How to make your home more energy efficient
High fuel bills are pushing more of us to re-evaluate the energy efficiency of our homes. We would all like to lower those bills and be more ‘green’ in our day to day living but we don't always have the time or money for a complete renovation.
Here we take a look at some basic ways of making your home more energy efficient and saving money, without entering into large and expensive DYI projects.
One key to saving energy in the home is understanding how to best use your heating controls. A survey, carried out for the Big Energy Saving Week campaign between the Energy Saving Trust (EST), Department of Energy and Climate Change and Citizens Advice, found that more than half are not using their controls efficiently. We show you how to avoid adding to your energy bills and bust the myths.
1. Control individual room temperatures
By installing a room thermostat you can save around £70 a year. These thermostats prevent your rooms getting warmer than they need to be: they will turn the heating on until the room reaches the temperature you have set, and then off until the temperature drops. A programmable room thermostat combines time and temperature controls and allows you to set different temperatures for different times of the day.
Thermostatic radiator valves are also useful in controlling room temperatures, they do not control the boiler but reduce the flow of water through the radiator when the temperature goes above a certain setting. Set them to the level you want for the room; a lower setting uses less energy and will save you money.2. Fit a jacket on your water tank
Not the glitziest project, however if you own an un-insulated hot water cylinder, you could save money by fitting a tank jacket. You can also insulate exposed pipework around the cylinder and boiler. The materials should cost you around £25; everything can be fitted easily and will save you about £60 a year.
3. Get an energy monitor
One common myth says it is more energy efficient to leave the heating constantly turned on at a low temperature to prevent peaks, however this really depends on where you live and how efficient your boiler is.
Purchase an energy monitor – it is a simple handheld gadget that estimates in real time how much energy you're using, so you can see what is most efficient for your home.
Monitors cost from around £20. Our partner CarbonClix has large a selection of energy monitors available at the Clix Store, all Carbon Footprint Free!
Check for gaps around your doors, windows, floor, chimney or anywhere heat may be escaping. Use draught-proofing products for the doors and windows; you can also seal your skirting boards with silicone sealant.
Depending on the size of your home these materials may cost up to £160 but will save you around £75 a year.
The better insulated your home is, the less money you will need to spend heating it. Check the loft and walls as primary areas for escaping heat.
The average family could save between £50 and £90 a year just by remembering to turn appliances and lights off.
Often we don’t realise quite how much energy our appliances draw when in standby mode. It is best to always switch off your appliances when you are not using them.
The same applies to lights, if you turn a light off for even a few seconds, you'll save more energy than it takes to switch on again. That applies to all light bulb types.
Don't fill your kettle to the top, just boil the amount of water you need. It's estimated three-quarters of British households overfill their kettles, wasting in total £68m a year in energy costs.
Did you know a family of four could save around £75 a year by installing an eco-showerhead.
They can cut your hot water use with no noticeable difference and are being given away free by some water companies.
For the average household, changing all bulbs would cost around £125. The low energy versions would last longer and save around £60 a year.
Look for the Energy Saving Trust recommended logo, which gives an indication of light quality and durability. A selection of energy efficient light bulbs are available at the Clix Store – Carbon footprint free.
Boilers account for around 60% of household spend in a year on energy bills, so having an efficient boiler can make a big difference. Despite the upfront cost a more efficient boiler will soon pay for itself in energy savings.
Replacing an old gas boiler with an A-rated high-efficiency condensing boiler and improving the heating controls will significantly cut your home's CO2 emissions and could save you as much as £300 a year.