British households reducing energy spend by £22 a month with small changes

·Lifestyle Writer, Yahoo Life UK
·5 min read
Smart meter in the kitchen of a home showing current energy costs for the day

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A survey's revealed the simple changes Brits are making to help keep their energy bills low. (Getty Images)

British households have reduced their energy spend by an average of £22 a month since the price cap increase on 1 April.

Families across the country have been able to save their pennies by making simple changes like leaving hair to dry naturally, switching devices off at the socket, and limiting the use of the tumble dryer.

As many as 28% say this is the first summer they've made attempts to reduce their energy use, with the cost of living crisis having a widespread effect, a study of 5,000 adults finds.

These changes (usually easier to forget in what are typically the cheaper months in terms of bills), include turning off unused lights (49%), switching devices off at the socket (39%) and disconnecting phone chargers at the mains (37%).

Read more: Your rising energy bills and what you can do about them

Man making cup of tea. (Getty Images)
Do you often boil more water than you need for that cuppa? (Getty Images)

Other simple hacks include hanging washing outside instead of using a tumbledryer (38%) and letting hair dry naturally (26%).

Of those surveyed who have seen a reduction in their bills, the number of people with a smart meter was 23% higher than those without one installed.

With all these savings combined, this would add up to nearly £270 for the year, the research commissioned by Smart Energy GB unearths.

Top 10 ways Brits have reduced energy:

  1. Turning lights off when not needed

  2. Boiling the kettle with only the water I need

  3. Turn devices off at the socket instead of putting them on standby

  4. Leaving the heating off completely

  5. Hanging washing to dry outside instead of using a dryer

  6. Unplug phone chargers/turn them off at mains when not in use

  7. Minimise use of electrical appliances

  8. Washing clothes on a cooler temperature

  9. Reducing heating usage

  10. Letting hair dry naturally rather than using a hairdryer

Read more: 30 ways to save cash: Brits battle cost of living crisis with these top hacks

Woman with wet hair. (Getty Images)
Leave the hair dryer alone and let your hair dry naturally in summer. (Getty Images)

The 'not-for-profit, government-backed campaign' and TV presenter Dominic Littlewood also launched new online mini-series What's Watt to track three families across the UK trying to reduce their energy.

“Visiting homes across Great Britain was an eye opener," says Littlewood.

“It’s clear that people have become more energy conscious – even though sometimes it’s one member of the household leading the change."

Charlene Lijertwood, who was visited by Littlewood, said her family has been making a lot changes around the home to try and reduce their energy bills.

“And with bills increasing as much as they have, my husband and I have also taken on extra work to increase our income," she said, no doubt relatable to many others.

Victoria Bacon, director at Smart Energy GB, said, “The summer is traditionally a time that energy use and bills are pushed to the back of our minds, but the energy price cap increase has changed that.

“It’s encouraging to see that during the cost-of-living crisis, households are making positive changes to take back control of their energy use and household budgets.

"With another price cap rise in October, instilling these habits during the warmer months will have a positive impact on energy bills as usage starts to rise again in winter."

Read more: Frugal Mum cooks tasty meals for family of five for less than £1

The study also discovered that 28% of households use fans to cool off during the warmer months, with nearly one in five (17%) leaving them on all night, according to the OnePoll figures.

The research helped inform the Super Smart Energy Savers Report, which is co-authored by Littlewood, Helen Skelton and MoneyMagpie. Littlewood added that "while many people are taking lots of positive steps to manage their energy use" they were able to identify more simple steps to take.

Advice on saving energy includes:

Get the most out of your fans

Choosing the right fan is key to staying cool and in control of your energy bills. The way you use your fan is important too, for example, some have timers that enable you to save energy when you’re asleep; or placing a bowl of ice in front of your fan will lower the temperature of the air circulating in the room and cool you down quicker.

Woman using fan at home. (Getty Images)
With a warmer summer, fans have added another layer to our energy spending. (Getty Images)

Defrost your freezer

The more that ice builds up, the more energy a freezer needs to use to maintain its temperature. This can be significant as fridges and freezers account for 13% of the average family’s energy bills.

Get a smart meter

If you’re trying to reduce your energy use to keep bills down, knowing how much you are using – and what you’re spending – can be a huge help. As can knowing what the bill will be before it arrives. They are available at no extra cost from your energy supplier.

Switch to a summer routine

Using a tumble dryer three times a week costs approximately £223 a year, so think about drying washing outside if you’re able to in the summer as it will dry much quicker and cost less than using a tumble-dryer.

Keep an eye on refrigerator seals

The seals around a refrigerator are the barrier between warm air outside and cool air inside. Any break in this seal will mean warm air gets into the refrigerator, so it’ll have to work harder to maintain the set temperature. Check your seals and replace them if you notice any cracks or splits.

Install a water efficient shower head

Around a fifth of the average household’s heating bills are spent on heating water, so an efficient shower head can reduce the water used and therefore energy used to heat it.

Additional reporting SWNS.

Watch: 5 easy ways to save money at the supermarket

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