Energy saving tips: save over £400 on your energy bills
We've pulled together some of the quickest, simplest and most effective things you can do to save energy around the house.
These tips have helped Octopus customers save over £5 million on their bills last Winter, and the average home that tried them out in our Winter Workout challenge slashed their bill by 12%.
When it comes to saving energy, we’ve all heard ‘don’t leave the telly on standby’ and ‘only fill the kettle with the water you need’. It’s easy to tune them out, and even easier to assume they won’t really make a difference.
The energy crisis is hitting people hard. Alongside keeping our prices lower than all other large suppliers and supporting those struggling, more and more people have been asking us for ways to save on their bills.
Our tips come from the expertise of our wide-ranging team of scientists, engineers and heat specialists. We’ve got real feedback on how useful they are from more than 250,000 customers. Some of these tips were part of the Winter Workout, a targeted gas-saving challenge that saved our customers over £5 million on their bills last Winter. The average customer who got involved cut their bill by 12%.
And to give you a sense of how these small changes can stack up, we’ve calculated the potential savings a UK home could make based on average energy prices in 2022.
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Our expert energy saving tips
Our 8 energy saving tips could save you £488+
- Set your boiler’s flow temperature between 55 and 60 degrees 🔥 You could save: £112
Your boiler’s flow setting controls the temperature water is when it leaves your boiler. Its default setting is usually too high. Turn it down a bit and your home will feel just as warm, but you could cut your energy bills by 12% and save up to £112 according to Nesta.
If you have a combi boiler, we recommend setting your flow temperature to 50c for heating and 55c for hot water to save energy.
If you have a boiler and a hot water cylinder, we recommend setting the flow temperature on your boiler to a few degrees over 60c for heating and hot water, and setting your hot water cylinder to 60c (you’ll usually find the control for your cylinder ⅓ of the way up the tank).
Good to know: Hot water should be stored at a high enough temperature to stop bacteria like legionella from multiplying. Get more information about trying this tip safely.
- Air dry, don’t tumble dry 👖 You could save: £70
Ditching the tumble dryer and drying your clothes on a washing line or clothes horse could save you £70 a year according to the Energy Savings Trust. Avoid drying clothes on radiators – this makes your boiler work harder.
- Mind the gaps 🚪🪟 You could save: £45
A continuous draught can quickly undo all the good work of your heating - essentially wasting energy. Identifying and plugging up draughts around doors, windows and other gaps can help trap warmth in and make your gas spend go further. Read more about home insulation below.
Professional draught-proofing can cost a few hundred pounds, or you can find draughts yourself using the back of your hand, or with a thermal camera, and make your own excluders for free using old fabric scraps. Average saving: £45 per year
- Control your thermostat 🌡️ You could save: £128
Tweaking your thermostat (using it as an on/off switch or boost for example) can mean more gas is wasted - you’ll be comfier, and more efficient, if you set it and leave it on for while you need it. Setting your thermostat to somewhere between 18-21°c is ideal, and turning down the temperature by just 1 degree could save up to £128 on your energy bill.
- Put an insulation jacket on your hot water tank 🧥 You could save: £35
To reduce heat loss and therefore keep your hot water hotter for longer, add a British Standard Jacket 80mm thick to your hot water cylinder and you could save£35 a year in the process. Exposed hot water pipes can also be insulated using a foam tube that covers the pipes between your hot water cylinder and boiler.
- Get in a nighttime routine.
You’ll keep more heat in your home with less energy if you pull your curtains before it gets dark (up to 15% reduction in heat loss!).
- Reduce your shower time 🚿 You could save: £70
Keeping your shower time to just 4 minutes could save a typical household £70 a year!
- Be bright with your lights 💡 You could save: £80+
Lighting makes up around 11% of a typical power bill. LEDs use 70-80% less electricity – so when it's time to replace those bulbs, go LED. The Energy Savings Trust has written loads about the impact it could make on your bills: between £5-£13 per bulb, per year! Making sure you switch off the lights when you leave the room can save a further £20 per year.
TOTAL: £488 in potential bill savings
Smart customers save money
Smart meters don't just help you track your spending and spot power-hungry appliances, they also unlock super exclusive ways to earn and win money.
Strapped for time? Find quick ways to save in our video...
In-depth ways to save energy in each area of your home
If you've got an inkling that you're wasting energy in a certain area, find even more targeted tips to tackle it...
