Eco un-friendly habits that rack up your energy bills

With energy prices still sky-high (and the planet burning around us) there’s no time better than now for checking your bad energy use habits, if you haven’t already done so. As well as helping to cut your carbon footprint, tackling bad habits around the home can cut your energy bills by hundreds of pounds a year, experts say.

From leaving the fridge door open when making a cup of tea to charging mobile phones up at night, there are several routines which could be adding unnecessary costs to your yearly bills and wasting energy in the process. Helen Rolph, energy comparison expert at says that although old habits die hard, these practices have got to go.

  1. Charging your phone overnight

Most of us are used to plugging in our mobiles overnight ready to wake up to a full charge in the morning. But charging your phone for hours during the night wastes energy every single day.

If you leave a smartphone plugged in overnight, it uses energy constantly trickling power to the battery every time it falls to 99%. Instead, try charging in the morning or just before falling asleep and then switching the plug off.

  1. Leaving the fridge door open

It’s a habit which we’re all guilty of – leaving open the door as we make a cup of tea, or standing with the door open deciding what to eat. Research has shown for every minute the fridge door is left open, it takes another 10 minutes to fully cool down again.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida says that being careless with opening and closing your fridge door wastes 50 to 120kWh a year. To put that into perspective, 50kWh of energy could run your dishwasher 20 times and 100kWh could run your washing machine 50 times — almost a free load of laundry every week for an entire year!

  1. Running the tap whilst brushing your teeth

Leaving the tap running whilst brushing your teeth wastes over six litres of water every minute! After brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, you’ve wasted more than 24 litres of water if you left the tap running. Rack that up across 365 days and you’re looking at 8,760 litres a year unecessarily going down the drain.

  1. Overfilling the kettle

Most of us don’t think about how much we actually need to fill the kettle up when making a cup of tea or cooking some pasta. This leads to a waste of water as well as wasted electricity when re-boiling and over-boiling.

The Energy Saving Trust says that boiling the kettle according to usage can save you around £43 every year on energy bills.

imag shows four slice toaster with popped  toast, next to mug and spoon, and a kettle with visible fill level line. Toaster and kettle are either duck egg blue or mint green depending on screen resolution, mug is definitely very yellow
  1. Washing your clothes too often

Another easy way to reduce energy bills is to consider how often clothes actually need to be washed. If a garment isn’t stained or soiled, it’s recommended to only wash jeans every five wears, shirts and tops every one-two wears, and jumpers every six wears.

Reducing how often clothes are washed and opting to use the 30 degree setting will mean less washing machine cycles, which can cut energy bills by £34 each year.

  1. Leaving appliances on standby

One of the worst things for a hike in energy bills is leaving appliances on standby when they’re not in use. Many of us don’t think about fully turning off our devices after we finish using them, in fact only 25% of people in QuoteZone’s latest energy survey said they switched off standby devices, but doing so can save you around £65 each year.

This includes switching off the TV and games console at the wall, microwaves, laptops, dishwashers and washing machines. You can find out more about energy-draining ‘vampire devices’ here.

  1. Forgetting to turn off the lights  

It’s one of the most well-known tips to save money on energy bills, but many people are still guilty of leaving the light on after they’ve left a room.

It may not seem like you’ll save a lot of money, but making an effort to remember to turn off lights and lamps around the house can actually save the average household £25 every year.

If you have any other suggestions to add to the list, let me know!

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