
Most new homes are developed with insulation and control over energy at the core; some even come with installed Smart hubs. However, most of the UK’s houses have been built before the year 2000 and are often far older and lack the insulation that new builds have. So if you fall into the pre-2000 category, installing Smart technology into your home now should see a return on investment in the coming years as your energy bills decline.
Smart plugs are an appliance that acts as a bog standard plug that goes into the mains but can be turned on and off remotely with your phone. The application of this is endless, but it allows you to turn off any appliances using timers when you go to work or bed. You could also use it to turn on electric heaters, slow cookers, or fans, if you’re inclined, on your way home from work. This isn’t just a way to make your life more convenient; it also allows you to save on energy by only using appliances when and where they are needed and not constantly feeding off the main’s electricity.
Alongside smart plugs, you can also get eco-chargers compatible with most mobile devices. These only use the energy needed to switch your phone off.
You can also control bright lighting from a nest or phone system. Smart bulbs are LEDs and are far more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs as they don’t create as much heat. They have a lifetime of about 25 times longer than the more traditional bulbs. Shell Energy suggests that; “20,000 hours of lighting with traditional bulbs costs £25.80 compared to £5.40 with a Smart bulb.” You could connect your smart technology hub to any eco-powering systems and batteries, like solar panels.
We spoke to Dave Tyrer, from Rio Heating about other ways to save energy this winter, he said “We all know that prices are rising and, while there’s no real way to avoid all the increases, there are some things that you can do to limit how hard you’re hit. Turning devices off at the wall rather than leaving them on standby is something that’s often thrown around, but just being more generally aware of things like turning off lights when you leave a room and doing larger washes instead of several smaller ones can help over time.
“Obviously on the larger side, you need to make sure your home is insulated as well as possible. Heating a house that’s fighting back is difficult and, even if the more expensive solutions are out of reach, a simple draught excluder across that gap at the bottom of your door or applying draught-proofing strips around a window can all help and won’t break the bank.”
“Once the heat is staying in, then it’s all about efficiency. That’s where smart electric radiators can help. They give out heat for longer and can be set to only ever warm the rooms you want. There’s no house-wide system involved like there is with central heating, so it’s easier to save money and stay warmer during the colder months.”
Is There Anything You Should Be Wary Of?
Innovative technology is fantastic when it is used correctly and ethically. But, already, there have been scams like the Voltex Power Saver that claim to half your energy bill by stabilising power, reducing dirty electricity and eliminating harmful spikes. You only have to look to their TrustPilot reviews to see victims of the scam proving their claims wrong.
The main difference between smart plugs and power savers is that they don’t claim to be something they’re not. The technology for the Voltex Power Saver has yet to be created; there isn’t anything available to the mass market that can be plugged into your wall and cut down on energy use. Electrical Safety First says that power savers “might be electrically unsafe.”
Energy-saving claims like the Voltex Power Saver have been around for a long time, and people will continue to attempt to scam vulnerable people. The best way to stay wary when buying products like this is to check their Trustpilot or Google reviews and look at the negative comments. If they have quite a few recent negative reviews claiming scams, you should only buy on the edge of caution.
If you have any questions about the Energy Crisis or want to contact us, we are always happy to help!