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British Gas smart meter reviewer feedback thread month 3. Non testers: share your top energy saving tips and you could win £100 JL voucher. NOW CLOSED

(59 Posts)
KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 22-Nov-13 16:21:29

This thread is for the 3 Mumsnetters and 2 Mumsnet Bloggers who are testing the British Gas smart meters in their home.

Non testers: We'd love to know what your top tips are for saving gas and electricity around the home. What precautions do you take? How easy do your children find it to follow these steps to saving energy? How do you keep an eye on the amount of energy you use in your home? Do you manage to stick to a budget?

Everyone who adds a comment to this thread by 20th December will be in with a chance of winning £100 worth of John Lewis vouchers

Testers
Month 3: Budgeting:
For the final challenge we'd like you and your family to use the smart energy monitor to set yourselves a weekly budget for both gas and electricity and try to stick to this by changing the way you use energy around the home. For instructions on how to set a budget on your smart energy monitor please check your IHD user manual or watch this video
- What is your new weekly budget?
- How realistic do you think this is?
- What are you going to do to try to stick to this budget?
- How will you involve your children in trying to save energy? Perhaps ask them to help when you/your partner are making dinner - where could you save energy? Which vegetables could go in one pan instead of two? You can find some smart tips here
- How easy/difficult have you found sticking to the budget? Was it easier or harder than expected?
- Overall, do you feel that your relationship with gas and electricity has changed? Did you and your family change your habits for good?

Thanks and good luck,

MNHQ

sharond101 Fri 22-Nov-13 22:29:29

Non testers: We'd love to know what your top tips are for saving gas and electricity around the home. What precautions do you take? How easy do your children find it to follow these steps to saving energy? How do you keep an eye on the amount of energy you use in your home? Do you manage to stick to a budget?

We switched supplier to get a better deal and fixed our charges when the prices were more favourable and used quidco for cashback. We enter our meter readings online which gives us cashback. We try to contain the power we use doing the basic turning off of appliances lights etc but it is difficult in the winter with tumble dryers and the likes. My OH works in the energy industry so he nags alot which probably helps. DS is too young to understand just now but Daddy will teach him well.

Bubbles85 Sat 23-Nov-13 15:03:52

We turn off things when we are not using them and Bly use lights in the rooms we are using at the time. We also only run the dishwasher and washing machine when they are full so we have to put it on less often. I also try and turn off the kettle as soon as it starts to boil as ours tends to boil for a long time if we leave it to its own devices.

farrowandbawl Sat 23-Nov-13 15:12:31

We turn off all the lights if not in the room and all the socket, out of habit more than anything.

Making sure we all have thermals on or good base layers is a great heating saver. If we do get cold, there's plenty of housework that can be done to warm up. DD will hoover the stairs and ds will clean the bathroom.

Hot water bottles in the bed before they get in keeps the kids warm and we only have the heating on, first thing when they get out of bed and last thing so the house is warm when they are out of the shower.

If the heating is on but we're not using the room I dry clothes over the rads or ds will put his uniform ready for him the next morning. The hallway radiator doesn't have a termostat setting so that one is used to warm up gloves, scarves and coats just before they leave the house.

nobalance Sat 23-Nov-13 16:39:47

Try to turn things off if we aren't using them. Only have heating set to come on morning and night, turn on for hour if we really need to during day. That way we don't heat the house when we are all out.

poopoopoo Sun 24-Nov-13 07:53:57

- What is your new weekly budget?
£20 gas, £10 electric

- How realistic do you think this is?
Fairly…..

- What are you going to do to try to stick to this budget?
We are being careful not to waste energy, keeping the heating off at night, turning off lights when they are not needed, we try to cook things together and have turned the heating down a bit. We have had new windows put in, so I hope that will help a bit too! It is difficult to reduce the amount of energy you are using without impacting on quality of life. Budgeting is pretty impossible really; we use what we need. The rich can look after their health and not worry about a budget and the average family have to make cut backs on heating so they have enough money to feed their family each month. I would like to know the energy consumption of Windsor Castle!

