With the current interest in improving the energy efficiency of a building and less carbon emission reflected through Energy Performance Certificates (EPC), it can pay off to look at essential things like cleaning and housekeeping around your home to help towards this.
Although significant issues like new insulation, LED lighting, and even new heat source pumps will make a big difference, it’s still amazing how some of the small day-to-day habits also add up.
Therefore here are a variety of cleaning and general housekeeping tips to help improve your home's energy efficiency and reduce electricity and utility costs.
1. Descale a kettle
These use a lot of electricity, and limescale can build up to insulate the heating elements causing the kettle to work even harder.
Therefore simply descaling can reduce, for example, unplugging and filling the kettle with a mixture of half white vinegar and half water, letting it soak for an hour before boiling and then cooling and rinsing off.
2. Defrost your freezer
The buildup of ice up to a quarter of an inch thick can cause your freezer to work overtime, consuming excess energy. You can therefore increase this melting process with pans of hot water and use a plastic spatula to scrape off ice sheets.
Also, look at turning the freezer off for long periods when on holiday, or but a newer model (you can also get them with a special holiday mode).
Going even further with your kettle, you could use it less or select one that wAlsoesn’t go to the full boiling temperature for drinks such as green tea, which only needs to reach 80°.
3. Efficient use of your washing machine
One way to clean it up to run more efficiently and hygienically is to disinfect it by adding an anti-bacterial rinse aid or a cup full of white vinegar. To kill bacteria that survive low temperatures, do a hot wash at 90° once a month to kill off any bugs and odours. Every three months, then descale to prevent the heating element corroding plus keep the machines filter free from rubbish.
Also, turn the washing machine off the mains when you are not using it, and when you do, have short low-temperature cycles which are more efficient.
4. The best use of dishwashers
Although these use a lot of electricity, if you have a modern, efficient one on a full load, this can be a better use of Water than old-fashioned hand washing. Also, choose the quick wash facility on the dishwasher.
Every month or so, clean it by placing a bowl of white vinegar in the upper rack and placing it on a hot cycle, then sprinkling carbonate soda over the bottom to run a short process to finish it off.
5. New showerhead
Simply fitting a low flush showerhead of half the average showerhead rate will save the water used when you do have a shower.
6. Drying clothes
An alternative to the tumble dryer is not to have one at all. Instead, leave the clothes out to naturally dry, even if you first have a more rapid spin cycle on your washing machine, to remove as much water as possible beforehand. If you are hanging clothes, make them as high as possible, even using a ceiling-mounted close hanger, and don’t leave them on radiators which can cause condensation and staining of your walls.
You could even use your local Laundrette rather than your own appliances, particularly for large items like towels and duvet covers.
7. Select a better oven
These can guzzle a lot of electricity or gas, and in fact, self-cleaning ovens are the best insulated and, therefore, most efficient even if you don’t use the self-cleaning function.
Also, keep the ovens cleaned and fans functioning properly and use to the maximum capacity when they are on, even if food is frozen afterwards.
When it comes to hobs, the electric induction ones are more efficient than the gas hobs, plus even purchasing better quality cookware can encourage greater efficiency.
8. Turning off appliances
This is easy peasy, but so often missed in a busy modern life.
This includes microwaves, kettles and even more extensive appliances like washing machines and tumble dryers. These will power all kinds of lights and components, wasting electricity consumption.
9. New LED lightbulbs
This has been suggested for many years but often gets forgotten, or people wait until bulbs go before replacing them. Carefully selected LED bulbs and even the correct type of lighting, along with any timers and dimmer switches, will help reduce electricity consumption.
10. Turn down the TV brightness
These use a lot of electricity to provide the bright light on modern displays and therefore provide a saving by simply turning it down. This also relates to computers and even laptops and how often they need recharging.
Saving the planet, cleaning your home
As you relook at how you manage and clean your home, these tips can not only help you keep things clean and longer lasting but help improve energy efficiency and costs.