5 summer holiday energy hacks – Brits waste nearly £50 on energy while away
UK 'could follow Berlin' to save energy prices says Buckley
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Energy prices have been on a steep incline since the start of the year, but what’s even more worrying is that you could be paying for energy you’re not even using. As the summer holidays begin, many are planning and prepping for a nice trip away from home. But before you leave, it’s crucial to carry out some key energy housekeeping to avoid unnecessary costs.
The energy price cap increased by 54 percent in April, adding a staggering £700 to household bills – and this is only due to rise a further 24 percent in October.
Consequently, British households have been warned bills of more than £3,500 a year could last well into 2024.
Speaking to BBC Radio Four on Thursday, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis said: “I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s going to throw many households into a terribly difficult financial situation that will leave them making some awful choices.
“The current prediction is prices will rise 77 percent on top of the rise we saw in April, taking the typical bill to £3,500 a year, that’s with the prediction I go for. Others are saying it will go higher — we’re expecting it to rise again in January.
“Now what that means year on year from last October to this October, a typical house will be paying £2,300 a year more on their energy bills alone.”
Naturally, many are desperately searching for ways to slash costs and a good place to start is to tackle unnecessary expenses.
Amongst the several factors this could include, not carrying out appropriate energy housekeeping before going on holiday has been found to possibly be adding a hefty £46 to energy bills, according to new research from Loop, the energy saving app.
Dr. Steve Buckley, head of data science at Loop said: “Our research found Brits could be adding a sizeable £46 to their energy bills during a two-week break by leaving on household appliances unnecessarily.
“And with the cost of living soaring, none of us want to pay for energy we don’t mean to use. But by taking a few simple steps, you can keep your home energy consumption in check.”
According to Loop’s research, leaving the hot water on in a medium-sized house of two to three people costs around £9.80 over a two-week period.
Over the same time period, leaving devices on standby could rack up £14.12 in costs, whereas leaving four 60w lightbulbs on would be costing you around £22.80.
Dr Buckley said: “If you’re about to head away on a much-anticipated summer break, take a few minutes to do some energy housekeeping before you leave to avoid any unnecessary spending on your energy bills.
“After all, the last thing you want to be fretting about while you’re relaxing on the beach is your energy use.”
Here are five summer holiday energy hacks to help reduce your bill on your return.
Turn your heating off
Heating and hot water is a major contributor to most household bills. But if you’re travelling in the warmer summer months then it’s worth considering turning your boiler off entirely.
Dr Buckley said: “Whilst you may have already turned your heating off (though our recent research found that 50 percent of households still had their heating on during April) you should still turn off your water heating.
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“Based on the average annual gas bill for a medium-sized house, leaving this on over a two-week period could add almost £10 to gas bills.”
If you have electric underfloor heating, this is area that’s very easy to forget about, particularly if you have separate room-based systems that aren’t controlled centrally.
Dr Buckley said: “Whilst these are thermostatically controlled and therefore less likely to come on when the weather is warm, if it goes on for an hour per day, for example, overnight, then it could cost you almost £12 over a 14-day break.”
Of course, this advice doesn’t quite stretch to winter holidays, as you’ll need the heating on at least some of the time to stop things like pipes from freezing.
In this instance, Dr Buckley advises using a smart thermostat because depending on the model, it will automatically turn down the heating when you’re away to help save energy while ensuring it’s warm enough to prevent your pipes from freezing.
Don’t leave anything on you don’t need to
Some appliances, like fridges and freezers, must stay on, but others – especially those left on standby – really could do with being switched off.
Dr Buckley said: “You may already be aware that appliances continue to drain energy, even when left on standby.
“However, the bigger energy stealers are the things that are left on all the time, either intentionally or accidentally.”
According to Dr Buckley, the things that fall into these categories that are worth turning off before you go away include set-top boxes and computers, plus easy-to-forget things like underfloor heating, heated towel rails and extra drinks fridges.
Collectively these, make up what Loop call ‘Phantom Load’. A Phantom Load of 150w currently costs £368 per year, so two weeks of not turning everything off could cost you around £14.
Dr Buckley advised: “So before you leave home and set off on holiday, walk from room to room turning off everything you won’t be using at the plug – television, microwave, any devices left on charge, heated towel rails, smart speakers, the lot.”
Leave a full freezer
This trick might sound odd, but keeping your fridge and freezer full helps it to run as efficiently as possible.
Dr Buckley said: “Even if that means adding bags of ice to your freezer or a jug of water in your fridge.”
Other ways to improve the efficiency is to rid the rear of your fridge of dust and your freezer of any ice buildups.
Turn off lights
Don’t forget to turn the lights off before heading out the door, as leaving four 60w lightbulbs on over two weeks amounts to around £22 of wasted energy.
Dr Buckley said: “If you opt to leave some lights on for security, use an automatic timer to save some cash.
“Better still, investing in smart lighting means you’ll be able to control your lights remotely using an app on your phone.”
But if you are considering automatic lights while away, Dr Buckley advises switching to LED lighting, as it’s much more energy-efficient and can help save you money in the long term.
He said: “After the initial investment, replacing your light bulbs with an LED version will save £35 per year. You can make the switch to LED for both indoor and outdoor lighting too.”
Download a free energy-saving app
Lastly, a good way to actively monitor energy consumption and take somewhat control of energy costs is to download an energy-saving app.
Dr Buckley said: “Using a free energy-saving app like Loop can not only help you get your energy consumption as close to rock-bottom as possible before you leave, but it allows you to monitor your home energy use even whilst you’re away, so you can have peace of mind that your home is running as it should.”
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