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10 Old Fashioned Energy Saving Tips Which Will Save Money - And The Planet

Top Energy Saving Tips

If you want to improve the environment, an excellent way to do it is to save energy. With the current energy crisis and the massive increase in fuel bills that people all around the world are experiencing, energy saving is even more important; it’s not just good for the planet, it will save money too.

There are lots of ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency, by topping up your loft insulation, getting cavity wall insulation or installing solar panels if they are suitable for your home.

But what can you do quickly to save energy? What can you do if you live in a flat or are in rented accommodation that does not allow you to make such major changes to the property? What if you simply don’t have the spare cash at the moment for major household renovations?

There are lots of simple changes that you can make around your home to improve its energy efficiency and save money on those spiralling gas and electricity bills - and many of them have been around for decades. Your older relatives who lived in the days before central heating was common, or who perhaps grew up during World War II, knew a thing or two about keeping warm and saving energy.

10 Old Fashioned Energy Saving Tips Which Will Save Money - And The Planet

So here are 10 tips that your Grandparents knew about keeping warm that are just as useful today as they were all those decades ago. In themselves they are all small changes that you can make, but together they could a big difference to your fuel bills this winter.

Timeless Energy Saving Tips That Your Grandparents Used

  1. Block up Keyholes 
  2. Image Credit: tatlin

    While many of the homes in the UK have UPVC doors which are very good at keeping draughts out, it will still have a keyhole – and if you put your hand near a keyhole on a cold day you may be surprised just how much of a draught it can let in.

    There is a very high probability that your keyhole is just below the door handle and so you can block this draught by hanging something from the door handle that you already have at home, say a scarf or towel. 

    If your keyhole is not near the door handle, you can buy purpose made keyhole draught excluders quite cheaply online or from your local DIY shop.

  3. Use A Draught Excluder
  4. Weighted Animal Air Draft Stopper

    Image Credit:

    Any gap around your external doors will let in a draught – after all if the door fitted too tightly you wouldn’t be able to open it! If you have a gap at the bottom of a door, use a brush or a hinged flap draught excluder.

    If you are feeling particularly retro, you can use a cute draught excluder in the shape of a sausage dog or a snake, just like your grandma did in the 1970s. If you have gaps all around your door then fit foam, brush or wiper strips like those used for windows.

    Or you could even use an idea from a much earlier era; since medieval times heavy curtains have been hung behind doors to prevent cold air getting into the house.

  5. Turn Off The Oven Early
  6. Image Credit: Alex Lam

    When you cook a meal in the oven such as a roast dinner or a casserole, you will know that your oven takes quite a while to cool down afterwards.  You can use this to your advantage by turning off your oven a short while before you are intending to serve dinner.

    Your food will continue to cook and it won’t be cold when you serve it up I promise! You can turn the oven off 10 to 15 minutes or even up to half an hour before you actually eat.

    Obviously this won’t work if you are making a soufflé or a sponge cake, but for savoury dishes with a long cooking time you can save a lot of energy, as your oven is one of the appliances that use up the most electricity.

  7. Close Curtains At Dusk  
  8. Image Credit:

    Your grandparents knew that when the weather is cold, you close the curtains as soon as the sun starts to set. Once you no longer get any light from the windows they knew that shutting the curtains keeps the warmth in the house, as heat is lost through the glass itself, especially if windows are single glazed. 

    You can reduce this energy loss by replacing your windows with more energy efficient double and triple glazed ones, but even these types of window will conduct some heat away from your home. If you have draughty windows, the recommendations for draught-proofing doors apply here as well - fit foam, brush or wiper strips.

  9. Open Curtains When It Is Sunny 
  10. Image Credit: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

    The flip side of this recommendation is that if it is a sunny day, even in the middle of winter, open those curtains wide! The sunshine may not make the outside warm, but it will still warm your house.

    The owners of large country houses have known this for centuries. They would often designate a ‘morning room’, a cosy room that got the sun the morning. This room would be would be light and warm, saving money on coal and candles, and perfect for breakfasting, even if the maid has not yet built the fire.

  11. Wash Clothes Less 
  12. A Washing Machine

    Image Credit: PlanetCare

    You grandma probably didn’t have a washing machine in the home when she was young – they did not become common in the UK until the 1950s and would still be far too expensive for many people until the 1970s.

    So when every item of clothing is washed by hand, you don’t wash them unless it is absolutely necessary. A 1950’s housewife knew that many stains could be removed from clothing and furnishings by spot washing and that lightly worn clothes could be freshened up by airing them. 

    Hanging a garment overnight outside your wardrobe will air it enough to wear it again.  So if clothing is visibly clean and does not smell, consider if it really needs to be washed.  If you can reduce the amount of laundry that you do, you will save time, electricity and water.  It also reduces the wear on your clothes, allowing them to last longer.

  13. Don’t Tumble Dry 
  14. Image Credit:

    The tumble dryer is one of the most energy hungry appliances in the modern home.  Even if your older relatives were lucky enough to have a washing machine, they almost certainly did not have a tumble dryer. Line drying your clothes is the best, free way to dry your clothes. 

    Even on quite a cool day your clothes will dry outside, especially if there is a breeze as well. But if it is raining or freezing, you can dry your clothes indoors on an old-fashioned clothes airer, either a stand up one or a traditional ceiling mounted airer in the kitchen or bathroom.

  15. Only Boil The Water You Need 
  16. Image Credit: laura adai

    When our grandparents made a cup of tea they only added as much water as they needed to the kettle – especially if they were using a whistling kettle on a gas stove, as they took ages to heat up. 

    A modern electric kettle is faster, and if you only add the bare minimum that you need for your cuppa, you will save energy too. Many kettles have a marker to show how much to fill for just one or two cups.  (Note: If you have a kettle with an exposed element you must always completely cover the element.) Another tip is to descale your kettle regularly. It will boil more quickly, and as a bonus your tea will taste better too.

  17. Insulate The Hot Water Tank Pipes
  18. Image Credit:

    We tend to forget about the lonely hot water tank, hidden away in the airing cupboard, but making sure that it is fully insulated is another way our grandparents saved energy. Most tanks are well insulated nowadays but if you put your hand on the tank jacket and it feels warm, it is not insulated enough!

    You can buy a Hot Water Tank Insulation Jacket online or at a DIY store. However many people overlook the pipes leading out of the tank. In the past they might have been wrapped in cloth, but now foam pipe insulation which is split along its length is easy to install for modern energy savers.

  19. Use A Slow Cooker 
  20. Image Credit:

    First popular in the 1950s, the low cooker (or crock pot) became widely used in the UK during the energy crisis of the 1970s.  In those days they were advertised on the idea that they used only the same amount of energy as a light bulb.

    While in the days of energy saving bulbs this is no longer true, they still use substantially less energy than a conventional oven. According to Uswitch they use an average of 1.3Kw per meal. Plus you can make a very nice rice pudding in a slow cooker too…

Are you going to try any of these tips? Even using just one of these tips will save you a few pounds each year, but added together they could save quite a bit, as well as being better for the environment.

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