Energy efficiency

As we head towards a more sustainable net-zero future, reducing our energy use is a win-win: not only will it save us money, but it will help save the planet from the impact of climate change as well.

Energy saving tips that don’t cost a thing

Looking for free ways to save energy at home? You’re in the right place.
Here are some energy saving things you can do right now to make your home more energy-efficient – without spending a penny.

OngoPhotograph by Richard Walker/ImageNorth

Turn your thermostat down by 1 degree

One of the simplest energy saving tips is turning your heating down a single degree. You might not think such a small amount would make a difference – but according to the Energy Saving Trust, going from 20C to 19C (for example) can cut your heating bill by 10%. For the average 3-bed house, that could be up to £145 every year.

Why not try tuning down your room thermostat and radiator values until you find a temperature you’re comfortable with. People over 65, children under 5 and those with pre-existing health conditions are more vulnerable to cold temperatures. Make sure you are warm enough and have a minimum indoor temperature of 18°C (setting 2 or 3 on your radiator valves) to ensure you’re healthy and comfortable.

Turning off radiators completely in rooms you are not using is less energy efficient as this means your boiler has to work harder to maintain the temperature of a room you are heating than if kept at a low setting. Turning off radiators can also cause issues with damp and mould.




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Reduce your boiler flow temperature

Got a combi boiler? The default boiler flow temperature is normally set at 70 degrees. Reduce it to 55-60 degrees to save up to 6% on your energy use. Your boiler will work much more efficiently, and you won’t even notice the difference.

Watch this video by British Gas which helps explain this.


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Heating your home efficiently

You may have heard that it’s cheaper to leave the heating on all day. That’s a myth. According to the Energy Saving Trust, the best way is to only have the heating on when you need it.

When you use your boiler timer and room thermostat along with radiator temperature controls (TRVs), you’ll have the most energy-efficient approach to heating your home.

If you have an Air Source Heat Pump – you need to use a heat pump in a totally different way to gas central heating. We’ll be producing some guidance around this soon.


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Bleed your radiators

This sounds a bit technical, but it’s surprisingly simple and can make your heating system more efficient. If you have cold spots on your radiator, bleeding them can really help. Here’s a handy guide to show you how How to bleed your radiators – British Gas

If you bleed your radiator and the water is not clear, this could be a sign of dirt in the system.  If you notice this, report it to us.

The pressure on your boiler may also drop after you have bled your radiators so its important to check it before and afterwards.  If you are unsure of how to repressurise your boiler or bleed your radiators, please contact Ongo for assistance.


Move your furniture away from radiators

Big items of furniture can stop the heat from a radiator reaching the rest of the room. Got a bed or a sofa right next to a radiator? Move it at least an inch or two away. this will improve the air circulation and you’ll notice the room gets warm much faster.


Keep the heat in by closing the curtains at night

Warmth starts to escape from your home when the sun goes down and temperatures start to drop. Closing all the curtains or blinds in your home is a simple but effective way of stopping heat loss – especially if you have older windows. Keeping your curtains closed during the day can trap in moisture, causing mould, do keep your curtains open and rooms ventilated during daylight hours.  For more information on damp and mould, click here.


Wash your clothes at a lower temperature to save energy

Most of us wash at 40C out of habit, but modern washing powders work well at temperatures as low as 20C. Why not try making 30C your standard wash? The lower the temperature, the more energy you’ll save. Although it’s probably best to wash bedding, towels and underwear at a higher temperature – at least 40C.


Switch off the lights

Leaving a light on in an empty room won’t cost you much, but always remembering to switch them off when you leave a room can help bring your annual electricity bill down. Look to switch to LED bulbs that use 90% less energy than halogen & last up to 50x longer than incandescent bulbs.

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Switch off standby

You can save around £55 a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode.

Almost all electrical appliances can be turned off at the plug without upsetting their programming.  Check the instructions for any appliances you aren’t sure about. Some satellite and digital TV recorders may need to be left plugged in so they can keep track of any programmes you want to record.

Create a routine to switch off before bed or work, or you can use a timer on the socket, so you don’t have to try to remember. Follow this link to see how much your appliances cost you.

