With costs constantly creeping up it’s safe to say we’d all welcome savvy ways to save a few extra pounds each month. One way we can advise on doing so is by offering a few tips on being more aware of energy costs around the home. Save money on your energy bills and help save the planet at the same time just by being more energy efficient at home. From renovations and insulation, to turning the tap off when you’re brushing your teeth, there’s plenty you can do, regardless of budget. Take a look at our top tips.
If you’re serious about conserving energy, then assessing the situation before you do anything is an important first step. Hiring a professional to analyse where you might be losing heat, or where you might be able to make a real impact, will mean that you will know where to focus your efforts.
You can also buy a smart meter/monitor. They will tell you how much energy you’re using and how much it is costing you – if that isn’t an incentive to use less then we don’t know what is!
Someone who assesses your property is more likely to suggest big changes, like insulation or a more efficient boiler, whereas a smart meter is going to look at your energy usage and from it you’ll be able to figure out how you might be able to reduce costs every day.
Insulation can make a huge difference to the amount of energy you use. If you’re losing heat through the loft, the walls and the floor, then you’ll be using much more energy to heat your home than if it kept the heat in. Insulation can be an expensive upfront cost, but it will make a difference to your bills each month and is a solid long-term investment.
Loft insulation is one of the easiest ways to install insulation as it doesn’t require too much upheaval. However, other forms of insulation are a little bit more difficult to install, but they could offer a greater saving.
Cavity wall insulation applies to properties that have space between the inner and outer walls. This type of insulation prevents heat escaping through the walls and requires a certified installer to pump the insulation through small holes in the outer wall.
Solid wall insulation applies where there is no space between the inner and outer walls, and the insulation is applied to the inner or outer walls. This type of insulation can be quite expensive, and a hassle to install. Inner wall insulation will affect the room sizes and what you can hang on the walls. The main disadvantage of external wall insulation is the cost, but it can help with weathering and sound-proofing of the building, as well as reducing draughts.
Underfloor insulation is usually installed on the ground floor and upper rooms above unheated areas, like a garage, for instance. Timber floors can be insulated relatively easily, which means that you can reduce costs by installing it yourself. Concrete floors are trickier, so this method would be best suited if you’re replacing the floor anyway.
Pipe insulation combined with the insulation of the hot water cylinder is cheap and easy to do. It keeps your hot water hot for longer, so your boiler doesn’t have to work as hard. DIY stores offer pipe insulation in a variety of sizes, so just make sure that you have accurate measurements for your particular pipes.
A more obvious way of losing heat is through holes! And draughts of air are never pleasant anyway, so it’s important to get these sealed up for your own comfort as well as for energy efficiency. You’ll usually find draughts around your windows and doors – especially if you live in an older house. It may be worth checking them regardless, just in case you have a draught you haven’t noticed.
If you can’t seal them up, or you live in a rented property, then heavy curtains are a great way of trapping air and preventing it from cooling the whole room.
The windows themselves could also be the source of the draught, which is why it’s important to consider double or triple glazing. It’ll make your home more comfortable, quieter and will reduce condensation on the inside of windows too.
Replace old electrical items with more efficient versions and you’ll find that your energy consumption goes down and bills are reduced without any change to your behaviour. For instance, replace standard bulbs with LEDs and you’ll soon find that they’ll last much longer and use less electricity.
The same goes for white goods. Your 8-year-old washing machine could be replaced with something that’s bigger, quieter and uses less electricity to do the same thing.
If you’re renting, then there are ways of using the items that you have more efficiently. For instance, it could be scraping the plates before they go in the dishwasher to aide an easy clean, or reducing the temperature you wash your clothes at.
Habits are really important when it comes to becoming more energy efficient. Often the simplest of things, it’s just getting into the habit of doing it that’s the tricky bit! Here are just a few suggestions:
With a few simple changes, you’ll soon see the benefits of being more mindful about your energy use.