Energy drains in the home, and how to fix them

an infographic of a house with different energy sources overlaid

There are lots of secret energy drains in the home. If you’re worried about energy costs, read our top ways to reduce energy usage at home.

Energy drains in the home are, it’s fair to say, unwelcome right now. The dreaded energy price cap is now at £2,500 per year. It’s a decrease on the £3,549 originally announced by Ofgem in August, but UK households are still feeling the sting.

However, home improvement experts at Stormclad have tips and advice on how households can reduce their energy usage at home.

Managing director at Stormclad, John Evans, gave his thoughts. “There is no question the latest energy price increase will have sent a ripple of worry through UK households. Living costs are at an all-time high so it’s very easy to feel unsettled and overwhelmed with everything going on.”

a smart meter sitting on a kitchen worktop showing energy usage in the home
Our energy consumption has us all a bit worried right now. Photography: iStock.

“It is important to remember that there are things, though small, we can do as individuals. These will not only help reduce our energy usage but will mentally help us feel like we are in more control. Times are tough right now but little acts and choices that we make towards saving energy could add up and make all the difference. Plus, these little energy-saving acts will go towards helping our planet become greener, so that’s a takeaway too.

“We’d recommend everyone getting more energy-saving-savvy. So that means keeping a close eye on meter readings and turning off gadgets when they’re not being used. Also, cutting out those now everyday luxuries knowing that in the long run, it will pay off – literally.”

So, what is eating up the most energy in your home?

White goods are unsurprisingly the hungriest for power when we’re talking about secret energy drains in the home. According to Carbon Footprint, an A spec fridge-freezer is the main culprit, guzzling 408 kWh per year.

Other leading consumers include tumble dryers and electric hobs (0.62 kWH more than a gas hob). Also dishwashers, ovens, lights, televisions and, you guessed it, kettles. (Though we will say, replacing just your kettle and your kettle alone this year will not make an overwhelming difference to your energy bill…). Your kettle is costing you around £48 a year. And your TV – for an average of six hours a day – is costing you approximately £130.

a neutral living room with a television using energy in a home
If you have the telly on for six hours a day, it’s costing you around £130 a year. Photography: iStock.

What can you do to help reduce usage? Here are some ideas:

We’ll start with the obvious – turn off those lights

We all want to leave the odd light on around the house to create a bit of ambience when we’re at home. But lights can often be left on in rooms for hours on end without anyone actually needing them. So, turn those lights off and consider investing in some energy saving bulbs where you can. Especially if you do tend to leave one on for security when you pop out – every little helps.

Kitchen appliances drain energy

4% of your energy bill is spent powering kitchen appliances

When it comes to secret energy drains in the home, remember that microwaves are generally more efficient than ovens. This is because, as the Energy Saving Trust points out, they only heat the food and not the air space around it. So it is worth trying to make more use of your microwave, or perhaps invest if you don’t own one.

The same goes for fridge-freezers. It’s a good idea to read up on which are the highest rated and then sum this up against what you can afford.

Generally, the smaller the appliance, the better – if you can manage with a smaller fridge-freezer, opt for it. And don’t over-stuff them either, otherwise they’ll have to work twice as hard to keep everything cool. They can also stop working sooner if you do this, and that’s just money down the drain.

Finally, try not to overfill your kettle so you are only boiling the water you need – waste not, want not.

a full silver kettle on a grey kitchen worktop with a finger switching it on
Only boil as much water as you need. Photography: iStock.

More ways to save money in the home

Is it a sunny day? Get the washing line out!

It always seems like a faff to peg the washing outside to dry. But consider the number of times you take your clothes out the dryer and find that you have to air them out a little anyway. You may as well save yourself some money and make use of the sunshine – it’s also greener.

Always remember to not put the washing machine on if you haven’t got a full load. Shout around the house to see who’s got some dirty clothes you can chuck in with yours – this is no time to be picky! Also, make sure to make use of the “eco” button if you have one and wash at a lower temperature. Your washer and dryer are definitely energy drains in the home

How many things do you have on “standby”?

According to EcoCostSavings, the average modern TV uses 58.5 watts while you’re using it. It uses 1.3 watts while you leave it on standby – that works out at about £11 a year, and that’s just one telly. How many do you have?

It can become alarming when you think about how many appliances you leave on standby. And then the amount of time that actually goes by between uses. Think about your TV, radio, charger, microwave, coffee machine, computer or PlayStation… If you’re not using them, and especially if you’re not using them frequently, switch them off. Over time, we guarantee you will see a difference.

a radio on a wooden table alongside a cup of coffee
Turn the radio off when you’re not using it – along with everything else, except your fridge and freezer! Photography: iStock.

And lastly…

Home improvements – how insulated are your windows?

As home-improvers ourselves, we can’t not mention the importance of insulation. If you have yet to invest in double glazing windows, we strongly recommend you do so. Over 80% of homes in England now have double glazing, and we aren’t surprised as it can save you up to £110 a year on energy bills. At the same time, it increases your overall property value by 10% – bonus.

Make sure to also draught-proof your doors and windows. There’s no use in paying to heat up your home and make it nice and toasty to then have the warmth escape through little crevices.

two sash windows draining energy in the home and a door in a white room
Insulate your windows to prevent them draining energy. Photography: iStock.

More information on window dressings

Sam Tamlyn, Managing Director, California Shutters, says: “Plantation shutters have a number of benefits when it comes to helping reduce costs and save energy. One of the main ways in which heat is lost in the home is through windows, especially in older properties. This is because people haven’t properly insulated the windows or the seal has worn away over time. A window dressing such as shutters not only looks great but is a good way to prevent heat loss – this is especially the case with Solid Raised shutters. As shutters are fitted bespoke to the window, when their slats are closed, very little air escapes through them, meaning they are great heat insulators, resulting in your heating bills being lower. Self-install shutters are a great solution to this as they are straightforward to fit and they won’t break the bank.”

grey shutters in front of a monochrome chair and table in a modern living room
Energy drains in the home include windows. You can prevent heat loss with a window dressing such as these shutters from California Shutters.

Another take on energy draining windows

Sally Denyer, Digital Marketing Manager at Shutterly Fabulous, had a similar take. “Windows are a major source of heat loss in the home, therefore one practical solution to help with heat insulation is to fit bespoke window shutters. The correct size shutter can prevent over half of all heat lost through windows, keeping cold draughts under control even in older houses. Incorporating any style of shutter in a space will help with warmth, but solid wood panel shutters especially are the most effective as they aren’t louvered.”

white floor-length shutters in a dark teal room with a double bed and a pink chair and table
Energy drains in the home include windows. You can prevent heat loss with a window dressing such as these shutters from Shutterly Fabulous.

So, did you enjoy this feature? Then you’ll also like our tips on how to reduce appliance energy costs.

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