Gas and electricity Updated:
Chances are, you'll use a whole lot more energy at this time of year than in the summer. That's not only from increased heating bills – lights will be on for longer, and the darker nights mean you'll be more inclined to stay indoors for a cosy evening in than a night out on the town. That means appliances, gadgets and entertainment systems will probably get used more, too, but beware of them using energy unnecessarily…
Beware the vampires
So-called 'vampire appliances' use power when they're not even switched on. Even if they're kept on standby they'll still suck out energy, and over time that'll be valuable pounds down the drain. TVs and games consoles are primary culprits, but appliances of all kinds can have power-sucking tendencies, and even things like phone chargers can be vampires – even if they're not in use.
According to calculations from Energy Saving Trust, leaving appliances on standby rather than switching them off costs around £45-80 per year, and depending on how big your home is and how many appliances you have, it could add up to even more. That's a lot of money, and it's literally being wasted. Wouldn't you like to put that cash to better use?
The Trust's research also found that, despite 74% of survey respondents being worried about the cost of energy, only half were checking to make sure that their unused appliances were properly switched off. Considering how little time it would take, and how much money you'd save if you did, there's really no excuse – it's a habit we should all get into.
Taking a few extra seconds out of your day to save upwards of £80 a year sounds like a pretty good trade-off, but it isn't just vampire appliances we need to worry about – inefficient ones can be just as damaging to our wallets.
A recent study found that 19% of respondents still own a fridge or freezer that's at least 15 years old, and these products are more likely to be inefficient or have energy-sucking faults. For example, a freezer with a faulty thermostat could cost £45 more per year to run than it should, while switching to energy-efficient lights rather than halogens could save £45 per year.
The Great British Appliance Check
Just think how much you could save by switching things off, or opting for energy-efficient alternatives. Happily, the Energy Saving Trust has put together a few tips to make sure you save as much as possible, so why not become part of the Great British Appliance Check and see how much better off you could be?
- Make sure that the back of your fridge-freezer is ventilated and dust-free to keep it running efficiently.
- Make sure the fridge-freezer is out of direct sunlight or other sources of heat from inside the home, such as your oven or boiler.
- Make sure that the door seal is not damaged.
- Check that it is cycling on and off as it should – ideally you should only be able to hear your fridge or freezer running 30-40% of the time.
- Don't keep doors open for longer than necessary.
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