Saving Energy At Home – The Top Ten Ways To Do It

1. Insulate, insulate, isolate – your loft, your walls and your windows

Just as most of your heat is lost through your head on a cold day, a quarter of the heat in your house is lost through your roof. If you have not already insulated your loft space this is a great place to start and this will give you the biggest savings. How thick depends on the type of insulation that you use, look for a high K value which indicates a better insulator.

You also consider the amount of heat that might be lost through your walls. Modern walls in houses built since the 1990s will likely have insulation already in then, built before then you are likely to have cavity walls or even solid walls. Cavity walls can easily be filled with an insulating material which is pumped into you walls through small holes made in the mortar between brickworks. There are grants available for the work, so it often works out to be inexpensive. Solid walls are trickier to work with, but there are insulation options for use both internally and externally, although these are often work out more expensive.

Your windows are other heat leakers. If you have not gotten double glazed windows, then this should be a first consideration, even if you live in a house with preservations orders or graded listings you can usually still fit internal glazing which will not affect the external appearance.

If you have double glazing, check for faulty seals or condensation forming inside the panels, as this may indicate a leak. Most of the time these leaks can be solved with reliably inexpensive resealing, so it's worth having a check.

Replace your bulbs

There are a whole range of energy saving bulbs and light fitting that work with great efficiency. A standard 50 watt bulb can easily be replaced with a 4 watt LED, reducing your energy output by 90% and in most cases making very little, if any, visible difference to the light emitted. The longevity of these bulbs in comparison to the old filament style is vast, some brands reflecting 25 year guarantees, so it's an investment that will last. Do not be put off by the slightly higher price of the bulbs; with the energy saving and the life of the bulb, you'll be paid back for your investment in no time.

3. Is it time for a new boiler?

If your heating system relies on an oil boiler, or worse still an electric heating system, then you could save thousands of pounds a year with a biomass boiler . Cheaper running costs than a gas boiler and with a more reliable and stable fuel source, a biomass boiler running on pellets or wood chips could be the answer.

Most systems are easily installed, you just need space for a couple of water cylinders and safe and dry place to store the pellets. They are easy to maintain and run and are sustainable, with local suppliers in most places across the UK.

4. Turn the heating down

Sometimes the simple ones are the best. Turning your heating down by just 1 degree could save you £ 55 a year on your heating bills (Energy Savings Trust). Could you please with a jumper on and a blanket on the bed at night? Maybe if itave you a bit more cash in the hand.

5. Put less water in the kettle

Kettles are energy hungry – in fact anything that uses electricity to heat will get your electricity meter ticking. We're not suggesting that you stop lighting your clothes, but getting an energy saving (one cup kettle) and only boiling enough for your needs will save you pennies every time you boil, and everything adds up.

6. Power shower quicker

It used to be said that you could save energy by having a shower rather than a bath, but with modern power showers that is starting to change. If you're spending longer than 7 minutes in the shower then you are using up more than an 80 liters bath full of water. And that water needs to be heated, even with a combi boiler heating the water as you use it, you still require the same amount of energy to heat that body of water. Try to keep showers under 4 minutes – any more is really a waste.

7. Thermostat your radiators

If we're honest, we do not use every room in our house every day. Do you need to heat the spare bedroom or the study if there's no-one in it? Make sure you have thermostatic radiator valves (TRV) installed on all radiators, turn the off for rooms that are empty and turn them down in the bedrooms to create a comfortable temperature while you sleep. And if you have a conservatory, consider turning the radiators off completely whenever the room is not in use. The dramatically reduced temperature in the conservatory can lower the temperature of the central heating system and make your boiler work much harder.

8. Get a timer thermostat

Get one fitted to a central wall in the house and set it to a comfortable temperature, set it lower when you sleep and then back up again in the morning so that you can get up to a toasty house. Make sure you set it to switch off when you are out of the house, although if you are away for periods of time while it is cold then it's best to time your boiler to come on for a few hours a day just to prevent freezing pipes .

Make sure that you have a boiler thermostat fitted, and set it lower if you have small children to prevent scaling from hot water taps.

9. Get an energy assessment carried out

Everyone gets an Energy Performance Certificate or EPC when they move house, but most do not think to have a full check of their house, an energy assessment, and where they can make savings. If you have a large house, or are thinking about investing renewable energy then this really is a must. You need to have a full idea of ​​the energy usage in your house, where you can make savings and where you can make improvements for energy efficiency and heat loss. Surveys cost from £ xxx and you should make sure that they are always carried out by a xxxx surveyor.

10. Use free renewable energy to power your home

Not an energy saving mechanism as you are still using the same amount of energy, only that it is free. Installing solar panels is a great way to save money on your bills, and also make a bit while you are at it. Installing solar panels to your property costs from as little as £ 5000 and enables you to generate electricity from the sun all year round. Under the Governments Feed in Tariff you get paid for the electricity that you generate, even if you use it, then you also get paid an extra amount for any excess electricity that you export to the grid.

So just to recap: you get paid for generating the electricity, then you get to use it, then you get paid an extra little bit for selling the excess to the grid.

Not surprisingly the panels usually pay for themselves within 8 years, leaving 17 years of further savings and incentive payments. As well as slashing your electricity bills. Using heating appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and irons during the day make the best use of the free electricity and stop you from needing to draw energy through from your supplier.

Source by Andy Larkum

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