Electricals & Appliances
Use energy efficient light bulbs.
Lighting makes up 11% of the average UK household electricity consumption, so switching to energy efficient lighting will help you save money and reduce your carbon emissions - without compromising the quality of lighting. But how do you know which light bulbs will work best for you? Check out the Energy Saving Trusts lighting advice.
Switch off the lights.
Simply switching off your lights when you leave a room could save you around £20 a year in energy.
Keep your oven door closed.
We all know it’s hard to resist taking a peek at what's cooking in the oven, but opening the oven door uses more energy by letting the heat out - stick to using the window to check your food instead.
Timing is key.
To save energy, it’s worthwhile thinking about when you use electricity, for example, putting a wash on. Between midnight and 4pm, more of the UK's power comes from clean, green renewable sources. AND, if you’re on a day / night tariff, you can use the cheaper nighttime rate for overnight washes or EV charging.
Fill your dishwasher.
Reducing your dishwasher use by just one run per week for a year could save you £14. So try to only run your dishwasher when it is full to reduce the amount of water you use.
Replace your boiler with a heat pump.
Heat pumps use a small amount of electricity to take natural, low-level heat from the air outside and condense it to generate significantly more heat in your home. They can turn 1kWh electricity into up to 4kWh of heat - that's 4x more than even the most efficient gas, electric or oil boilers!
Get a water meter.
Water meters are the fairest way to pay, as your bill is based on the amount of water you use. If you’d like a water meter and you're the billpayer you can apply with your water supplier. You can also apply if you rent your home and have a tenancy of six months or more.
Swap out 1 bath a week for a shower.
You could save £12 a year on your energy bills by swapping out 1 bath a week with a 4 minute shower.
Don’t leave your tap dripping - and don't leave water running.
A dripping tap (or an overactive toilet) can waste over 5,000 litres of water a year, while leaving your taps running whilst brushing your teeth or shaving wastes 6 litres of water every minute!
If cold draughts are ignored, your heating has to work harder to keep you warm, increasing your energy bills and your carbon footprint... and no one wants that. Professional draught-proofing can save you around £45 a year on your energy bills, but this service can cost around £225. Alternatively, you can find draughts using the back of your hand and then follow our budget-friendly DIY draught-proofing tips for 6 different areas of your home:
- To block draughts at the base of your door, you can buy a cushion draught excluder (~£7) or make one by stuffing tights with socks, rice, plastic bags or any spare material you have.
- If you'd prefer a fixed draught excluder, you can install a brush strip or hinged-flap draught excluder (~£7) at the base of your door. Here's a tutorial on how to install a brush strip draught excluder.
- For draughts around the edges of doors, use self-adhesive draught-proofing strips. Foam strips are the cheapest option (~£5) but may not be long-lasting. Other options include plastic or metal draught-proofing strips. Here's a guide on how to install self-adhesive draught-proofing strips.
- Letter boxes and keyholes can also be draught-proofed using a metal keyhole cover (~£3) and a letterbox brush/flap (~£5).
- Closing curtains in front of external doors can also help to block the cold out and trap the heat in.
- Whilst the sun is shining, keep curtains/blinds open to let in the free heat from the sun. When the sun sets, close curtains/blinds to keep the heat in and the cold out (this can lead to a 15% reduction in heat loss). Curtain liners (or even a shower curtain) can be added during the colder months to thicken existing curtains.
- Draught-proofing strips can also be used around windows that open. Here's a guide on how to install draught-proofing strips around your windows.
- Silicone sealant (~£5) can be used to seal any draughty gaps around the edges of windows.
- Secondary-glazing window insulation film (~£8.50) can be used to create a temporary double glazed window effect to reduce heat loss during winter periods. Here's a tutorial on how to use window insulation film.
Draughtproofing loft hatches
- A loft hatch insulation pillow can be purchased (~£24) or made by stuffing a black bin bag with fibreglass, old cushion stuffing or any spare material. It can then be secured to the loft side of the hatch using duct tape.
- Draught-proofing strips can also be used around edges of loft hatches to seal any gaps. Here's a guide on how to install draught-proofing strips around your loft hatch.
- If your chimney is still used, you can buy or make a removable fireplace guard to help reduce the draught. You just need some spare plywood or thick cardboard cut to size and insulation tape/kitchen foil. Whilst the fire is off, fit it into place in your fireplace. Here's an example of how to make a removable fireplace guard.
