UK energy costs

Hello, you must have read about the European energy crisis especially in the UK. As far as sits are concerned, it is worrying to imagine that we are immensely frugal throughout the year to control energy costs, only to have a sitter take 30 minute showers, have the heating set so they can always wear shorts and Ts and dry all clothes for an hour in the drier. Is a ‘please be v careful with energy’ conversation ’ appropriate sitter/host etiquette?

Soaring prices are definitely not mainly in the UK. It’s all over Europe.

Here in Germany our monthly bill for gas and electricity will go from 200€ to 1300€ if we don’t cut down on the usage.

We are going to be extra careful to choose responsible sitters, preferably older couples.

Nobody has to be cold while staying at our house, but I think it’s definitely something to talk about beforehand.
It’s the little things that save a lot of energy and when people are aware that these don’t mean freezing or taking cold showers, responsible adults should be able to adapt.

I will definitely put some of them in my welcome guide.
For example, our water is heated with electricity and you don’t need warm water for everything. Most of the time cold water is absolutely fine. Before the prices went up we never gave this a second thought, but once you realize how much you save by being aware of it, you wonder how much money went down the drain in earlier years.

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Hello @markc I would suggest you phrase it in a way that shows your way of cost awareness - with specifics - and ask that the sitters be respectful and do the same. Provided specifics, rather than a generalized statement.

I’m an advocate for video calls with prospective sitters. At that point, as an owner I would address the point again. I would ask them what they consider a comfortable temperature for the particular season of the sit. From my reading, for example, it appears as though the recommended inside temperatures of homes in North America is a little higher in cooler seasons than in Europe. I realize that’s a generalization, but it’s based on averages. Most hosts also want their sitters to be comfortable, so if their choice is a higher temperature than yours, then you need to address whether you expect a contribution, or accept the increased cost for care of your home and pets. If you do consider asking for a contribution, that needs to be in your listing. Of course that may make some sitters pass on your listing.

I am frugal with heating and cooling costs. I ask hosts whether there is a difference in energy costs based on time of use or day of use. There have also been discussions in posts on the tiered cost of electricity in Mexico, and there it can be an important discussion. Bottom line may be that if it’s important to you, it’s important to discuss.

In my home I tend to enjoy the comfort of a blanket/afghan on the couch. Someone else has mentioned appreciating a hot water bottle. Perhaps consider similar things to make your home as comfortable as possible during colder weather.

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As a sitter, I think it is perfectly acceptable to ask your sitters to be considerate of utility usage. Although honestly, I imagine most are anyway. I would be amazed if any home host was more frugal with utilities than we are and are often shocked as to how wasteful many home hosts are.

If you lie awake at night worrying that your sitters are taking 30-minute showers, having the heating set so they can always wear shorts and Ts and drying all their clothes for an hour in the drier I would be worrying more about the lack of trust you have in your trusted housesitter.

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It’s definitely worth including in your pre-sit conversation, if only so both sides are clear on the expectations.

But against that I would balance the cost of a paid sitter. A fortnight’s paid sitter(s) cost me approx. £550 in May. I doubt someone having slightly longer showers than I would or having the heating on more than I would is going to cost me that much. Although the way prices are going… :smiley:

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I completely agree with you.
Nevertheless, home owners know best where in the house there is potential for saving energy and showing/telling sitters exactly how might be a good idea. It’s not only the heating or the length of showers, which add up. It begins with little things like turning the hair dryer to warm instead of hot, running the dishwasher as well as the washing machine on low heat, use the kettle on an induction stove rather than the electric one…it’s cheaper.
All of these examples don’t make a sitter uncomfortable or cold, but one has to think about them to begin with :wink:

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Thanks everyone.
I took your advice and addressed the issue directly with our sitter and now all is cool.
Maturity and moderation rule.

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Sure, that’s definitely reasonable. But it might be good to specify what you find reasonable. It might also help to point out some things to be especially careful of. Not everyone knows what devices and washing programs spend a lot of energy. Then the sitter can decide if it’s a match or not.

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If in doubt here is my solution on long sits.
I hate to be too warm or too cold so I ask what the home owner usually pays for the months I’m staying. If the bill is over his estimate I will pay the difference. I’ve never had the nerve to ask for the money I saved them though! Doing this ensures I’m comfortable during my stay.
Having lived off grid for five years I’m an expert in energy and water saving - 30 second showers, layering clothes, drying clothes outside, dish washing techniques.

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We once got a contract from a HO that specified exactly this. But the sit was only 3-4 days and the HO ended up cancelling on us. Otherwise it was never a topic, but most of our hosts are more careless with energy than us. Usually I have to switch off all the heatings when I come (they are often on even in summer).

My pet hate is running the dishwasher half empty. Why?
Just because it’s bedtime doesn’t mean the dishwasher must go on.

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OK, now I’m intrigued. Using a hair dryer on hot vs. warm saves energy? I would think it would draw the same amount, since it is ON vs OFF? I"m going to have to get one of those meters, just to test that theory. :slight_smile:

It is one of my questions now to ho .after staying in 40 deg heat and not being allowed to use air con. Love the heat outside but like to be able to sleep. If I sit in winter in Scotland I expect a warm house as well.i certainly wouldn’t abuse that .

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Hello,
It is a factual matter that must be addressed in the house description, not in the welcome guide.

I personally dislike heat and prefer the cold, so 19 degrees in the house is ideal for me; we usually ask the HO if the heater can be turned down (we had houses with 25 degrees in May).

You should be clear about what can be used and what alternatives are available. For example, instead of using a dryer, use clothes airers; there is no need to turn on a heater when it is perfectly fine to wear appropriate clothing or set the heat to a temperature that is comfortable for you (from a cost perspective).

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As a sitter, I am conscious of energy costs and the need to conserve. On my current 2 months of UK sits I’ve not needed heat and none of the homes have AC. It would be nice if HOs had ice cube trays in their freezers :laughing: :laughing: Current sit is for Canadians and they do have ice cube trays!
I have used fans when needed. But I’ve also hung my clothes out to dry!

@ElsieDownie YES! Or my pet hate is wasting water. The very detailed rinsing of everything before going into the dishwasher drives me crazy.

Hi Elsie,
I am fascinated to know more about what you mean by dish washing techniques. I like the convenience of my dishwasher but every time I run it I feel as if I am dancing by the light of a burning 20 Euro note!

Living on a boat, drinking water is very limited but you are surrounded by salt water. Our kitchen sink had two taps. One was the usual mixer, hot and cold drinking water. The other had a foot pump which pumped in salt water. I washed the dishes, clothes, anything in salt water then rinsed them, very sparingly in fresh water. Worked a treat.
Washing clothes while on a passage entails putting them in a net an£ dragging them behind the boat for a couple of hours then rinsing them in fresh water. Hanging them up on the cockpit railings to dry. Works a treat.

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I love this @ElsieDownie. Great to hear of such inventiveness.

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It’s a common occurrence with live aboards and long distance sailors. Living off grid for five years gets you in the habit of saving energy and being green.
I’m looking out my cuddle suit for this winter. It’s basically an all in one made out of old fashioned quilt material. Helicopter pilots wear them under their flying suit in the North Sea. Lovely and cozy but can’t move much!

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