High energy bills? Rethinking how you use your slow cooker, phone and vacuum could save you £££s

Find out how you can conserve energy heading into winter, saving money and helping the environment in the process

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Autumn is just around the corner – which means cosy nights in, lamps on, heating up and something delicious in the slow cooker for dinner. All this warm domesticity means energy bills that are inevitably higher... but could this unwelcome (and expensive) aspect of autumn be avoided? 

Of course, there are all the obvious ways to save: dealing with draughts, insulating the loft, lagging pipes... but are some of things you do every week driving up your energy bills? Here are just four ways you could save.

Slow cooker? Cook twice as much and freeze ahead

Slow cooking can be a joy on dark and chilly nights, but it does use a lot of energy. However, cooking twice the amount you need and freezing the extra portions for another night = same amount of energy used, more food, less need to cook from scratch every night. Perfecto. 

Ditch the vacuum on hard flooring 

A quick clean with a broom, damp cloth or mop is all most hard floors will ever need, so save the vacuum (and electricity) for carpeted areas. A damp clean is better for your health, too, by the way, because you're not throwing dust up into the air, plus, obviously, you're using more elbow grease. Just make sure not to soak your floors with water if they're wood, and use a non-scratchy material to wipe ceramic floors. 

Unplug your phone when it's charged

We know, we know... obvious, but we all leave our phones plugged in when fully charged (we're certainly guilty). There is not only no need to do it, but it may wear out your battery sooner than necessary. To prevent overcharging your phone, avoid charging it overnight; instead, charge it a bit before bedtime and then again when you wake up.

Consider installing a smart meter

A smart meter could help cut down your energy use in several ways; Nick Sweet, a Smart Energy Expert with British Gas, explains: 'Having smart meters installed can help you keep your energy use in check and help you save up to £32 a year. They come with a smart energy monitor that shows you how much energy is being used in pounds and pence, in near real time, helping to put you in control of your energy use and spend.

'The monitors are a nice way to get your kids engaged and thinking about energy in the home – they’re able to see usage levels going up and down when they’re using different gadgets around the house.

'Smart meters also mean an end to estimated bills and manual meter readings as they automatically send readings to your supplier, so you don’t have to.'