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Blog Post 21 May 2024 Updated 23 May 2024

Nine quick DIY jobs to save energy

Making your home more energy efficient doesn’t have to cost a lot. While projects like home insulation or solar panels are a bigger investment, there are several, smaller energy efficient DIY projects that are faster and less expensive.

Install a water butt

As the summer days get drier, there’s a risk your water company might put a hosepipe ban in place.

To help with this, one popular water saving tip is to install a water butt. Make the most of the odd summer downpour and collect rainwater to use when you need to water the garden. You can pick one up for around £50 and connect it to your guttering to maximise your rainwater collection.

Not only does this lower your mains water use, you can use the water in the water butt even during a hosepipe ban.

Add radiator reflector panels

Radiator reflector panels or foil fit behind your radiators and work best with those that are on uninsulated external walls. The panels bounce heat from the radiator back into the room rather than letting it be absorbed into the wall.

They cost around £25 to install and could lower your heating bills by £20 a year in Great Britain (GB) and £25 in Northern Ireland (NI).

 

 

Draught proof your chimney

If you have an open chimney, you’ll be losing some of your home’s heat up that big open space.

You can buy a chimney draught excluder for around £25. These block the open gap in your chimney, reducing the amount of heat lost. You must remember to remove it again before lighting a fire in future.

Chimney draught excluders could lower your heating bills by £55 in GB and £70 in NI.

For more information, read our advice on draught proofing your chimney.

 

Replace your bulbs with LEDs

If your lightbulbs haven’t needed replacing, you might not have even given them much thought. You probably don’t have any traditional filament bulbs left, but if you’re still using halogen spotlights you might be wasting a lot of electricity.

Upgrading all your halogen lights to energy efficient LEDs costs around £80. But doing so saves you £40 a year in GB and £75 in NI. Given that a typical LED bulb can last well over 10 years, that’s a lot of savings to be had. For more tips, check out our advice on energy efficient lighting.

 

Worker putting rubber draught strip onto window indoors, closeup

Draught proof your windows and doors

Professional draught proofing is likely to cost around £230. But you can make some improvements to make your rooms warmer yourself, for a fraction of the cost.

You can pick up draught proofing strips for your windows and doors for around £2 a metre. It’s one of the cheapest ways to make your home more energy efficient and more cosy.

For more information, check out our blog on how to draught proof your windows and doors.

Bleed your radiators

Trapped air in your radiators may make them less effective at heating your home. If you compensate by turning the heating up or adjusting the boiler thermostat this could lead to wasted energy increased heating bills.

You can pick up a radiator key for around £3 at your local DIY shop. The summer months are a good time to bleed your radiators as your heating is more likely to be off for several hours at a time. Make sure the radiators are cool before you bleed them.

To bleed your radiators:

  1. Lay an old towel under the pipes and place a bowl or jug under the bleed valve.
  2. Insert the radiator key into the valve and slowly give it a quarter or half turn. As air escapes, you’ll hear a hissing sound.
  3. Once the hissing sound stops or water begins to pour out, close the valve.
  4. If you have a combi boiler (one with no hot water cylinder) you may need to top up the water pressure after bleeding the radiators. There’s usually a short length of flexible pipe with a tap at each end, and a pressure gauge on the boiler itself. If the gauge is in the red, open the two taps to let more water in until you’re back in the green, then turn off both taps.
  5. You may want to check for air again next year. Check it sooner sooner if the tops of any radiators get cold or you hear a lot of gurgling in the pipes.

Install tap aerators in your kitchen and bathroom

Tap aerators cost around £5 each and screw into your existing taps. These devices are full of small holes that mix air into the water that comes from the tap.

This helps reduce the amount of water coming out of the tap without any noticeable effect on the water flow. Doing this in your kitchen could save you around £19 a year in GB just in energy bills, and £20 in NI.

For more tips, read our blog on saving water at home.

 

 

Install a hot water jacket

If you have an uninsulated hot water tank, you’re wasting loads of energy heating water that then cools down before you use it. Even if you have some basic tank insulation you could save energy by adding more.

Adding extra insulation to a poorly insulated hot water cylinder costs around £20, but saves you £40 a year in GB and £40 in NI. Aim to top up to 80mm thick for the best insulation.

Check out our other tips on insulating your water cylinder and pipes.

Add a letterbox draught excluder

Any part of your home that lets in air from outside is a potential source of wasted energy and your letterbox is no exception.

You can pick up a letterbox draught excluder for around £5, and they usually feature a brush or flap to close off the letterbox. Make sure you measure your letterbox beforehand, though.

While you’re at it, look for a keyhole cover to stop heat escaping through your keyhole. It will help retain that little bit more heat, and you won’t feel the draught when you pass by your door.

 

 

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Last updated: 23 May 2024