While energy bills are generally lower in the summer months, there are ways to make sure costs stay as low as possible when children stay home for the school holidays.

Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service, is offering households tips on how to keep energy bills down.

Ben Gallizzi, energy expert at Uswitch.com, comments: “Keeping kids entertained during the long summer holidays is hard enough, and this year parents face the extra challenge of keeping energy costs down at the same time.

“With children spending more time around the house it’s easy for the energy bills to creep up as the laundry piles up and the television seems to stay on for 24 hours a day, but there are steps you can take to keep bills down.

“With extra snacks and changes of clothes, make sure appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine are full before running a load, and use the eco mode wherever possible.

“You can’t always tell if changing your habits is making a difference until you see your bill – unless you track your usage. The Utrack by Uswitch app connects to a smart meter and can show you the impact on bills with hourly graphs, comparing gas and electricity use by day, week, month and year.”

Top tips for keeping school holiday energy bills down

Doing the dishes: With children at home for an extra meal a day – not to mention raiding the fridge for snacks – you may find the dirty dishes start to pile up. Using a dishwasher is more energy efficient than doing it by hand, but make sure the machine is full before you put a wash on. An extra two dishwasher loads a week could cost about 48p, so always use the eco mode where possible[1].

Don’t let laundry pile up: Instead of wearing school uniforms all week, children will likely be changing outfits every day – or more, if they’re prone to getting mucky in the garden. One additional load of washing a week will cost 21p in energy, so aim for a full load before running a wash[2]. Using the eco settings on the washing machine and choosing a lower temperature will also help to save energy.

Watch out for the box: The television will be working overtime in many households as kids entertain themselves. An extra 18 hours of TV a week can cost 54p in electricity, so make sure to turn off if no one is watching[3]. Using a games console for ten hours a week will cost 60p, so keep an eye on long gaming sessions!

Flick that switch: Kids are notorious for leaving lights and televisions on in empty rooms and keeping gadgets plugged in when they’re fully charged. Encourage them to get into good habits with turning off lights and unused devices, and unplug mobile phones when they’re charged.

Keep showers short: Although some families might struggle to get their soap-dodging kids to shower during the holidays, teenagers may be more likely to take their time pampering themselves between socialising and sports. A typical 7.5kW electric shower costs almost 38p to use just for ten minutes, so encouraging the kids to reduce the time spent under the water to four minutes will save 15p each time[4].

Swap the oven for the air fryer: Cooking an extra five hot meals in the oven each week could add 95p to energy costs. If a simple sandwich doesn’t satisfy hungry tummies, try a recipe using an air fryer, which will typically use half as much electricity as an oven[5].

To help households understand and adapt their energy use, Uswitch.com recommends customers use its free mobile app Utrack, which lets users see how much power appliances are using in real time.

To find out how much energy you’re using, download the Utrack by Uswitch app here and connect to your smart meter.