No-one needs reminding it is more important than ever to cut our energy consumption. Not only is it bad for the planet, but also – as bills soar — bad for our wallets.
However, you don’t have to spend thousands to reduce household fuel bills.
There are devices which can make a substantial impact.
Here are some we road-tested.
Hive Active Light, £19.99 per bulb. Requires Hub and app
Did you know that replacing a single halogen bulb with an LED can save 5kg of CO2 emissions? They use a fraction of the power, and, according to Which?, can save the average household £232 a year.
Hive’s bulbs are not the cheapest option, but with a life expectancy of 25,000 hours it means you won’t be chucking them out for a long, long time.
They’re also “smart”, so are dimmable, and “tuneable” (adjustable from cold to warm white) giving you lighting just the way you want it. Better still, they can be set to turn on when you walk into a room, or off when you leave – perfect for kids who wander the house at night, but are afraid of the dark.
What we particularly like about Hive’s bulbs, is the set-up. It’s fool-proof. The app talks you through the process, and only takes a minute or so per bulb. And, if you have an Amazon Echo, Alexa will notice, and immediately link in. It couldn’t be easier.
Intelligent, flexible, and easy to install (while saving cash), Hive’s Active Lights are great first-step in cutting bills.
Dry:Soon 3-Tier Heated Airer, £149.99 (from Lakeland)
Drying clothes isn’t as easy as you might think. Using a tumble drier is expensive, while hanging clothes outside is weather-dependant and, in the summer, introduces allergens into the home. A clothes rack is a good compromise, but it can take ages to dry your washing.
Heated racks, though, are now being seen as viable fourth option, and the Dry:Soon range is one of the most popular. With running costs of 6p per hour, this is substantially cheaper than a tumble drier which averages out a £40 to £100 a year. OK, so a the Dry:Soon isn’t as quick (and your towels won’t be as fluffy), but you can dry up to two washes at once.
For extra efficiency, we’d recommend paying for the cover (£44.99), which traps the heat, and speeds up drying.
Ninja Foodi, £179.99
The cooker is another device which consumes much of your household’s energy. Ninja’s Foodi is a 6-in-1 multi-cooker that can cut costs in several ways: by pressure cooking, slow cooking and even acting as a small oven.
In fact, not only does it save on the pennies, the Foodi can roast a better-tasting bird in just 30 mins, compared to the hour-and-a-half in a convention oven. Pressure-cook the chicken for 20mins, then pop on the separate grill lid, to get that crispy skin. Perfect (and cheap).
The Foodi can also be used to air-fry chips, slow-cook pulled pork, steam veg, sear steaks, sauté and even bake cakes. While it won’t replace your cooker, it could easily be your go-to machine.
If we had to pick a gripe, it is a minor one. It comes with two lids (one for grilling and one for the pressure cooking) so the Foodi doesn’t store away neatly. It’s also quite bulky, and takes up a chunk of counter space.
But that is nothing compared to the positives – superb grub rustled up quickly and cheaply (and healthier, too).
SpeedComfort, from £44.99
SpeedComfort is a set of three fans that clip to the bottom of your radiator, blowing the heat upwards, thus boosting warmth, and potentially cutting bills by up to 22%. We tried it in a room that was always a bit parky, and can vouch that it made a substantial difference. The SpeedComfort works, and works well. If you have a long radiator, it’s easy to daisy-chain several units.
It comes with various clips so it should fit most radiators, but is ideally designed for those with double panels. The fans come with a heat sensor, so it only starts up when your radiator is warm, and doesn’t waste energy.