Improving the performance of a house doesn’t have to cost thousands. You don’t have to fork out for double glazing, or fill the walls with metres of insulation to keep your home botheconomic and warm at the same time. (Although the double glazing and insulation will help).
Here are 5 top tips for keeping the heat in but cutting out the cost.
1.Check your boiler. The government recommends that we upgrade our boilers every 10 years. By replacing an old boiler you could save the environment up to1,220 kg of carbon dioxide a year. If that doesn’t sound fantastic enough this could also save the family approximately £300 a year(www.energychoices.co.uk).
It’s also important to ensure you have the most suitable boiler for the size of your family. Getting the right boiler will make sure you’re not heating water unnecessarily. So to break it down, there are two different types of boilers- a combi, and a regular boiler. A regular boiler will heat the water so it keeps to a constant temperature. This is best for a larger family, where hot water is required for more than one activity at the same time. As the water is already at heated to the required temperature no energy is wasted for this. However for the smaller families, a combi-boiler is perhaps more efficient. These boilers will heat the water only when necessary.
In addition to your boiler take a look at you water-tank and make sure it has a jacket. All new homes should have these already, but if your property is older this is often a keyplayer in home heating loss.
2.If your heating has been on for a while, but you’re still feeling a chill, the chances are there’s a draught coming through an area which isn’t fully enclosed. Energy officials have calculated that by reducing draughts in your home you could cut £150 off an annual energy bill.
So what should we be covering you say? Everything- down to the electrical sockets and that few millimetre gaps between your flooring and doors (particularly if you’ve replaced the carpet for floor boards). Door brushes are extremely effective (and cheap). A key offender is the loft insulation. It’s difficult to keep up to date with this stuff, as regulations change so regularly. However, even an inch of insulation missing from your roof will dramatically affect heat loss.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that windows are the main attributors towards heat loss in a home. Particularly if they are fitted incorrectly (e.g. not closing properly). Everyone has a preference towards curtains ad blinds. But a combination of both is the most effect way to ensure a lock on your heating. Avoid using slated blinds as they do nothing towards trapping air. By using lined roman blinds and full length curtains you create an artificial vapour barrier, which will keep cool area out and warm area in (or the opposite in the summer). For optimum effect, close blinds during the day in the summer to keep the sun heat out, and in the winter keep them open during the day but close then at night fall. The use curtains will also make your home feel cosier. A lot of newer homes have radiators installed underneath a window (this will be changing for energy saving laws), so by hanging shorter curtains that can be tucked onto the window sill this will stop the heat generated by the radiator escaping straight through the window. For some additional heat protection, install pelmets around the top hem of your curtains. As well of keeping your curtains looking tidy, this box of fabric will also catch the cool air before it falls back into the room- helping to keep the temperature constant.
Many people like to keep a window open during the night to help them sleep. But did you know that cold air at night can increase the blood pressure? So even if you think a draught during the night can help you sleep, it’s not dong your body much good, let alone your energy bill.
3. This may sound like an expensive energy saving tip, but in the long run it helps enormously. Keep all your electric gadgets up to date. You don’t have to go out and buy a 3D TV to save your energy, but all modern products have energy reports explaining their productivity over time. That’s the labels with A, B, C etc.
4. The Energy Saving Trust have evaluated that by turning your thermostat down by just one degree, you could save an extra 6% on your annual energy bills. Right now that’s quite a bit of money.
One (perhaps old-fashioned) tip is to think about putting on another layer before turning the heating on. Hot water bottles at night and investing in a double-layered duvet are two things worth thinking about.
5. As Tesco wisely put it, every little helps. Be thoughtful. So switching everything off when you’re not working it is vital and put anything that can be, set on a timer, once it’s not being used. Think before putting anything electronic on ‘sleep-mode’. If it’s worth shutting it down to sleep, it’s probably more worth it to shut down in full. This will also extend the life of the product, as it’s not overheating regularly.
Don’t buy the cheap energy efficient blubs; they don’t last as long as normal bulbs. Save the energy to produce them by forking out a bit more in the first place. On average this saves £37 year.
So improving your insulation, covering the draughts and the solutions to cutting back on electricity bills doesn’t have to cost the earth. It can be relatively simple.
If you’d like to energy check your home, seehttp://hec.est.org.uk/ for more details from Energy Saving Trust.