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Dry your clothes more efficiently

Tumble dryers are handy but energy hungry. So, dry your laundry outside when you can to save on energy bills. If you dry on a radiator, hang clothes nearby rather than directly on the radiator. Wet clothes cool the radiator, which makes your boiler work harder to keep things cosy. They also create moisture which causes mould growth. For more information on damp and mould, click here.

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Get a smart meter

Ask your energy supplier for a smart meter or a smart meter display. A smart meter will send monthly readings to your energy supplier automatically, so you don’t have to try to remember. You can use a smart meter display to help set your budget and monitor your usage.

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Cooking accounts for around 14% of electricity demand in UK homes.  By cooking meals in bulk and freezing some for later you can save on energy as you will be using cooking appliances less. Boiling water for pasta or vegetables in the kettle takes less time and uses less energy. Why not try turning off the heat a couple of minutes before your food is cooked, especially if you have an electric cooker as they take a lot of time to cool down.

Choose the ring that’s closest in size to the saucepan to minimise energy waste. Consider using a steamer to cook different things on the same ring.

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Keep the oven closed while cooking

When you open the oven door, some of the heat escapes – and then your oven needs to use more energy to reach the right temperature again. Getting into the habit of using the oven’s window can help save money over time.

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Use the microwave more to save electricity

They’re not great for everything, but you can’t argue with the energy efficiency of a microwave. Using it more is a simple way of saving energy in the kitchen. Air fryers and slow cookers also use far less energy than your hob or oven too.



Kettles are one of the most used appliances in the kitchen. But many of us will admit that we at least occasionally boil the kettle with more water than we’re going to use.

Avoid overfilling the kettle and save yourself £11 a year on your electricity bill.

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Defrost your fridge and freezer

The fridge and freezer are some of the biggest energy users in your kitchen. They work 24 hours a day unlike other appliances. Regularly defrosting them keeps ice under control and means everything can work efficiently.

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Use eco mode whenever you can

Lots of household appliances have eco modes which are designed to use less energy – usually by running at different speeds or lower temperatures. Try using these as your standard option and you should see real savings over times.


Try to always wash a full load

Get in the habit of only using your dishwasher or washing machine when it’s full, to save on electric. In fact, a full dishwasher can be more efficient with water and energy than washing by hand.

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Keep your appliances clean for efficiency

Clean the lint filter of your tumble dryer as often as possible. This will save energy by making sure it runs properly. Similarly, if you can access the back of your fridge, give the coils a quick hoover every now and then to keep it working efficiently.

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What is energy efficiency?

Watch this video by EU energy for an overview on what energy efficiency is.

As we head towards a more sustainable net-zero future, reducing our energy use is a win-win: not only will it save us money, but it will help save the planet from the impact of climate change as well.

The cost of boiling a kettle, turning on the lights or charging your mobile phone all add up. With the price of energy tariffs higher than in the past, there has never been a better incentive to start saving gas and electric.

As well as saving you money by cutting your bills, becoming more energy efficient will also mean less burning of fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels to produce electricity increases carbon emissions, which are linked to climate change.

How much energy are you using?

The information on a typical energy bill can be confusing but understanding it can go a long way to helping you get to grips with your energy use at home. This video from Home Energy Scotland is a helpful guide.

Once you know how much energy you’re using, you can work out how to save electricity/gas and increase your energy efficiency. 

What you pay for energy depends on your usage and who you share your home with. It could also vary depending on where you are in the UK, and the type of appliances you have. For example, some freezers are more energy efficient than others.

Follow this link to see how much your appliances cost you.

Shop and save

When it’s time to buy a new white good, such as a washing machine, choose one with a high energy-efficiency rating. This will save you money. An A+++ washing machine will typically use £65 less energy than an A+ one over an 11-year product lifespan. An A+++ fridge freezer will save around £320 in energy bills over its lifetime compared to an A+ model.

Look out for energy labels on appliances, they look like the one here.

Review your energy tariff

Make sure you’re on the best energy tariff. Get in touch with your energy supplier to understand what tariffs they provide and compare what they offer with other providers before agreeing a contract.  You can also use a comparison website or phone different energy suppliers to check rates. Look ways we can support you to do this.