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Saturday 30 September 2023 Dublin: 17°C
A practical guide to reducing energy use in your home
The Government of Ireland has suggested a range of practical advice that will help you save money on your bills.

ENERGY USAGE IS a hot topic these days.

It’s almost impossible to avoid discussions around the rising cost of electricity over the last 12 months, with homes and businesses across the country affected. External factors beyond our control have significantly impacted our finances, compounded by rising inflation. However, there are options available to ease the burden, especially for those under financial stress, such as renters and parents.

The Reduce Your Use/Stay Warm and Well campaign was launched by the Irish Government to inform the public about the reasons behind the rise in energy prices and provide them with a comprehensive guide for seeking support or advice as needed. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed about your utility bills, there’s a wide range of practical advice that can help ease both the mental burden and your energy costs. 

The practical advice from the government can be applied across all homes as we move into the milder months (for Ireland at least), which should lead to a natural decrease in the use of heating. Carrying out a few of these simple changes to how you use energy may help mitigate the expensive bills and help you save money in the long run. 


You can make some easy wins when it comes to heating your home to help save money on your energy bills. Reducing the temperature on your thermostats by just one degree can help lower your heating bill by 10%, but make sure to explain it to those you live with first. To optimise your heating system’s efficiency, turn it on 30 minutes before you need it and switch it off 30 minutes before you want it to stop since radiators can continue to heat your home even after the heating is turned off.

Shutterstock / BearFotos Shutterstock / BearFotos / BearFotos

Try to have your boiler serviced once a year to make sure it runs efficiently and safely, with studies suggesting that a properly working boiler can reduce your fuel consumption by 10%. Lastly, you can lose 25% of your home’s heating through your roof alone if it is not properly insulated. Visit SEAI’s site to learn more about insulating your home, and other measures you can take to improve your home.

Hot water

If you haven’t embraced the social media craze of taking exclusively cold showers, there’s no better way to relax and start/finish your day than with a warm shower. Installing a cylinder thermostat if the hot water is being heated by the central-heating boiler will help moderate the temperature of the water. Insulating your hot water tank and hot water pipes with foam tubing, especially in unheated areas like the attic can have noticeable results.

motheranddaughtersharelovebetweenetchother Shutterstock / Liderina Shutterstock / Liderina / Liderina

Home appliances

Knowing the energy consumption of your appliances can help you make informed decisions about their use.

As a rule of thumb, if an appliance makes things hot, it likely uses more electricity. Electric showers, kettles, and hair dryers are all high-usage appliances, as is the oven. Elsewhere in the kitchen, it can take 45 minutes for a fridge to cool down to its original temperature if the door is open to long, requiring energy to cool again and adding to your bills.

Upgrading to energy-efficient LED lights is a great way to save money on lighting, compared to using older, inefficient bulbs. Begin by upgrading the areas of your home where you spend the most time, such as the living room or kitchen. Unplug your appliances when they aren’t in use. Some of these can use 20% of their energy, even in standby mode.

Screenshot 2023-04-04 at 16.54.46 How much our energy actually costs us.

Use a lower temperature for your washing machine and dishwasher, as well as not using both until you have a full load. Hang washing out to dry when possible, which should be easier to do as the weather (hopefully) improves. It’s best to limit using the dryer. Consider investing in the highest energy-rated home appliances you can afford when replacing them, as the long-term savings on running costs can make up for the initial cost difference.

Timing usage

Utilise peak times to your advantage. Electricity is generally at highest demand between 7am-9am and 5pm-7pm. At these times, electricity is at peak production and is typically more carbon intensive as a result. To save some money, try to use electricity outside these times. Many new appliances have eco settings as well as delay start timers that can help you save money. You can also ask your house mates or family to put a wash on for you if you don’t have delay timers.

Shutterstock / Rozhnovskaya Tanya Shutterstock / Rozhnovskaya Tanya / Rozhnovskaya Tanya

Additional supports 

If you are finding it difficult to pay your energy bills, you should contact your energy supplier. They are obliged to ensure vulnerable customers are not disconnected at any time and have to give you an affordable repayment plan if you have built up any debt.  You will not be disconnected if you are engaging with your supplier, so talking to them early is really important.

Also contact the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) – they can help you understand your rights as an energy consumer. Visit or call 1800 404 404. MABS, the Money Advice Budgeting Service, is a free, independent, and confidential service, that provides practical support and advice on managing money and debts, including energy bills (visit or call 0818 07 2000 Mon-Fri 9am-8pm). ALONE are also on hand to support anyone in difficulty – their National Support Referral Line is 0818 222 024.

More information on the services and supports available can be found at

Over €410 million in additional social protection supports has been made available by the Government of Ireland to help ease the burden. This includes a €200 cost of living payment to long-term social welfare recipients, including those receiving the Working Family Payment (WFP); a €100 Child Benefit additional lump sum payment per child and a €100 one-off increase in the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance.  Information on these supports and others is available here.

Following some of the above steps to reduce your energy use and reaching out for supports will help you manage your bills and keep you and your family warm and well over the coming months.

For more information, visit