Appliances and lighting combined account for one fifth of all the energy used in your home but there are ways to reduce the energy consumed and save money.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland says savings can be made by not leaving appliances on standby mode and being mindful about how and when to use them.

"A good rule of thumb is if it makes things hot, then it uses a lot of electricity. For example, electric showers, kettles, tumble dryer and hairdryers," says Susan Andrews from the SEAI.

Susan Andrews says if it makes things hot, it uses a lot of electricity

Tips on how to reduce energy and save money

Fridge/freezer

Close the fridge door as quickly as possible. If it's open for even 20 seconds it takes 45 minutes for the fridge to cool down to its original temperature.

Defrost your freezer regularly. The SEAI recommends to do it every six months to help it run efficiently.

Dishwasher

Only turn on the dishwasher when it is fully loaded.

Use a low temperature setting and an eco-setting, if it has one.

Washing machine

Use a lower temperature of 30 degrees and wait until you have a full load before turning it on, but don't overload it.

Tumble dryer

Avoid using a tumble dryer if possible. Instead use a clothes horse or, if the weather allows, hang washing outdoors. If the dryer has to be used, turn it on during off-peak hours and keep the filters clean.

Boiler

Get it serviced once a year to run more efficiently. The SEAI suggests asking your plumber to explain the settings and how to use them correctly.

Oven

The oven is one of the most expensive appliances in the home to run. Close the door quickly after opening while cooking or it will have to reheat itself which will require more energy. Batch cooking saves time and energy. It is better to use a microwave for smaller meals instead of your oven.

Kettle

Only boil the kettle for the amount of water you need. There are measurements on it to help you.

IPhones

Don't charge your phone at night time when you're in bed. The device might only need one hour to fully charge, not the seven or eight hours while you sleep.

Standby mode

Plug out appliances when not in use. Even in standby mode they are using 20% of the energy they would consume if they were on. So, if there's any kind of light on, it means there’s electricity going through the device.

Electric Ireland says devices on "standby" typically make up about 7% of a home’s energy usage. It says laptops should only be plugged in when being charged and should be unplugged when not in use.

Lighting

Turn off lights when you are leaving a room or when you do not need them.

Use low energy LED lights, especially in rooms you use a lot, like the living room and kitchen.

Heating

Turn the thermostat for your living areas down to 20°C.

The temperature in hallways and bedrooms should be cooler, ideally between 15-18°C.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland says a heating bill could be reduced by 10% by lowering room temperature by just one degree.

Turn the radiator temperature down or off in rooms that aren't used a lot.

Close doors between rooms that are heated and unheated to keep the heat in.

Have a shower instead of a bath as a shower typically uses 20% of the energy compared to a full bath.

Use timers to control when heating and the immersion comes on.

For more information see the SEAI website

Meanwhile, according to bonkers.ie, to reduce water heating costs by up to 30% you need to make sure your tank is properly insulated with a three-inch thick lagging jacket.

Conserving hot water is also a good practice, so make sure you don't leave the hot tap running too long "as you're literally pouring money down the drain".

An LED lightbulb uses around 80-90% less electricity than a standard bulb and will last up to 10 times longer. Replacing all the lightbulbs in your home could easily save you up to €60 a year depending on how many lights you have.


Home energy monitors

If you want to see how much energy an appliance is using, an energy monitor can be used.

Home Energy Saving Kits are available in more than 120 libraries across Ireland which allow homeowners to monitor their energy usage and insulation levels.

The kits can be borrowed for two to three weeks to carry out a home energy audit.