During school holidays, households may find their energy bills creeping up. Fear not, this article provides practical and cost-effective tips to help families to save energy and stay on top of these escalating costs. We’ll draw on top tips from uSwitch to see how to efficiently manage various household appliances, monitor screen time, and even cleverly swap out energy-hungry devices. Prepare to enjoy your children’s holidays without fretting about an astronomical energy bill!
Table of Contents
- Discussing ways to save energy during school holidays
- Techniques for efficient use of dishwashers and washing machines
- Recommendations on managing screen time and gaming hours
- The importance of turning off unused devices and lights
- Suggestions on curtailing shower time
- Benefits of swapping the oven for the air fryer
- Introduction to Uswitch.com’s Utrack app for real-time energy monitoring
While energy bills are generally lower in the summer months, as Ben Gallizzi, energy expert at Uswitch.com, comments: “Keeping kids entertained during the long summer holidays is hard enough, and this year parents face the extra challenge of keeping energy costs down at the same time.
“With children spending more time around the house it’s easy for the energy bills to creep up as the laundry piles up and the television seems to stay on for 24 hours a day, but there are steps you can take to keep bills down.”
Top Tips to Keep Energy Bills Down
1. Ensure Effective Dishwasher Use
With children home for the holidays, dishes can quickly pile up. Using a dishwasher is more energy-efficient than washing by hand. However, to maximise these savings, ensure your dishwasher is full before running it. Running two extra dishwasher loads weekly could set you back approximately 48p. Using the eco mode is a wise choice to further conserve energy.
Fully loading your dishwasher does mean you need to ensure you load it the right way – there’s nothing more frustrating than going to unload the dishes only to find some are still covered in food residue. So just follow a couple of simple rules:
- Don’t overcrowd – make sure your items aren’t touching each other so that the water can get through and penetrate on all sides
- Don’t block the spray arms – these hold the jets that clean the dishes so make sure nothing is in the way of them.
2. Take Control of the Laundry Load
The school holiday means a break from school uniforms, but it also means more outfit changes and potentially more laundry. Every additional load of washing costs 21p in energy. To optimise usage, make sure to only run the washing machine when it’s full. Leveraging the eco settings on your washing machine and selecting a lower temperature also promotes energy conservation. Make sure too that children don’t take the easy option and ‘dump’ their clean clothes in the washing basket when asked to clear up their bedroom!
3. Adhere to Television and Gaming Time Limits
The television and gaming consoles are likely to see increased use during the holidays. Each extra 18 hours of television per week can add an additional 54p to your energy bill. On the gaming front, ten hours of gaming each week will cost around 60p. Encourage moderation in screen time and remember to switch off when not in use.
Encouraging children to have time away from their screens of course means they may well become boisterous around the house as they play and have fun. Make sure your home contents insurance protects you if needed for any accidental damage that may occur as a result.
4. Employ Light and Gadget Management
Children might leave lights on or keep devices plugged in unnecessarily. It’s essential to encourage them to switch off lights in empty rooms and unplug fully charged devices. Adopting these simple practices can contribute significantly to reducing energy consumption.
5. Limit Showering Time
Showering habits vary greatly, particularly amongst teenagers. Operating a typical 7.5kW electric shower for ten minutes costs about 38p. By reducing shower time to four minutes, each shower could save 15p. Encourage your kids to spend less time under the shower to conserve both water and energy.
6. Save on Energy Bills at Meal Times: Consider Using an Air Fryer
Cooking an additional five hot meals in the oven every week could add 95p to your energy bills. To satisfy those hungry stomachs without breaking the bank, consider using an air fryer. Typically, an air fryer uses half as much electricity as an oven, making it a much more energy-efficient choice.
Not strictly energy related but other great money saving tips to consider, especially with the kids at home needing always it seems to be fed, is to
look at getting involved with food swapping, a growing trend. It’s a simple yet impactful practice where community members exchange their unused or surplus food items with others who need them.
check out innovative apps that offer practical and efficient ways to manage, share, and even rescue surplus food. Apps such as Too Good To Go and NoWaste. Find out more in our article ‘4 Steps Towards a Sustainable Lifestyle: Swap, Share, Upcycle and Save Money‘.
7. Track Your Energy Usage: Uswitch.com Utrack App
Uswitch.com’s Utrack app is an excellent tool for households to monitor and manage their energy usage. This free mobile app allows users to see in real-time how much power each appliance uses. It’s a fantastic aid to help households understand and adapt their energy use during these energy-intensive school holidays.
To find out how much energy you’re using, download the Utrack app here and connect to your smart meter.