Living room

Do you spend a lot of time in your living room?

Then continue reading below to discover simple ways to help reduce your energy bills.

Lights

Energy-saving bulbs use up to 90% less electricity than traditional bulbs and, just as bright, they last over 10 times longer. In other words 17p will run a traditional light bulb for around 16 hours whereas an energy efficient bulb will run for around 90 hours, plus you need to change the bulbs less often!

Savings can work out at up to £9 per bulb per year. This can add up quite quickly throughout your home. For example spotlight fittings often mean multiple bulbs in one area which can work out very costly, so it makes sense to change these to energy saving bulbs. Also remember that the best way to save energy is not to use it! Never leave lights on that aren’t in use. It does not save energy to leave a light on rather than switch it off and on again.

Top tips

  • Change those bulbs used most often first, don’t forget lamps too
  • Look for energy saving trust recommended label
  • If it’s not in use, turn it off

What you can do

  • Have the most energy efficient bulbs you can afford. LED’s are the best but CFL’s save a lot of energy and cost less than LED’s
  • LED’s turn on instantly as there is no warm up time. CFLs take a few seconds but are good for rooms used for long periods at a time
  • You can still get the light that you like… look for lumen rating which shows brightness rather than Watts (energy use). Also look for the shape plus CRI or LUX levels tell you how warm the bulb is. CRI 80 is the closest light to traditional bulbs

Recycle at a relevant place where possible. Due to the tiny amount of mercury in the bulb, the longer lifetime means it is better environmentally when compared to that used to burn fossil fuel.

For more information about recycling light bulbs take a look here.

Plugs

Leaving appliances on Standby can cost a household up to £80 over a year. Common offenders can be DVD players, speakers, dishwashers and even wifi routers. We have many more appliances than ever before so energy efficiency is key to keep bills low.

The energy used by appliances on standby is only small but it is still wasted energy. You don’t benefit from it so why pay for it? When plugged in but not even on standby this still draws a little energy. A simple test is to feel the back of the plug whilst plugged into the socket, if it feels warm it is using some energy!

From 2015 legislation requires that appliances will automatically go to low energy sleep mode – it is estimated that it will cut the average individuals use by 10% over 5 years resulting in a predicted saving of £32 each year.

Don’t forget laptops use about 85% less energy than PC’s which is great news for saving money on energy bills. The bad news is that they are often left plugged in and on standby when fully charged. If there’s a light on – unplug it!

Top tips

  • Don’t leave things on standby
  • Only have on what you need
  • Unplug things when they have finished charging – they continue to draw energy

What you can do

There are lots of devices available to help cut standby costs whilst keeping convenience:

  • Bye Bye standbye, Power down plug, tower or consider using timers for other appliances
  • Look for energy efficiency ratings when replacing appliances
  • You could try label sockets which can be switched off (e.g. TV, kettle, mobile phone) with a green sticker and those which shouldn’t (e.g. fridge freezer, skybox) with a red sticker

Windows and trickle vents

Windows are a cool spot in any house but they let out an average of 15% of the total heat of a property. Roof and floors would be more like 25% whilst walls can be up to 30%.

One of the larger issues faced by modern housing can be condensation. Windows and trickles vents are an excellent help with this as the key to control this is through ventilation.

Top tips

  • Make sure handles are fully shut, not just pulled to
  • Use trickle vents regularly to help ventilation – even whilst out of the house
  • Double glazing makes a difference

What you can do

Trickle vents are important to keep ventilation. Each day we generate moisture by simple things like breathing, washing and cooking. This needs to be let outside to avoid a build up of condensation, even throughout Winter.

Radiators or storage heaters

Cost is in the heating up the heating system, so using your heating controls accurately can save up to £150 each year. Leaving it on low all day could run the risk of costing you money whilst you are out, but not getting the home to the temperature you need could mean you never get fully warm.

If you have gas central heating bear in mind the price of gas is cheaper than electricity so it is better to use central heating rather than an electric heater where you can. Having the heating set to be on constantly at a low temperature is the most efficient way to use your heating. If you are out for hours at a time whilst your heating is on, you are paying for energy that is totally wasted. If you are in your home for a lot of the time this may be preferable but it runs the risk that you spend on your bills yet never feel fully warm. A better option might be to have the heating set to come on several hours at a time to reach a comfortable temperature and find other ways to keep warm in the meantime – with blankets, hot meals and drinks, or going to visit friends.

Top tips

  • Control using radiator valves (TRV’s) is the best option – contact Worthing Homes if you don’t have these
  • Learn how to use your heating controls

What you can do

  • Keep radiators and storage heaters clear by at least 30cm to avoid paying for your boiler to work harder to pump the heat through furniture. This includes keeping curtains clear so heat can go into the room rather than the fabric or out of the window.
  • Make sure your home is insulated and work on ‘directing’ the heat according to the controls on your radiator or storage heater
  • Avoid drying clothes on radiators or storage heaters. It costs more, creates condensation and makes your boiler less efficient
  • Learn to use your heating controls
  • Look for radiator reflector panels – you can even use foil around cardboard