By RACHEL RICKARD STRAUS
As households get set for another winter of eye-watering energy bills, we’re all looking for ways to shrink our costs as best we can.
While there are many conventional methods out there that require more or less effort, we’ve come up with a list of six easy kills that simply involve tweaking your household appliances.
1. Could toothpaste make your iron more energy efficient?
You can make your iron work more efficiently by following these six steps, according to research from British Gas:
Saving money: A few simple steps could save you money on the cost of using an iron
1. When your iron is cool, wipe and polish the plate with a soft cloth.
2. Rub marks with a damp cloth when the iron is warm.
3. Use white toothpaste for more stubborn marks.
4. Rub the toothpaste off with a clean cloth.
5. Set iron on steam.
6. Steam a cloth for five minutes to ensure iron is completely clean.
Once you've done all that, your iron should work more efficiently, which in turns could help drive your electricity bill down.
2. Save money every time you bake
Peering in: If you find yourself opening the door of the oven to check on your baking you could be adding to cooking time - and bumping up electricity costs
Every time you open your oven door it loses ten degrees of heat, which can significantly add to cooking time and pushing up your energy consumption.
So if you find yourself opening it to peer in at your cakes and roast dinner – clean the oven door! Over the course of a year it could add up to a significant saving.
A clean oven works far more efficiently than a dirty one, so you may as well clean the whole thing if it isn’t already. And make sure the seal on the door is tight so no heat is going to waste.
There are times when only a tin tray will do, but could you sometimes use Pyrex or ceramic instead?
3. Swap baking trays for Pyrex
Choosing the right dishes for cooking can also help you save energy and money.
Metal baking trays heat up quickly, but they also lose heat quickly. Pyrex and ceramic, on the other hand, retain their heat well.
Of course there are times when only a metal baking tray will work.
But where it makes no difference, if you switch from metal to Pyrex you may be able to cut down on cooking time or bake on a lower heat.
4. Fill your fridge with bottles of water
Every time you open your fridge it loses heat. It then takes energy to cool it back down again to the target temperature.
But if the fridge is full, it takes longer for the heat to escape. If you don’t have a full fridge, just fill it with bottles of water to bulk it out.
5. Bleed your radiators
This can make a huge difference to the efficiency of your central heating and only takes a few minutes. It takes any trapped air out of the system to make it work much more efficiently.
6. Defrost your freezer
Earlier this year we revealed how the Lewis family from Leeds shaved around 60p a day off their energy bills just be defrosting the freezer.
A frost-coated freezer has to work harder to keep cold, which uses up more electricity.
Removing the frost could save a good £100 on energy bills.