Five ways to supercharge your energy saving

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Energy prices are rocketing in the UK, and for many people it is a pretty desperate state of affairs. Here are some new things to get in place over the summer, to offset the increasing winter costs that are facing us all.

  1. Install reflective panels behind all your radiators. Rather than heating the street, you might want to put insulation material behind your radiators to reflect the heat back into the room. This comes in number of different forms. The cheapest method is to cover pieces of cardboard with kitchen foil and slot them into place over the brackets. The problem with this is that is the effectiveness can degrade over time, and there is an increased fire risk. An alternative option is to buy rolls or sheets of bubble foil from DIY stores, or online, and cut this to fit, before using adhesive strips to fit it to the wall. This works better, but the bubble element is something of a gimmick as it only really works when there is a lot of air circulation, which given that it will be trapped between a wall and a metal object, will limit its usefulness. Normal padded radiator foil is better, fixed with double-sided tape, and you can order this from Screwfix. An even better solution is going to be something like Radflek, which is a more sophisticated solution with a variety of fitting options. These are sheets which can be cut to fit, and come in different sized packs. All of these products will pay for themselves quickly before the end of the year.
  2. Look at your water consumption and make adjustments. This might feel like it has nothing to do with energy costs, but reducing the amount of water you use, particularly heated water, can make a difference to both utility bills. If you visit the Get Water Fit website, you will be able to calculate your water usage, see where you can make savings, and more excitingly, order loads of FREE water saving gadgets and products from your local water company that might help save money (such as shower timers, smart shower heads, toilet leak detectors and tap aerators).
  3. Make your smart meter work harder for you. If you have a smart meter, try using an app such as Loop to help identify where your money is going. For example, are you leaving gadgets on overnight without realising? Most people manage to save 10% on their energy bill this way.
  4. Try a heated airer for laundry. Most people will be familiar with using a rotary airer for laundry during good weather, but what happens when it’s damp and rainy? Here is when a heated clothes airer can help. They cost about 15p-20p an hour to run and if you throw a fitted sheet over the whole thing once the washing is all hung up, it will dry even quicker (so you don’t need to buy a special cover). The Lakeland Dry:Soon range is very popular, but their cheapest airer costs £119.99 You can get a fairly large alternative from John Lewis for £100 and Argos have a smaller one for £59.99
  5. Keep a flask near your kettle for surplus hot water, so you boil the kettle less. If you are working from home, this will mean you can make a cuppa quicker while saving money too, once you get used to it. Work to make it an automatic habit.
  6. Use plasma technology to clean your clothes, to save putting the washing machine on! The Bosch FreshUp isn’t cheap, at £199.99, so it’s not exactly an austerity item, but it can remove smells effectively from clothes (not stains). This means you are able to wash clothes less often and also reduce dry cleaning bills. As running the washing machine is now approaching between £1-£2 a wash, plus the hassle factor of folding and drying everything, plus associated ironing time and costs for smarter items, plus £5-£10 for periodically dry cleaning things like jackets, school blazers and coats, this might be worth considering if you have that kind of laundry to get through. Maybe do the sums and see if it pays off for you.

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