Many of you will be heading off on your holidays but, while you’re sunning yourself on the beach, your home could be running up unnecessarily high gas and electricity bills.
Take a look at our top tips on how to save energy at home while you’re on holiday.
Unplug your appliances
According to the Energy Savings Trust, appliances left on standby cost the average British household £80 per year. As you won’t be needing your TV or DVD player while you’re away sunning yourself, there’s no harm in switching off those appliances that you don’t need.
Appliances which are commonly left on standby include:
- DVD/Blu-ray players
- Games consoles
- Computers, printers and wi-fi routers
- Stereo equipment such as radios, CD players or Bluetooth speakers
- Landline telephones
Although each appliance on its own only uses a small amount of energy while on standby, a whole house full of them soon starts to add up. Once you’re back from your holiday, why not try continuing this good habit to save yourself money long-term?
Should I switch off my fridge and freezer when I go on holiday?
Fridges and freezers use a significant amount of energy, so it’s worth taking into account when you are going away. Some models have vacation settings which reduce the temperature within the fridge, as the frequent opening of the doors while in use requires additional energy to cool the inside back to the correct temperature.
For a shorter trip of a few weeks, remove perishable foods and leave your fridge running, but raise its temperature a little (or set to vacation mode if you’re fortunate enough to have one!). If you have an ice maker, turn this off to save even more energy.
As fridges are most efficient when well-stocked, a great tip is to fill up empty space with bowls or jugs of water to maintain the correct temperature. You can also do the same with your freezer using bags of ice and milk bottles filled with water (though these should not be too full, as water expands when it freezes and may burst the bottle).
If you will be away for a long period, you can consider using up everything in your fridge or freezer, giving it a good clean and switching it off completely until you get back. If you do this, don’t forget to leave the fridge doors open to prevent food odours, mould and mildew.
Set an automatic timer for your lights to turn on
Many people are wary of their homes looking unoccupied for long periods of time while they are away, so leave one or more lights on to give the impression of somebody being home. While the idea is sound, a much more cost-effective way of doing this is to use an automatic timer.
A timer will switch lamps and other appliances on and off at pre-defined times, meaning that not only are you saving money by only having your lights on for a short period of time, but you are also giving a more realistic impression of an occupied home. For even more savings, don’t forget to invest in energy-saving bulbs.
Switch off your boiler
While you’re away on your summer holiday, you can switch off your boiler to save money on heating up hot water that isn’t going to be used. While there is a belief that high energy consumption during boiler start-up negates the savings of switching it off in the first place, leaving a boiler on low for the duration of your holiday will actually use up more energy over this period than this start-up spike.
If you are heading off for a winter holiday, however, you must make sure to set your heating to come on for a couple of hours a day to prevent your pipes from freezing. Keep things ticking over by using the timer on your central heating, ideally setting it to come on between 3am and 4am, which is usually the coldest time of day in the winter.