As a result of the increased need for remote working, one of the many concerns may be the impact this could have on household bills – which Ofgem average per household at £104.50 per month, or £1,254 a year. More than half of this is spent on heating and hot water, says the Energy Saving Trust.
However, these six tips, brought to you by Worcester Bosch, could make you big savings in the long run as the world adapts to an increased life at home.
TIP 1: Identify the rooms that you work in – and operate them efficiently
- Switching the lights off in rooms that aren’t used can save you £14 a year
- Turn radiators completely off in unused rooms
The first step to success in remote working is finding the perfect working environment, without wasting energy in unused areas of your home. The Government suggests that if you plan to be out of a room for less than 15 minutes, leave the lights on. But if you are out of a room for more than 15 minutes, turn them off. According to Energy Saving Trust, this small change could save you £14 a year on your annual energy bills.
To bolster this, Martyn Bridges, Director of Technical Communication and Product Management at Worcester Bosch, adds further insight: “If you have a smart room thermostat installed with smart TRVs, you can tailor the temperature to individual rooms. If not, think about which rooms you are likely to use and keep warm and switch off or lower the temperature on radiators in any that you don’t.”
TIP 2: Take control of your heating
Turning down your room thermostat by just one degree could save you £80 over the year
- 21°C is comfortable when you’re at home during the day, with 17°C the recommended temperature for some good, much-needed sleep. A balance for working from home should be considered
If you already have a full set of heating controls, turning down your room thermostat by just one degree could save you £80 over the year, and you’d barely notice the difference.
A room thermostat monitors the air temperature and enables you to set the level you want. If the room temperature drops below this level, the thermostat switches your boiler on. The recommended setting is around 21°C for comfort when at home relaxing or sat down in your temporary office. This can be more like 18°C when you’re active and not home working or sat down relaxing.
If you’re concerned about your bills, you might be happy to know that the ideal sleeping temperature is 17°C. Your sleep can seriously impact your performance at work, so for best results have the heating in your bedroom pre-set to increase in temperature 1-2 hours before you intend to wake in order to help with the waking process.
Martyn provides useful context: “If you’re thinking about the most efficient way to heat your home, it’s best to tailor it to your lifestyle. Of course, we are all currently at home for the majority of our day, so think about keeping your home comfortable, but one degree less than what you usually set it to – say 20°C – remember that you can wear layers too to save on bills in the long run.” If you don’t have Smart controls and TRVs and you are the only person in the house throughout the day then it might be more efficient to use a portable electric fan heater for the one room you’re occupying.
TIP 3: Be careful in the kitchen
- More than a third of the UK wash up by hand at least once a day
- Washing up with a bowl instead of running the tap could save you £25 a year
- Filling the kettle with only what you need can save you £6 a year
Worcester Bosch’s recent research found that 67% of Brits like to tackle the washing up by hand at least once a day, but we fear that many may simply be washing dirty dishes under a running tap. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that using a bowl and some hot, soapy water from your trusty boiler to wash up instead could save you up to £25 a year.
Martyn Bridges expands on water usage: “I know that I drink at least five cups of tea per day at work, which will now be from home! If you’re like me, take care to only fill the kettle with the amount of water you require, to avoid the cost of re-boiling and re-filling unnecessarily to save yourself £6 a year.”
TIP 4: Stop heat escaping
- Pull your furniture away from radiators to maximise your heat distribution
You’ll be spending more time indoors, meaning you may have the heating on when you usually wouldn’t. Simple steps can be taken immediately to improve heat distribution in your home at no cost to you.
Martyn explains: “Radiators against outside walls can allow heat to escape. So, in order to prevent any further loss of heat, pull furniture slightly away from radiators to improve the circulation of air and make the radiator more efficient. “You should also ensure you open any curtains on the south side of the house during the day, as this will increase the solar gain into the house. At night, ensure they’re all closed properly to keep out the cold.”
TIP 5: Shower smart
- Showering for one minute less per day could save you £7 per person
With more working from home, the opportunity to increase exercise levels outside is high. Previous research from Worcester Bosch has found that more than half (55%) of the nation shower within 2 hours of exercise – but Martyn has a warning.
He adds: “Showers take up less water than baths, so less gas is used during the process. If you want to save some money, choose showers over baths.
The next time you come back from a workout, attempt to shower for one minute less than usual. Doing this will save £7 a year on your energy bills per person. So, the more people you live with, the more you could save.”
TIP 6: Change your homely habits
- Use cold water to brush your teeth and shave
- Switching appliances off standby could save you £30 per year
With extra time at home, you can look at changing some of your other inefficient habits. Outside of quick heating and hot water adjustments, there are several quick changes you can make around your working environment to further reduce costs. For example, turning off laptop switches – and not leaving it on standby – could save you an extra £30 per year according to Energy Saving Trust, while brushing teeth or shaving with cold water would also help save further.