Don’t waste your energy

Whether you want to save the planet or just save money, reducing energy waste is wise. Here’s how to do it the easy wayGet over draughts. Fitting a draught excluder, such as B&Q Door and Window Foam Seal, £3.28), takes just a few minutes and makes a big difference to the warmth of your home. See our guide for how to do it on p22. Other fast draught fixes include installing a Brush Strip for Doors, £5.77), an Internal Letterbox, £3.88) and insulating your curtains with B&Q Thermal Curtain Linings Parchment (117 x 132cm), £12.98).Sleep on it. You’ll be able to lower the thermostat and still keep warm if you sleep under several layers which helps hold in the heat better than just one bulky layer – wear bed socks and put a rug under your bed [TBC]. If buying a new rug, get a thick one and consider jute, sisal, coir or seagrass, all of which have great insulating properties.Control your temperature. Keep radiators clear of curtains and furniture, and put foil behind them to help reflect the heat into the room. For a bigger saving, install a temperature control valve on all the radiators in your house. According to the Energy Saving Trust (, installing good heating controls could save you 17 per cent off your bills. Once installed, you’ll be able to lower the temperature in your bedroom and bathroom at night, and permanently in rarely used rooms, such as hallways. At night, turn off the radiators in all rooms except the ones you’ll use when you first wake up.Cuppa free. According to the owners of Yellow House, who turned their 1930s terrace into an eco-friendly home, ‘We threw our electric kettle out, and it cut our electricity use by eight per cent. We use a kettle on the stove top and have taught ourselves how to fill it with the right amount of water.’ As a bonus, the heat from the stove will warm your kitchen a little. For more practical tips, visit tactics. Dress your hot water tank with a British Standard (BS) jacket that’s at least 80mm thick. Insulate the pipe leading from the boiler to the hot water tank with lagging. Do both, and you’ll save £15-20 a year.Bright idea. Low-energy bulbs have plummeted in price recently. B&Q Energy Saving Bulbs, £6.98 for a pack of two), work out at just £3.49 each. You’ll save up to £9 a year on your electricity bill for every ordinary bulb you replace with a low-energy bulb, leaving you with £5.51 for your pocket. Kerching! Plus, they last 12 times longer than ordinary bulbs, meaning fewer tedious bulb replacements.Boil under. Whatever type of boiler you have, it doesn’t need to be set higher than 60C, so lower yours, and you’ll save money straightaway.Surfer savings. Visit to find out if you’re with the cheapest energy supplier. Consider switching to a green energy supplier, too. They often meet or beat your local supplier’s rates. For more energy-saving tips, visit and A LITTLE, SAVE A LOTNearly 50 per cent of the heat lost in homes is through loft space and walls, and if your boiler is 10-15 years old it probably isn’t energy efficient – replace it with a high efficiency condensing boiler and you’ll save a third on your heating bills. You might get help paying for insulation and new boilers from the government, your electricity supplier or charities. To quickly find out which grants you’re eligible for, call the Energy Saving Trust on or visit Installing loft insulation is usually fairly easy, but you might need a professional to install wall insulation. Most people have cavity walls, which take around two hours to insulate. Contact The Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency, to find an installer.CUT OUT AND KEEP: EVERYDAY SAVINGSClose doors Hallways, spare rooms and utility rooms don’t need to be as warm as living roomsSwitch off lights If you’re worried about not being able to find the switch, plug in low-energy nightlights that turn on when the room is darkClose curtains at dusk This will help hold in heat, but ensure curtains aren’t covering radiatorsDon’t leave appliances on standby Switch TVs, computers, dishwashers and so on completely off when not in use, and you could save up to 10 per cent on your billsWash clothes at 30 degrees Clothes rarely get dirty enough to need washing at higher temperaturesAir-dry clothes Avoid using tumble driers where possible and don’t drape wet clothes on radiators. According to Friends of the Earth, it stops heat reaching the room, creates damp and encourages mouldFill it up Turn on washing machines and dishwashers only when completely fullDon’t fill it up Boil only as much water as you needPut a lid on it Food will heat up and cook with less energyPut the plug in Don’t waste water when washing up and shavingUnplug it Chargers for mobiles phones and batteries still eat up energy even if nothing is being charged. Switch off at the plug