Cost of living: Couple outline 'significant impact' of energy bills
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Magnet Trade have shared that searches for ‘how to cut energy costs’ have skyrocketed by 81 percent over the past month. From preparing meals to doing laundry and washing, it’s the kitchen that consumes the most energy in a household. With this in mind, experts from Magnet Trade have shared 10 practical ways to reduce energy bills this winter. They commented: “With it being a hotspot of energy usage in your home, making changes in your kitchen habits can be the starting point to seeing a significant reduction in your energy bills. You don’t need to reduce the amount you do of certain activities. It’s a case of being aware of the most efficient way of doing things to help limit unnecessary energy waste, which amounts to savings over time.’’
1. Give kitchen appliances a winter clean
According to the experts, if kitchen appliances and equipment are not cleaned regularly, it’s likely they are working a lot harder than they need to be, which “increases energy use and puts it at risk of breakdown”.
They explained: “For example, a dirty oven is less energy efficient as heat is absorbed by the sooty and greasy deposits rather than the food. Refrigerator condenser coils are another area that, if not cleaned, makes it harder for your cold room to remain at food-safe temperatures. Not only is this costing you money on your energy bill, but it can have serious implications for your food safety.’’
2. Defrost your freezer
Fridges and freezers, switched on 24/7, are among “the most energy hungry items” that can be found in kitchens. The experts warned: “Not defrosting your freezer regularly can add £150 a year to your bill as the more ice you have built up in your freezer, the more work its motor must do, which means more energy.”
3. Make use of air fryers and microwaves
Ovens can be an inefficient way of cooking as they involve heating a relatively large space. Therefore it is best to opt for using a microwave or air fryer where possible.
The experts said: “Using a microwave, pressure cooker or air fryer instead can significantly save you money on your bills as they are much more energy efficient and are a faster method of cooking. For example, a baked potato could take 70 minutes in an oven, 60 minutes in an air fryer and eight minutes in a microwave.”
4. Be oven savvy and switch it off early
Amid soaring energy and gas bills, many people are trying to avoid oven cooking. However, they don’t have to avoid it completely, just think more efficiently about how it is actually being used.
The experts advised: “If you have a double oven, use the smaller one whenever possible, as it will take less energy to heat up and maintain temperature. Try cooking multiple dishes at one time and avoid opening the door to peek at the food cooking. This will result in heat escaping from the oven and it having to work harder to replace it.
“Another great tip is to switch off the oven early. Ovens generally retain the required temperature for up to 10 minutes after switching it off and the residual heat will mean your food is still cooking. This means you can save 10 minutes of energy without compromising on your cooking.’’
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5. Use the right sized hob ring for your pan
Whilst it’s tempting to place a small pan on a big hob to make it cook faster, homeowners should always match the size of the burner to the size of the pan they are using “otherwise you’re wasting energy from the heat escaping around it”, said the experts.
They explained: “If you can see any of the electric ring or gas flames when you look down on the pan from above, it’s heating the air in the kitchen not the pan – so a 15cm pan on a 20cm ring could be wasting 25 percent of the energy being used. Swapping to a smaller ring can save you a surprising amount of money.”
6. Not in use? Switch it off
Many people believe that turning electronics on and off uses more energy than just leaving them on. This may have been true at one point, but today, the energy used to power on a device is minimal compared to the constant drain it uses whilst switched on.
The experts said: “‘Vampire appliances’ such as TV’s and coffee machines left on standby, are constantly using energy so that they are ready for immediate use. Get into the household habit of switching off or unplugging appliances when not in use to avoid adding to your energy bills.”
7. Batch cook and meal prep
Cooking as much food in one go as possible means people will save time and energy than cooking lots of different meals. The pros advised: “Eat what you need, then portion off the rest and freeze it. Plus, there’s nothing like having a homemade meal ready for you when you need it.’’
8. Always fill your appliances
According to the experts, appliances like washing machines, dryers and dishwashers use the same amount of energy whether it’s half empty or full. The experts said: “Therefore, try to only run them when they are full to avoid wasting energy and the number of loads you’re running each week.
“Also make use of your appliances’ energy-efficient settings. A dishwasher eco-run for example, saves 20 percent more energy by heating the water more slowly and over a longer cycle.’’
9. Only boil what you need in the kettle
Not many people are aware that overfilling the kettle with more water than you need wastes energy. Most kettles have a scale on the side showing you how far to fill them, depending on how many cups you need. Using this as a guideline will help reduce unnecessary use of energy and water.
It’s also a good idea to invest in a more energy efficient kettle or instant hot water tap to help reduce energy bills. The experts noted: “Instant hot water taps can use up to 50 percent less energy than traditional kettles and you only use the amount of water needed.”
10. Invest in energy efficient appliances
Whilst they may have a higher upfront cost, energy efficient appliances will “significantly reduce your energy bills in the long run” and transform your home with technology that will last longer and be more reliable, says the pros.
They said: “Fridge-freezers, dishwashers, ovens, washing machines and cooking hobs are the five top appliances worth considering for an upgrade. For example, an F-rated 70/30 287 fridge freezer uses 725 kWh per year, making its annual running cost £143. Upgrade to an example D-rated 70/30 294-litre fridge freezer and its usage is 156 kWh a year, costing just £81.12 to run annually.
“Despite a gas cooker costing less to run than induction or electric cooking, making the induction switch can save you money with its faster cooking times and significantly better energy efficiency. With induction cooking, up to 90 percent of the energy used is transferred to the food, compared to the 40 percent for gas.”
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