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Blog Post 3 March 2022

Five ways to futureproof your home against rising energy bills

Energy bills are set to rise by around £700 from 1 April, affecting around 22 million households across Great Britain.

While most households will feel the impact of this increase, we know everyone’s financial situation is different.

If you’re looking for quick and easy low or no-cost ways to save energy and money then our tips could help you save up to £356 a year on your bills.

But if you can afford to, you can make additional savings by upgrading the energy efficiency of your home by following these five ideas.


Upgrade to energy efficient appliances

Choosing energy efficient appliances is a simple and relatively low cost way to reduce your energy bills. The more energy efficient an appliance is, the less energy it needs to run, and the less energy you need to pay for.

If you’re looking to replace an appliance, look out for the energy label. This tells you how much energy an appliance uses, comparing it to similar appliances. This can help you find appliances that use the least amount of energy, which should help to lower your bills.

How you use your appliances can also affect how much energy they use. You can reduce your energy bills by making small changes to your habits. Frequency of use is one factor, but choosing Eco modes, lower temperatures, and airing clothes on a line instead of using a tumble dryer, for example, will reduce energy consumption. Check out our advice on energy efficient home appliances here.


Invest in heating controls

The next step to reducing our energy costs is to take control of our heating. In a typical household, over half of the energy bills are spent on heating and hot water. We can reduce this cost by making sure we’re not using more heating than we need.

Investing in modern, easy to use controls is a good way to make sure you’re only using heating when necessary. To do this effectively, for a central heating system you’ll need a timer or programmer, a room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves.

Installing a room thermostat, a programmer and thermostatic radiator valves and using these controls efficiently could save you around £85 a year. We have advice on different types of heating controls here.

You might want to consider upgrading to smart heating controls. Some include automation features, which can help by working out exactly when to turn the heating on and off. Whether smart heating controls will save you money will depend on your lifestyle and how you currently control your heating.


Improve your home’s insulation

We already know that over half of a typical household’s energy bills is spent on heating and hot water, so it’s important to make sure that the walls, roof, and floors in your home are insulated. This will cut back on heat waste and reduce the amount of heat you need to use – and pay for.

For a quick fix, insulate any exposed hot water pipes, along with your hot water cylinder if you have one. However, insulating the building itself will have a bigger impact on your energy bills.

If you’re prepared to invest more, a good place to start is the loft. Many people don’t have enough insulation in their loft: it’s important to check this is in good condition, and to top it up to the recommended level of 270mm of insulation. Unless you live in a mid- or top-floor flat, it’s also worth considering if adding insulation to your ground floor is possible. We have more advice on floor insulation, including DIY options.

If you want to go further, consider insulating your walls. Around a third of the heat lost from an uninsulated home escapes through the walls of the building. You’ll need to work out your wall type to get the right insulation for your home.

Many cavity walls can be insulated by injecting insulation material into the cavity from the outside. Read our advice on cavity wall insulation and how to find a specialist installer. Solid walls can be insulated either from the inside, or applied externally. Whenever you fit solid wall insulation you need to take account of water vapour to make sure that you don’t create new damp problems in the future, so it’s important to work with a qualified installer.


Generate your own electricity

Another way to futureproof your home against high energy costs is to generate your own electricity. By installing a renewable technology at home, you can reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and cut your energy bills, as you won’t need to buy as much energy from the grid.

Solar panels are the most common type of home renewable energy system. They harness energy from the sun to generate electricity that you can use to power the appliances in your home. It’s likely there will be times when your solar panels are generating more electricity than you can use. Unless you have a PV diverter or battery, you’ll probably be exporting that extra electricity back to the grid, for which you could receive payments through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).

Whether you’re using it yourself or exporting it, a typical home solar PV system in the south of England could save you up to £385 a year on your energy bills, including Smart Export Guarantee payments for export. In Wales, you could save around £360 a year, and in Scotland, it’s around £340 a year, depending on your lifestyle.

If you live in a rural area, a wind turbine is another option, though this will cost you more to install (we estimate around £20,000 to £35,000) and you’ll need a suitable site to maximise the benefits. A well-sited 5kW turbine could save you around £340 a year on your electricity bills. On top of this, you could receive about £235 every year through SEG payments, by exporting the energy you don’t use from the turbine back to the grid.

a family look at solar panels on a plot at their house

Upgrade to a heat pump

The reasons for the current energy crisis are complicated, but a key factor is the high global price of gas, caused by increased demand. One of the ways the UK can protect itself against rising gas prices is to move away from using gas. Electricity will be a key fuel for our net zero journey, as the grid continues to decarbonise with more renewable energy added to the electricity mix.

Heat pumps powered by electricity allow us to use heat energy from the outdoors to heat our homes. The two main types of heat pump are air source and ground source. Heat pumps are very efficient heating systems, because the amount of heat they produce is more than the amount of electricity they use. A well-performing heat pump, for example, will give out three units of heat for every unit of electricity used to power it! You can find out more about the efficiency of heat pumps in our guide.

The running costs of a heat pump will depend on how your heat pump is designed and operated. Savings on your energy bill will also be affected by the system you are replacing. Costs will be affected by several factors, including the system your electricity tariff, how efficient your heat pump is, where you live in the UK, and more. Read our blog to find the answers to some common questions about heat pumps.

Last updated: 3 March 2022