How to use less energy, while staying at home

03 April 2020 | OVO Energy

These are difficult and challenging times. And it’s going to be a real team effort to get through. One of the biggest challenges for many of us is the worry that more time at home means using more energy. Together with the energy industry and the government, we’re working hard to find ways to protect people – especially those who may struggle to pay their bills. 

You can find out what we’re doing to keep everyone safe in our Coronavirus FAQs. And keep reading for practical energy-saving tips that you can start to follow straight away. 

You won’t need to leave the house to buy anything. And as well as helping keep your bills down, by saving energy you’ll cut carbon emissions too. 

In the kitchen

Use your microwave instead
Microwaves are a great energy-efficient way to heat up food. This is because they concentrate power on a small space for a short period of time.

But if you are cooking on the hob you can take simple steps to save energy here too. One idea is to make sure that your pan fits the ring you’re using. A pan that’s too small, for instance, will lose energy out the sides. While a pan that’s too big will use more energy (and take more time!) to cook your food.  

Open your oven door after using it
A little known hint: once you’re done cooking, switch off your oven, open its door and let the heat fill the rest of the house. If you open the door to your kitchen while you’re doing this, it’ll help even more. Just remember to be careful if you have children in the house.

Just boil the water you need
By only filling the kettle with as much water as you need, it will save money and energy.

Swap taps for bowls
Washing up in a bowl rather than letting the taps run can cut £25 off your annual energy bills1

For more tips on saving energy in the kitchen, head here.

Heating and your boiler

Layer up 
Did you know wearing layers traps heat? Don’t put your winter jumpers away just yet. Because turning the thermostat down by just one degree can save most households £80 on their annual energy bill1. But remember to keep your home at a safe temperature. It shouldn’t be lower than 18C. 

Tweak the water temperature
If the water is feeling a bit too hot when you’re washing up or taking a shower, try turning it down directly on the boiler. Doing this means the boiler doesn’t have to work so hard to heat up the water in the first place – using less energy and saving money.

Move furniture away from radiators 
If you’ve got furniture in front of your radiators, they won’t be able to heat rooms properly. Try moving things around, and see if your home feels warmer. The same goes if you’re drying laundry on your radiators: once something’s dry, take it off to make them more efficient. 

Bleed your radiators
Feel the top of your radiators when they’re on. If they’re cold, this means it’s likely they need to be bled with a radiator key. You can tell if you’ve done it because once all the air’s gone, water starts to drip. After that, your home should feel warmer, faster. 

Check your pressure
The ideal boiler pressure should be between bars 1 and 2 (this varies from boiler to boiler, so also check your boiler manual for the correct information). Give yours a check, and if the pressure isn’t what it should be, check the instruction manual to learn how to change it. 

For more information, see our full guide on the most efficient and cheapest ways to heat your home.

Saving electricity

Open the curtains
It might sound obvious, but making use of the daylight as much as possible instead of turning on electric lights can help save money. The sunshine can also help warm your house.

Turn off at the wall
Try not to leave things on standby. You could save up to £30 a year2 by turning things off at the wall. So when you’re done with a Netflix marathon, don’t just turn off with the remote – flick that switch at the plug. 

Keeping the heat in

Make your own DIY draught excluder
Fancy a little project to entertain the kids or keep the boredom at bay? How about following our step by step guide to making a draught excluder here. As well as keeping cold air out (and warm air in), which means less energy is wasted when heating your home, this sweet excluder is shaped like a sausage dog.

Dig out that hot water bottle
They’re a cheaper way to stay cosy than electric blankets. Or go pile on regular blankets instead. 

Doing the washing

Cool down
Almost all of a washing machine’s energy is used heating up the water. But if you wash your clothes at 30-40 degrees you can cut this right down. But if your clothes may have been exposed to Coronavirus, the correct temperature to wash at is 60. 

You can also save energy by making sure you’re doing a full load, and using a lower spin cycle. 

Line dry
Tumble dryers use lots of electricity, so avoid using them if you can. If it’s warm enough and you’ve got an outside space, dry clothes here instead to save energy.

If you’d like even more tips on how to save energy, we’ve got 120 of them, right here

Or try OVO Beyond
If you have a smart meter, upgrade to OVO Beyond to get our Energy Spotlights. These are energy-saving insights and actions brought to you by our energy scientists - tailored to you and your home. From cooking to entertainment, you’ll see exactly where your energy goes – and what you can do to stop wasting it.

1 - Source, Energy Saving Trust 
2 - Standby energy consumption figures given by the Energy Saving Trust. Emissions factors are based on the lifecycle electricity emissions for the UK grid average electricity fuel mix. Emissions factors were provided by the Carbon Trust

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