At Viridis we believe that small and simple changes can help everyone save money on their household budget, so here's our top tips for what you can do easily and for no or low cost.
#1 Brush teeth without the water running
Do you turn off the tap when brushing your teeth? If you don't, you could be watching your cash go down the plughole. Leaving the tap on when you brush your teeth can use on average 10 litres of water every time - that could mean up to 80 litres a day for a family of 4 - equivalent to a whole bath full!
#2 Install energy saving lightbulbs
Every bulb you use could save you up to £9 a year - or £50 over the life of the bulb. Replacing all bulbs with energy efficient ones, in light sockets and lamps in every room, and using LEDs might cost around £110 but could save you up to £60 every year, so they soon pay for themselves several times over.
Potential Annual Savings: £60
#3 Switch TVs and other appliances off at the plug
TVs are power guzzlers, and even though they look switched off, they're using almost as much power on standby. Most appliances won't lose settings you have made if switched off. So reach for the plug, not the remote, and switch off completely.
Potential Annual Savings: £50-90
#4 Switch lights off when you leave a room
Why light a room you're not using? Or maybe you think it costs more to switch lights on and off, or the bulbs get damaged - not true. You could save more than you think by lighting only the rooms you are using. Get into the habit. Or use a sticker to remind you. And if it's others in your house - why not have a power fine box for everytime someone leaves the electricity flowing?
#5 Only fill the kettle with what you need
We've all done it. Fill the kettle with more water than we need when making a cuppa. But this is not at all energy efficient as its wasting power every time you boil - and water too if you don't use it again. Its a simple change which you can make to save some cash.
Potential Annual Savings: £8
#6 Bath instead of Shower?
Can you replace one bath a week with a shower? Showering is generally more energy efficient that filling a bath, depending on your shower head. But for a family of four, replacing one bath a week with a 5 minute shower saves you £15 - plus and other £25 if you have a water meter. And United Utilities might give you a water saving sheer head for free - so ask them!
Potential Annual Savings: £40
#7 Save as you flush
Have you tried a water saver - or 'Water Hippo' for your toilet? They fit neatly into the cistern and saves you about a litre of water every time you flush, which will save you cash if you'e on a meter. Better still, United Utilities give them away for free! They don't fit all toilets, but United Utilities often provide them for free, or you can get one from www.hippo-the-watersaver.co.uk.
#8 Always close the curtains at dusk
Up to 10% or energy is lost straight through the windows so curtains and blinds can make a big difference. If your windows are single glazed, why not try fitting some secondary glazing using a DIY kit? They cost between £10 and £20 and all you need is a hairdryer to warm the glazing sheet when it has been taped in place.
#9 Draft proof your doors and windows
Drafts let the cold air in and the warm air out, so spending time on draft proofing will save you cash and make indoor life more comfortable. Have you also covered your letter box and key hole? What about sealing skirting boards or using a 'chimney pillow' to stop drafts and heat loss through the chimney? The pillow is inflatable, costs about £20, and can really stop the heat escaping. But don't forget to remove it if you light a fire.
Potential Annual Savings: £55
#10 Keep your fridge 3/4 full
Keeping the fridge 3/4 full is the most efficient way to use your fridge, especially if air can circulate around the back. And try not to keep the door open - for every minute the fridge door is open, it takes 3 energy-hungry minutes to cool down again.
#11 Wash your clothes at 30 degrees
Washing at 30 degrees uses 40% less energy than washing at 40 degrees, and modern detergents work just as well. Doing this will save you around £13 a year. Try to always wash a full load too - one full load uses less energy than two half loads - and use an Eco setting if you have one.
Potential Annual Savings: £13
#12 Can you top up your insulation?
If your have a loft and it's already insulated, check the insulation is up to 270mm if not you will still be loosing heat. Consider topping up to maximise your savings. You may be able to get grants of loans for this type of thing - contact our Save Energy Advice Line and see what's available.
#13 Consider a water meter
United Utilities estimates that you could save between £60 and £250 a year if you install a water meter, especially if you live on your own, as a couple or have a small family. All homes will eventually have one, and they'll fit it for free. Check out their calculator to see if you would save here.
#14 Turn the thermostat down one degree
Try it - you probably won't notice the difference. And thermostats on radiators mean you heat only the rooms you're using. Keep your home warm and your home to the right temperature: your living room should be 21C (70°F), efficiently and safely: heat and your bedroom and the rest of the house to 18°C (65°F). Above this and you may waste money; below this you may risk your health. This will keep your home warm and may lower your bills If you're making other small changes to keep the heat in and the cold out, you might want to try turning it down another degree! But remember, try not to let your home temperature go below 16 degrees or you risk health problems.
Potential Annual Savings: £65
#15 Replace old appliances with energy efficient ones
The energy effciency rating of an appliance tells us how much energy it uses to run. A rated are the best, so if you need to replace appliances go for those - or better still A+ or A++. They can cost a little more but you'll get than back in savings in no time.
Potential Annual Savings: £9-37
#16 Switch energy tariff!
It's recommended that everyone should review their energy bills every 6 months or so. That may seem a short time, but the deals offered by Energy companies change rapidly. On average you could save up to £141 by switching. We can help you do this, call our Home Energy Savings Advice Line on 0800 043 0151 or find out more here.
Viridis supports the LCR Collective Switch we help people in Merseyside Switch together - get in touch and see how we can help you at www.lcrenergyswitch.co.uk.
Potential Annual Savings: £141
#17 Get an energy monitor
These clever gadgets tell you how much energy you're using at different times of the day. They plug into the mains or are wireless and while in themselves they don't reduce energy. They work by letting you see just when you're using the most and least energy. They can really help keep track and reduce what you use and reduce bills by up to 15% by some estimates. (NB not to be confused with government 'smart meters' which are linked to energy providers)
Potential Annual Savings: £35