- How will you involve your children in trying to save energy? Perhaps ask them to help when you/your partner are making dinner - where could you save energy?
I do not want my children to worry too much about this. There are enough other things to worry about. I will turn off the lights and explain it is wasting energy to leave it on when you are not in the room, so they can learn to be responsible. I want them to know about renewable energy and the choices we can make when considering suppliers. ( I personally do not like nuclear power)

- How easy/difficult have you found sticking to the budget? Was it easier or harder than expected?
As a family it is hard to stick to a budget when you are freezing cold and want to put the heating on after it has turned off. We have managed to stick to the budget, but I think it is going to be harder once it gets really cold.

-Overall, do you feel that your relationship with gas and electricity has changed? Did you and your family change your habits for good?

Our habits will be more responsible, but there are limits as to what you can do without impacting on quality of life. It all depends on what you call responsible and how you define 'wasted energy'. I guess it would be better if they could put the prices up when the electric or gas is being used for a non-essential purpose, but who could make that decision? It should be kept low for heating, cooking and lighting. Is this possible? The new set up with the smart meter implies they are able to tell when you are using different appliances? However, I think for a lonely old person the TV can be their only company and a computer these days is vital for young people to gain employability skills and knowledge to keep up with the world. So I am worried that we are creating class divide by budgeting energy… SO I guess the relationship has changed for the good of the planet, but not so for our well-being, mental and physical! If I had the money I would have solar panels. I wonder how warm the chief executives of British Gas will be this winter? what bonuses are they getting since putting up the price of energy?

Cherryjellybean Mon 25-Nov-13 12:16:06

Non tester here

We have just put up curtains in front of the front and back door, it has made such a massive difference heat wise. We try turn everything off when we are not using it. My dd I'd to young to understand energy usage.
We use an energy tracking facility online through our supplier to see how much we are using compared to the year before, then try keep it as close as possible to that. We pay monthly so we try to stick to our budget as much as possible.

ShatnersBassoon Mon 25-Nov-13 17:04:37

If I'm putting the oven on for dinner, I try to cook as much of the meal as I can in it. So beans go in a pyrex dish and into the oven instead of on the hob. It might just be a tiny saving, but it's no more work or washing up and I suppose if I do it often enough the saving will be worthwhile.

whattoWHO Mon 25-Nov-13 18:13:33

Non tester.
Foil behind radiators to reflect heat away from the wall and back into the room.
Set timer on heating to bare minimum.
Switch off appliances when not in use, never use 'standby'.
Cuddle lots to share body warmth.
Batch cook.
DD knows to switch off lights, but is a bit unaware why its important (she's 5).
We don't monitor our usage, other than by checking our bills.

mercibucket Mon 25-Nov-13 18:27:52

non tester

erm we are very rubbish at this so my tips are not very good

we train the kids to close doors and turn off lights

everything in the house is a rated for electricity

jumpers and blankets at night

good loft insulation

new boiler

good upvc doors

so my tips are very expensive!

AnnaConda Mon 25-Nov-13 20:15:26

Recently we've put in another layer of loft insulation and Radflek radiator reflection panels.

We layer up clothes with thermals and woollens and snuggle under blankets in the evenings.

I am up and down clicking the thermostat all day trying to have it at the lowest temp we can comfortably bear and turning it down when possible.

Hot water bottles at night. Electric blankets are quite cheap to run apparently but we don't bother. We've got Scandinavian duvets from TKMaxx which are almost too warm! Along with mattress toppers which give a layer of insulation under your body too. Bed socks!

We try to buy energy saving white goods like our fridge. Only fill the kettle with the amount of water we actual need. Very rarely use the big oven, just the little one.

Draught excluder at the front door makes a big diffenence so there isn't cool air coming in affecting the thermostat which is in the hallway.

DoItTooJulia England Mon 25-Nov-13 20:22:11

Non tester tip....

Lights off. I hate lights left on! Wasteful!

My tips are a little different...

I think that people need to get political and make energy a consideration for their vote, so:

Sign petitions against energy price increases
Write to their MPs to complain
Write to their energy provider to complain about unreasonable price hikes
Boycott the big 6 providers
Write to local media
Only vote for a party that really is committed to stopping energy companies from profiteering about our basic human need for heat and power.

Otherwise, support renewable energy and minimise waste.

We've become so accepting of energy company rises that we're not going to make real change without doing at least some of the above. It's got change

Fairylea Mon 25-Nov-13 20:43:48

Due to a leaky roof we had to turn off all the lights upstairs.... our roof is now fixed but we havent turned the lights back on as to be honest we only go up there to sleep anyway. We saved £200 on our elecitity bill this year doing this.

