Top 10 ways to save energy this Christmas

We may have enjoyed an unseasonably mild start to winter, but there’s no escaping the fact that colder weather is now beginning to bite.

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And with many of us planning to be at home over the Christmas holidays, cranking the heating up to keep everyone warm can prove costly. 

All those festive lights and having the cooker on for longer than usual can also have a major impact on your electricity bills, so  it’s little wonder figures show that Christmas is the time of year we use the most energy in our homes.

Fortunately, there are lots of little tricks you can use to ensure that your family stays warm and cosy for less.

Here, we let you in on the secrets that can save you money and protect your home from cold weather-induced disasters such as burst pipes.

1. Turn your thermostat down

Reducing your room temperature by just one degree Celsius could cut your heating bills by up to 10%, giving an average saving of £60 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

You can monitor and control the temperature throughout your home more accurately by installing room thermostats that could help to cut your bills by a further £70.

2. Cook smart

When cooking on the hob, you should always use the right-sized pan and ring for each job and keep the lids on your pans as much as possible to reduce heat loss.

And when using the oven, keep the door shut as much as you can and make big batches of food whenever possible to improve your energy efficiency.

Other ways to save energy in the kitchen include defrosting food overnight rather than microwaving it and ensuring warm foods cool down before placing them in the fridge.

3. Watch your water

Your water cylinder thermostat should be set at 60 degrees Celsius. You should therefore turn it down if it is higher than this.

If you have a programmer, then it makes sense to set the hot water to come on only when required rather than all the time.

You can also avoid wasting energy worth about £40 a year by fitting a hot water tank insulation jacket and make further savings by only boiling the water you need in your kettle, and de-scaling it from time to time.

4. Mind the gaps

To avoid wasting energy at Christmastime, you should keep the windows closed whenever possible, particularly when you are generating heat by cooking, and check for draughts around both the windows and doors.

At dusk, it is also a good idea to close your curtains to stop heat escaping through the windows.

5. Turn it off

Always remember to switch electrical appliances off standby when you've finished using them, and only charge laptops and mobile phones when you need to.

Remember too to always turn off the lights when you leave a room, especially overnight.

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6. Fill it up

If possible, fill up the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher rather than running them for half loads.

One full load uses less energy than two half loads so it is worth waiting until you can fill the appliance before starting the cycle.

7. Fix that leak

A dripping hot water tap wastes enough heated water to fill half a bath in just one week. Consequently, you can dramatically reduce both your water consumption and your electricity bills by fixing any leaks. Try also to get the whole family to ensure that the taps are fully turned off after use.

8. Change your lightbulbs

Energy saving light bulbs, which will soon completely replace traditional bulbs in the shops, last up to 10 times longer and can save you around £55 over the lifetime of the bulb.

The saving could, however, be much higher: Around £120 over its lifetime if you are replacing a high-wattage incandescent bulb.

9. Go solar

If you plan to decorate your garden as well as your home, it makes sense to invest in some solar-powered fairy lights that won’t add to your electricity bills.

You can buy them on the MoneySupermarket Shopping Channel for £24.99.

10. Avoid weather-related catastrophes

Not everyone stays at home for Christmas. Many families will be taking advantage of the time off work and school to head off on holiday instead.

This can also have its downsides when it comes to your home, though. Insurers receive thousands of claims for burst pipes, which can easily cause up to £10,000 of damage, every winter.

You can reduce the chances of this by keeping the central heating at a constant minimum of between 12 and 15 degrees Celsius, insulating the more exposed pipes, leaving the loft hatch door open to allow warmer air to reach the cold tank and turning off the water supply to outside taps.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.

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