As the great British summertime heats up, people around the country fight to stay cool. Keeping your home – and yourself – frosty doesn’t need to cost a fortune. With a few simple tricks, you can keep the temperature, and your bills, low.
Here are our top tips for staying cool in the summer without working up a sweat worrying about how much energy you’re using.
Keeping your home cool
Build a budget air-con unit
Most UK homes don’t have an air conditioner, but you can get a similar cooling effect from an electric fan with a careful setup. Place a bowl of ice in front of the fan to create a frosty breeze in the room while using much less electricity than a standard air conditioner.
Close your curtains during the hottest part of the day to insulate against the heat, then open your curtains and windows in the evening to encourage a cool breeze.
Hopefully, you’ve remembered to turn your central heating off completely! Make sure you switch off every heating device in your home – towel rails and laundry racks don’t need to be left on while the weather is hot. You can use a smart meter to spot devices that are using power unnecessarily and power them off or unplug them for the summer to help keep your energy bills low.
Easy fridge and freezer hacks
Fill them up
Your fridge and freezer are most efficient when they are full, needing less electricity to stay cool. Fill empty spaces with plastic bottles filled with water and grab them when you head out of the house for a cold drink on the go. Not only will efficient appliances use less power, saving you electricity, but putting the motor under less strain could also extend the life of your appliance.
Adjust your freezer temperature
For food safety, -18°C is the perfect temperature to keep your freezer at. Setting it any colder won’t make your Magnums any more refreshing, but a freezer kept at -24°C uses 25% more electricity.
Fit a fridge alarm
Leaving your fridge door open wastes electricity, and can actually heat up your home as the fridge motor is forced to work harder. A simple fridge alarm like this one reminds you that you’ve left the fridge open so you can shut that cool back in. The less work your fridge has to do to stay cool the less energy it uses, and the lower you can keep your bills.
Hung out to dry
Air-drying laundry uses less electricity than a tumble dryer and won’t heat up your home. If you have a balcony or garden then hanging the laundry outside will help it dry even faster thanks to the breeze. No garden? A hanging dryer next to an open window or door will also dry more quickly.
Dry by night
If you have to use a tumble dryer, run it in the evening. The extra heat won’t be as unpleasant as during the hottest part of the day, and if you have an ‘Economy 7’ meter your electricity will be cheaper during off-peak hours. If you’re not sure if you have an off-peak energy tariff, check your latest bill or ask your provider. If you do, you could be saving £100s on your energy bills charging devices and running energy-intensive machines at night.
Save water in the garden
Water, water everywhere
Your garden plants usually aren’t too fussy about what you water them with. Set out a butt or a bucket to collect rain, round up old drinking glasses or use a tub in the shower to collect the water you run off while you wait for it to warm up. As long as the water is free from salt, soap or cleaning chemicals you can reuse it in your garden and cut your water bills.
When you water your garden also makes a difference. Choosing the evening will mean you lose less surface water to evaporation and need less water overall.
Not sure if cutting your water consumption would save you money? Read more about metered water here. Even without a water meter, you can still save on your bills by cutting back on the amount of hot water you use, as this relies on your gas or electricity to heat up.
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