The cost of living crisis continues across the UK, and is set to worsen next month. On October 1, the ceiling on energy prices will increase again, leaving families concerned about how they can afford their bills.
Although energy costs are not rising as much as we previously expected after Prime Minister Liz Truss stepped in. The government has ensured that the average family will not pay more than £2,500 in energy bills.
The guarantee is a cap on the unit price for gas and electricity, so households using more energy than the average will face bills above £2,500. With this in mind, many people are looking for ways to minimize their energy use.
Read more: The highest interest rates in 14 years and what that means for your mortgages, savings and debt
Which? We suggested nine “non-obvious” ways people can save some extra cash by reducing their energy bills:
1. Wash larger quantities
Filling a washing machine tub is more cost-effective and doing fewer wash loads – as opposed to using a faster wash cycle with a smaller load of clothes, Echo Reports.
The same applies to the dishwasher. According to Who? Reducing the number of times you use these two devices once a week could save you £16 per device over an entire year, for a total annual saving of £32.
2. Use the automatic settings
The eco program in your dishwasher and washing machine is likely to be the cheapest program to run. Any additional features you turn on can have as much of an impact as the software you choose.
If your dishwasher has an automatic door opening setting, be sure to use it. This will allow the dishwasher door to open slightly at the end of the wash to aid drying and reduce energy use.
The clothes dryer’s automatic settings can also help you not overdry clothes and waste energy. Instead, avoid using the dryer entirely to reduce your annual energy bills by up to £170.
3. Boiler descaling
Descaler your kettle will allow it to boil faster and use less energy, according to Which?. The company’s watchdog recommends using citric acid because it will not leave any lingering taste or odors.
4. Empty the oven
Many people may not realize that using the oven as an additional storage for baking trays can adjust airflow, which means that the oven has to run overtime and use more energy.
Keeping the trays inside can cause uneven cooking. People should also avoid opening the door too often as it lowers the internal temperature, increases cooking time and wastes energy.
5. Use an air fryer, microwave, pressure cooker or slow cooker
Often using a smaller cooking device such as a microwave, air fryer, slow cooker, or similar is a cheaper way to cook. They are able to complete the same cooking task with less energy.
The microwave can be used for everything from quickly steaming vegetables to baking potatoes. Combination microwaves with convection ovens are more versatile. An air fryer can make delicious fried food with less oil and less energy.
In fact, it is a small convection oven, but it uses less energy because the area in which it is heated is smaller. You can also use an air fryer for baking, with many recipes including muffins, cookies and more.
The slow cooker works for many hours at a time, but because it uses a small amount of energy, it is ultimately more economical. Just like with the oven, don’t be tempted to keep looking at dinner. Keep the lid closed to avoid reducing the temperature and wasting energy.
6. Early defrost
Defrosting frozen items in the fridge will reduce the cooking time (you’re cooking from refrigeration instead of freezing) and will also reduce your fridge’s energy consumption.
It’s the safest way to thaw food, as well as keeping the refrigerator cool during the process. This means that the compressor will have to do less work and the amount of energy required to keep your refrigerator cool will be reduced.
Some things need to be cooked from frozen. So be sure to check first.
7. Clean the coils at the back of the refrigerator
Dust on the coils in the back of the refrigerator can prevent them from cooling properly. In the worst case, particularly dusty coils can increase energy use by up to 25%.
Depending on your refrigerator, this could cost up to an extra £45 per year. Which? It is recommended to check and dust them twice a year by gently sweeping and then brushing off any remaining dust.
8. Make sure the air can reach those coils
If possible, make sure there is some air that can get to the coils behind the refrigerator because less air circulation can make your appliance work harder, as the coils can’t cool naturally, which increases energy use.
With built-in forms, there’s not much that can be done, so it can naturally be less efficient. But with freestanding models, you can be sure they have room to breathe.
9. Defrost your freezer
Not only does the ice take up precious space where your food should be, the ice actually acts as an insulator. This means that your freezer has to work harder to break through that block of ice to keep your food cold, and therefore it will cost you more electricity to operate.
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