A SIMPLE gadget could help slash bills by reducing what's known as “phantom load”.

This is when appliances are sucking up energy when they are not in use – usually when left on standby.

We've all heard about how we can avoid wasting energy – and money – by unplugging these items,

From TVs and lamps, to games consoles and recharging phones, these could all be sending bills through the roof.

Part of the problem is the perceived hassle of having to go around your home switching off all the sockets.

But electrician, Sef Nabi, from Paragon Electrics and Maintenance based in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, has a clever trick to make things much easier.

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He told The Sun: “While I’d always urge people to switch appliances off at the plug, I find that, more than not, that this is not practical, due to the location of the sockets.

"And let’s face it, we want the convenience of items being left on.”

Sef suggests a more sensible solution for our energy-guzzling devices may be a remote control socket kit.

He said: “You can pick up one of these kits, containing one socket and one wireless wall switch, from around £12.99 on Amazon.

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"This is a nifty gadget which will stop you wasting so much energy, and should work with most electrical devices.”

At Argos, you can get them even cheaper, as a pack of three remote controlled plugs costs £30.

So remember to always shop around and compare prices to get the best deal

With one of these kits, you can make sure vampire appliances are turned off without having to struggle to get to a hard-to-reach socket.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, households can save around £65 a year by remembering to turn appliances off standby mode.

Exactly how much you save will dependhow many hard to reach sockets you have, as you'll have to fork out for the devices first.

But you'll continue to make savings year after year.

As we try and navigate our way through the cost-of-living crisis, households across the UK are keen to take all the steps they can to keep a lid on bills.

More gadgets to save on bills

Under the Energy Price Guarantee, average energy bills currently stand at around £2,500.

However, they are set to rise again from April, up to £3,000, when the current cap comes to an end.

While there isn’t much you can do to avoid higher costs, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your usage, meaning you don’t have to fork out quite as much.

Sef says you can equip your home with other gadgets to help cut costs.

“Another good way to guard against wasting money when items are left on, is with a smart plug,” said the energy-saving whizz.

“These can be controlled from phones and smart assistants, and allow you to turn all appliances off standby in one go. They may be better-suited to more tech-savvy people, though they are not too tricky to use.”

You may be able to pick up a smart plug for less than a tenner on Amazon.

“Smart plugs can also double up as a burglar deterrent if you set them to turn lamps on or off remotely, to give the impression someone is in the property,” said Sef.

“In addition, smart plugs offer people the chance to change their habits.

"This might for example, mean creating a routine to minimise waste when using an electric heater in the winter, or a cooling fan in the summer.

"Small changes to habits and tweaks to devices can mean big savings on your annual bills.”

Again remember to shop around for the best price. But also check you are buying a legitimate item as there have been dangerous fakes found on sale.

Another recommendation from Sef is not rushing to replace a broken electrical appliance.

“It can be far more economical to repair an existing model, as opposed to buying a new one,” he said.

“Equally, if  you do need to start again, be sure to check the energy-efficient labels to help you make your choice.”

Under a new labelling system, appliances are now ranked from A to G.

Encouragingly, recent research from Uswitch shows four in five consumers now look at energy-efficiency labels when buying a new appliance, as they try to take control of their bills.

Sef also recommends using appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers “off peak” where you can, to make further savings.

With some tariffs, such as Economy 7, you get charged less for energy used at night.

Sef said: “Many consumers don’t realise that appliances often have a ‘delay start’ function. This means you can let the appliance begin the programme by itself.”

Be aware that leaving electrical appliances on at night can be a fire hazard, so don’t leave them unattended.

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