Keep your home warm and cosy during winter by taking some steps to make your home more energy-efficient over the colder months.
Here are some helpful tips to get you started.
Start with your boiler
Be sure to plan ahead for the winter season and have your boiler serviced by a qualified engineer.
If you are a homeowner and your boiler is old and unreliable, then you could upgrade it. A new boiler isn’t cheap, but, if you get a more energy-efficient one, you could save money on your heating bills in the long-run. For example, according to Energy Saving Trust, if you live in a detached house and have an old G rated gas boiler, you could save £315 a year by upgrading to a new A-rated condensing boiler with a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator controls. This would be a long-term investment, as these can cost around £2,300.
Top up your insulation
Keeping your loft, pipes and hot water cylinders properly insulated is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to reduce heat loss.
For example, if you improve the insulation on your hot water tank from 25mm to 80mm thick, you could save around £20 a year, which is more than the insulation jacket costs.
Similarly, put pipe insulation on your exposed hot water pipes and you’ll keep your hot water hotter for longer. This will also reduce the chances of pipes getting too cold and bursting.
Draught-proof your house
It can be expensive to heat your home, so you don’t want that warmth to simply escape; similarly, you need to prevent cold air getting in. A simple step towards creating an energy efficient house is to draught-proof windows, doors, floorboards, loft hatches and any other gaps. Bear in mind that rooms like bathrooms need ventilation.
It will be worth it: draught-proofing windows and doors could save you around £20 per year, as well as creating a cosier home.
Use your curtains
Do you make the best use of your curtains? Although they’re a great way to get some privacy or make your home look nicer, that’s not all they’re good for. By getting into the habit of opening your curtains when the sun is shining, even in winter, you can make the most of any warm sunlight coming into your home. Be sure to close them again in the evening to keep out the cold.
Look after your radiators
Give your radiators some attention. That means bleeding them so hot water can circulate effectively. Signs a radiator needs bleeding include gurgling noises, taking a long time to warm up, or if it feels hot at the bottom but cold at the top.
Also, pull any sofas away from radiators so your sofa doesn’t absorb the heat rather than letting it circulate properly around the room.
Control your heat
It can be tempting on really cold days to just whack your thermostat right up to create a toasty home.
But taking care to control the temperature in your home can make a big difference.
In fact, turning down central heating by just 1 degree can save 320kg in carbon dioxide emissions each year and cut your energy bill by £80.
But what temperature should you aim for? According to Ovo Energy, the average room temperature in a UK home in the winter is roughly 18°C. If that gives you the chills, you can always go a little higher, but it can give you a good starting point.
If you want to take better control of the temperature of your home and even manage it remotely using your smartphone, you could invest in a smart thermostat.
Get kids involved
Creating an energy efficient home shouldn’t be a solo effort: involve the whole family. That can include kids. You just need to explain the benefits to your family and to the planet of using energy more efficiently. You can also lead by example and offer rewards to younger children who help out.
Check your home’s Energy Performance Certificate
If in doubt about what measures would be best to take in your own home, then you could check your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). These documents are created when a property is constructed, sold or let and provide a great starting point for understanding and improving your property’s energy efficiency.
They contain information about a property’s energy use and costs, as well as recommendations about how to go about reducing them.
The four-page reports are based on a professional assessment of the construction and type of property, as well as the likes of heating systems, insulation and double glazing. You can request a copy of your certificate on the EPC register page.
There are several ways you can get help with your energy bills if you’re struggling. Or if you’d like to make longer term improvements in your home energy efficiency, there is a new government scheme, called the Green Homes Grant, which provides vouchers to households in England. Bear in mind that the scheme will only be open for a short period of time, and improvements need to be completed by 31 March 2021.
Whether you’re considering investing in big energy efficiency improvements or just trying to develop some energy-saving habits, you’ll feel the benefits of a warmer home during winter. You can also check out our guide for more tips on how to winter-proof your home.
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