CheeryCherry Mon 25-Nov-13 22:01:07

Non tester... wear lots of layers and encourage the dcs to wear onesies.
Put the heating on for just a couple of hours on a morning and then again for a short time at night.
Hot water bottles for bed time.
Thick floor length curtains at all outside doors.
Use a wood burning fire!
Encourage all family members to keep doors shut and turn off lights. Shut curtains and blinds as it gets dark.

CrewElla Mon 25-Nov-13 22:37:12

I'm a bit obsessive about turning off outlets when they're not in use as well as lights and radiators when no one is in the room.

We probably should switch providers but I need to do my research first and never find the time.

GetInterdimensionallyKnitted Mon 25-Nov-13 23:08:13

Non-tester, we keep the energy saving quite simple, turn of the lights if your not using it (which includes in the morning if it becomes light enough) and keep the door to the kitchen closed (because unless we're cooking that room is a heat sink!)

DS (5) is very good at doing these, DS(2) will do this on instruction smile

bumbumsmummy Switzerland Tue 26-Nov-13 05:06:41

Leave nothing on stand by

Always switch computers etc off

Buy only A+ and above rated products

Batch cook

Put everything on charge before you go to bed and then unplug all the chargers in the morning no more charging until bedtime

Run the dishwasher,washing machine and tumbler during the night

bumbumsmummy Switzerland Tue 26-Nov-13 05:07:29

Forgot to add put a jumper and socks on

mercibucket Tue 26-Nov-13 08:31:48

like the political tips!

its a fire hazard to leave chargers on overnight btw

lorka Tue 26-Nov-13 10:19:56

Non-tester - lights are always left on when no-one in room and the TV when not being watched. I'm always going around turning them off. I do try to educate my children (and hubby) but it works for a little while then they are just as bad as before!!
We also have turned our heating down by 1 or 2 degrees and are making sure there are no drafts from under doors windows etc.
We keep an eye on our bills to make sure usage has not gone up dramatically.
We recently changed supplier too to cut down our bills.

CheeseTMouse Tue 26-Nov-13 18:12:17

We have had our internal doors replaced with pnes with glass panels so our home is lighter (and warmer) with shut doors. We are also putting more insulation in the loft and getting some of our windows refurbished. Pricey but an investment.

More cheaply we have got brush seals round the external doors and insulated the back door with an old curtain.

Budgeting has been challenging.. we have only just switched supplier but I am now at home in the day with a baby so we are using more gas to keep the house warm. We will see how that goes.

MadMonkeys Wed 27-Nov-13 09:18:46

Non tester:

turn lights off when not needed, draw curtains as soon as it gets gloomy outside, close door to utility room (its cold in there), has cavity wall insulation, made thermally lined curtains, never leave things on standby, put washing machine on at night, use energy efficient light bulbs, turn the heating down a degree, buy energy efficient appliances when old ones need replacing.

spicers1976 Thu 28-Nov-13 10:44:05

Tester

- What is your new weekly budget?

£9 Electric £15 Gas

- How realistic do you think this is?

I think we should be able to achieve this

- What are you going to do to try to stick to this budget?

We are making sure the oven is used for all the heat and not brought to temperature, let cool, then turned on again for something else. We are batch cooking, turning lights off, all having showers within the same heating time period to avoid putting the water on again for someone else to have a shower. The washing machine is going on later in the evening.

-* How will you involve your children in trying to save energy?*

I am encouraging them to turn lights off when they leave rooms and there is no-one in the room.

- How easy/difficult have you found sticking to the budget? Was it easier or harder than expected?

The budget has been OK to stick to, especially with the meter and being able to guage daily use.

- Overall, do you feel that your relationship with gas and electricity has changed? Did you and your family change your habits for good?

Since having the smart meter we have definitely decreased our bills and looked at how we are using energy. It's been an eye opener to see what we may have wasted before the meter was installed.
We have definitely changed our habits, but also we can improve more.

gazzalw Thu 28-Nov-13 19:54:03

Never just cook one thing in the oven - use it as our parents and grandparents did - to cook several things at once or in an hour/two-hour time frame......better use of energy!

Wear your coat in the house if you're cold (to save on heating) or use a hot water bottle/hot drink combo or have a cat on your lap as a hot water bottle!

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