Heatwave season has finally arrived in the UK, which is great news for everyone who has had one eye on the thermostat and the other on their gas bill for the last six months.
While the hot weather will mean savings on heating you should still be wary – keeping your house cool can use just as much energy as keeping it warm if you’re not careful. Below you’ll find our top tips for keeping your home temperature and energy bills low at the same time.
There are many ways to use summer sunshine to your advantage when it comes to saving money.
Make sure to make the most of long daylight hours and avoid using electric lighting in your home before sunset. Setting up your desk next to a window will help you take advantage of sunlight well into the evening. Just make sure it’s not a window that faces the sun during the day, you should avoid opening blinds or curtains that face the sun during the hottest time of day as it will create an in-home greenhouse effect.
You can take advantage of the sun in the form of solar power as well. Few people have solar panelling on their homes, but solar outdoor lights can help you enjoy cooler evenings in the garden without using extra electricity.
Cool down with a shower
Use the warm weather as an opportunity to take colder showers – not only will the water help you cool down but you’ll be saving on your heating bills.
Air-Con or Scare-Con?
It’s still unusual to see air-conditioning units in people’s homes in the UK, largely because they are expensive to install and operate for the relatively few weeks a year when they would see use.
Not a fan of this heat?
A cheaper way to get a similar cooling effect is using an electric fan – placing a bowl of water or ice in from of the blades to create a frosty breeze in the room while using much less electricity.
Learn the physics of airflow
Make sure to open windows in the evening when the outdoor temperature drops, and open the top part of the window or sash if you can. Hot air rises, so opening a higher window will pull the warmest air out of the room and replace it with cooler outside air for a free air-conditioning effect.
When it comes to heat, your fridge is your friend
When the weather is too hot to handle my fridge becomes my best friend, but these appliances will also need extra attention when the weather is hot to get the most out of them. The hotter it is outside the harder your fridge has to work to stay cool, venting more heat out the back and away from your food.
Don’t heat your fridge up
Make sure that the area behind and to the sides of your fridge is as clear as possible to help this heat disperse and your fridge will stay naturally cooler.
Your fridge is most efficient at keeping cool when it’s full, but that doesn’t mean you should waste money on filling it with food that will end up in the bin. Instead, fill glass jugs, jam jars and empty bottles with water and put these in empty spaces. Not only will the fridge use less power, but you’ll also have an unlimited supply of chilled water to cool off.
You can even turn a hot-water bottle into a cold water bottle using this method. Just fill a rubber water bottle with cool water and put it in your freezer – a few hours later you’ll have a handy ice pack for your neck or lap. Just make sure not to fill the bottle all the way as the water expands when frozen and you may pop your water bottle.
Leaving your fridge or freezer door open can quickly raise the temperature inside, requiring even more energy to bring it back down. A door alarm like this one from Fridggi lets you know when the door has been left open and helps you build more energy-efficient habits in the kitchen.
Thermostat hacks to hackle to heat
It seems obvious, but make sure to turn your thermostat right down if it is hot outside. Even if the weather is mild, for every degree below your normal level you turn the temperature down you could save up to 10% on your heating bill.
Time for an upgrade?
Smart or Programmable Thermostats are often promoted for the ways they can help heat your home, but the same technology can be used to make your cooling more efficient. If you have one of these smart devices you can set it to allow your home to heat up when no one is home to save energy, particularly if your household is usually at work or school during the hottest part of the day.
Again, positioning matters
Whether your thermostat is smart or not, you should also be aware of where in your home it is positioned. If your thermostat is close to any heat source it may get an artificially high-temperature reading, leading it to cool your home further than you need.
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Line dry your laundry
In hot, breezy weather clothes will dry outside very quickly, whereas a tumble dryer or combines washer and dryer will not only use a lot of electricity but will also heat up your home while they are in use.
If you don’t have any outside space to line dry, try drying towels by hanging them out of windows or balconies. Heavy, absorbent items like towels need the most energy to try and will cause your washer and dryer to heat up as you do.
Avoid running appliances in the heat
If you have to use an electric dryer, try running it in the evening or at night where possible, this will stop it from heating up your home during the hottest times of the day. If you have an economy 7 or 10 electricity tariff, your electricity will also be cheaper at night meaning more savings.
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen (literally)
Cooking will also heat up your home, so where possible avoid using your oven and hob to prepare food while it’s hot outside.
Cold picnic dinners or cooking outside on a grill are classic options, and a propane or electric barbecue is likely to be cheaper to run than coal or charcoal-fired option.
A slow cooker is a great way to still serve hot meals without raising the temperature outdoors. Not only are these devices so well insulated that they lose a tiny amount of heat to their surroundings, but most only use as much electricity as a typical light bulb.
The sudden jump from jumper and scarf weather to a heat wave has taken many of us by surprise, but these tips should help you stay cool without blowing your summer budget.
Looking for more ways to save on your bills? People across the UK are overpaying every month for their broadband, TV and other services. Book a free call with one of our connections experts and let us see if there are ways you could be saving on your utilities.
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