- If your chimney is no longer used, consider having it capped by a professional (~£150).
Stopping floorboards and skirting boards drafts
- Place a rug (or leftover cuts of carpet) over exposed floorboards to reduce draughts through the gaps.
- Filler can be used to seal gaps in your floor/around your skirting boards - it is best to use filler that can tolerate movement as the boards can contract and expand.
Extractor fan drafts
- Leaving an extractor fan on can chill your whole house, so remember to turn it off when you've finished using it. You can get a timed extractor fan to help ensure it's not left on unnecessarily.
Our gas saving tips below have been tried and tested by 250,000 Octopus Energy customers during the Octopus Winter Workout. Over the 12 weeks, active customers cut their typical gas use, and on average, saved 12% of their bill - collectively saving £4.8 million on their Winter gas bills!! So, how did they do it?..
Heat your body, not the whole house.
Heating a whole home costs between £2-4 a day which can rack up quickly over winter. Items such as an energy-efficient electric blanket can heat a person for just 4p an hour and a hot water bottle even less. Heating the person alongside tactically using the heating (at a slightly lower temperature and at specific times) is a vastly more cost-effective way to stay warm: particularly for people with mobility issues, for example, and spend a lot of time in one spot.
Reduce the temperature of your water.
Most of us waste gas heating the hot water for our taps to 60c, only to cool it down again by mixing it with cold water when we want to use it for showers or baths. But how hot do we need the water to clean our dishes?
At 60c, hot water can cause serious scalding in under 5 seconds. However, for water to be hot enough to kill the bacteria or other nasties on your plates, it would need to be over 75c, and the dishes would need to soak for at least 30 seconds.
So, when washing dishes by hand, you only need water hot enough to loosen grease and oils, which is generally around 30-40c. Your dish soap will do the job of lifting bacteria from the surface of your dishes so they are swept away with the water.
Disinfect your sink regularly so it doesn’t become a home for bacteria.
Set timers for your heating.
Turning your heating off when it’s not needed is a quick way to save. The trick is to set your heat to come on 30 minutes before it’s needed, and shut off 30 minutes early as well – so the room can heat up and you make the most of residual heat. See what moneysavingexpert has to say on this topic.
Check your radiators and stop heating unused rooms.
Turn off radiators in unused rooms to save wasting energy where it is not needed. Don’t forget to also keep the doors of unused and unheated rooms closed - a cushion draught excluder can also be used at the base of the unused room's door.
Here are some ways to make your radiators more energy efficient:
- Move any objects obstructing your radiators such as sofas and curtains as radiators need space to heat your rooms.
- Clean your radiators by removing dust build-up using a vacuum and radiator duster (~£5). Dust that builds up between the fins of radiators makes them less efficient. If you have radiator covers, here's a guide on how to remove them so you can access the radiator fins.
- Don’t forget to bleed your radiators as trapped air also reduces their efficiency. If there are cold spots on your radiators, it's a sign they need bleeding. Here's a tutorial on how to bleed your radiators.
- Adding a shelf positioned just above your radiator helps to push the heat forward into the room, rather than letting it rise to the ceiling. You can find easy to install, clip-on shelves in most hardware/DIY shops.
- You can also use a radiator fan to distribute the warmth into the room quicker.
- Use radiator reflector panels behind your radiators (most effective on radiators located on external walls) so the wall doesn’t absorb all the heat.
- Smart radiators: If you want to spend a bit more, get smart radiator valves so you can control your heating room by room.
Heat your cooking water with electricity.
If you’ve got a gas hob, heat your water with electricity - it’s quicker and uses less gas to get it boiling with a kettle or a microwave first.
More information on how to save energy
Energy efficiency schemes
Like the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme – a government energy efficiency programme designed to reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty. Energy suppliers take part in the scheme to improve the ability of low income, fuel poor and vulnerable households to heat their homes. You need to fulfil certain criteria to be eligible for the scheme, for example being in receipt of income support. If you’d like to learn more, please email email@example.com and our team will get in touch with an application form.
Energy Saving Trust
Check out their site for loads more helpful energy saving advice.
Simple Energy Advice
Government-backed energy efficiency advice for your home.
Smart Energy GB
Smart Energy GB is a government campaign bringing smart meters to the UK. Their site highlights all the ways you can use your smart meter to use energy more efficiently.
Gas saving tips
Try our Winter Workout gas saving tips that helped save customers £5 million on heating last Winter.
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