Going on holiday? An energy saving checklist

If you’re about to head away for a long holiday, you certainly don’t want to be fretting about your home energy use while you’re relaxing on the beach.

Just by taking a few simple steps, you can keep your home energy consumption as close to rock-bottom as possible whilst you're away.

Steve Buckley, Head of Data Science at Loop, explains: 

“Our research found Brits could be adding a sizeable £46 to their energy bills during a two-week break by leaving on household appliances unnecessarily. And with the cost-of-living soaring, none of us want to pay for energy we don’t mean to use. But by taking a few simple steps, you can keep your home energy consumption in check.”

Take a few minutes to do some energy housekeeping before you leave to avoid any unnecessary spending on your energy bills. Here are some quick and easy pre-holiday energy checks: 

1. Turn your heating off

Heating and hot water are major contributors to most people’s household bills. But if you’re travelling in the warmer summer months then it’s worth considering turning your boiler off entirely.

Whilst you may have already turned your heating off (though our recent research found that 50% of households still had their heating on during April) you should still turn off your water heating. Based on the average annual gas bill for a medium-sized house, leaving this on over a two-week period could add almost £10 to gas bills.

If you have electric underfloor heating, this is another one that's very easy to forget about, particularly if you have separate room-based systems that are not controlled centrally. Whilst these are thermostatically controlled and therefore less likely to come on when the weather is warm, if it goes on for an hour per day for example overnight, then it could cost you almost £12 over a 14-day break.

Of course, it’s different in the cold of winter, when you’ll need the heating on at least some of the time to stop pipes from freezing. If you have a smart thermostat, depending on the model, it will automatically turn down the heating when you’re away to help save energy, while ensuring it's warm enough to prevent your pipes from freezing.

2. Don’t leave anything on that you don't need to

There are some things like fridges and freezers that must stay on. The best advice here is to focus on efficiency and running costs when it’s time to replace them. An older or less efficient model could easily cost twice or three times as much to run as the most efficient models.

You may already be aware that appliances continue to drain energy, even when left on standby. However, the bigger energy stealers are the things that are left on all the time, either intentionally or accidentally. You might leave them on because you don’t realise how much they’re costing to run, or accidentally because you’ve just forgotten about them.   

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Things that fall into these categories that are worth turning off before you go away include set-top boxes and computers, plus easy-to-forget things like underfloor heating, heated towel rails and extra drinks fridges. Collectively, these make up what we call ‘Phantom Load’.  A Phantom Load of 150w currently costs £368 per year, so two weeks of not turning everything off could cost you around £14.

So before you leave home and set off on holiday, walk from room to room turning off everything you won't be using at the plug - television, microwave, any devices left on charge, heated towel rails, smart speakers, the lot.

3. Turn off lights

Don’t forget to turn those lights off before you head out the door, as leaving four 60w lightbulbs on over two weeks amounts to £22 of wasted energy!

If you opt to leave some lights on for security, use an automatic timer to save some cash. Better still, investing in smart lighting means you’ll be able to control your lights remotely using an app on your phone. If you’re going to use automatic lights while away, consider switching to LED lighting which is more energy-efficient and can save you money in the long term. After the initial investment, replacing your light bulbs with an LED version will save £35 per year. You can make the switch to LED for both indoor and outdoor lighting too.

4. Leave a full freezer

You may be surprised to know that to keep your fridge and freezer running as efficiently as possible - and to better retain the cold - it’s best to keep them full, even if that means adding bags of ice to your freezer or a jug of water in your fridge.

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Also, before you go check the rear of your fridge/freezer is free of dust and that there is no build-up of ice in your freezer.  Lastly, check your fridge is set at 5 degrees Celsius or less.

5. Prepare for your return

If you get a smart thermostat, you can control your heating and hot water whilst you're away, turning them back on in time for when you get back home.

6. Download a free energy-saving app

Using a free energy-saving app like Loop can not only help you reduce your energy consumption before you leave, it allows you to monitor your home energy use even whilst you’re away, so you can have peace of mind that your home is running as it should.

Cost of holiday energy wasters

Energy waster table 1

Peace of mind

If you can spare time to quickly put this checklist into action next time you go away, then that will be one less thing to worry about when you’re on holiday. Bon voyage!

• • •

With Loop, you can find out how you use electricity, then make smart decisions about using less. 

Got a smart meter? Great news! Link the Loop app and enjoy full access to all Loop benefits for free, no purchase required. 

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