It’s the time of year when the joys of cold weather are celebrated, but for many people the default response is to reluctantly get extra jumpers and blankets out.
Energy costs are still high, and this winter is likely to add even more of a financial burden for many. There are several simple things you can do to make your home more energy efficient. This will help keep your house warm in winter and make savings on your heating bills.
Some of these tips are best suited to homeowners who can make improvements to their house. If you’re a private tenant and living in a cold home, you should talk to your landlord about making improvements to your insulation and heating systems.
There may be grants available to make home improvements. If you live in an energy-inefficient property your landlord will be liable to make changes to bring it up to at least an Energy Performance Certificate ‘E’ rating.
Draught-proof your home
Make sure your home isn’t letting the heat escape. Around 18% of a home’s heat loss escapes through windows, and 3% through doors.
You can get professional draught-proofing to maximise your home’s energy efficiency. But if you prefer the DIY option, you can buy draught-proofing strips for your windows and doors.
Insulating your hot water pipes is a quick and easy way to save energy. As well as reducing heat loss from your system, pipe lagging will also prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
Pipe insulation is an easy DIY install – you can buy foam insulation tubes online or from a DIY store and slip them over your pipes. Foam pipe jackets cost around £.1.75 per metre and you will save around £6 (£6 in NI) a year on your energy bills. It also reduces the risk of expensive repair bills from burst pipes.
Bleed your radiators and install reflector panels
Cold spots caused by trapped air could mean your radiators aren’t working as efficiently as they should be. You can get a radiator bleeding key from most DIY shops and it’s an easy way to heat your home with less effort.
Maximise the heat from your radiators by installing reflective radiator panels. These stop heat being lost in the walls and reflect it back into the room.
Installing reflective radiator panels in a house with uninsulated solid walls could save you up to £25 (£25 in NI) a year.
Top tip: Move any furniture away from your radiators, and remove any radiator covers. This makes sure no heat is being lost.
Upgrade your heating controls
Room thermostats allow you to set and maintain the temperature at home. A programmer sets the heating to turn on and off at certain times of the day to suit your lifestyle. Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) let you control the temperature of each radiator, so you’re only heating the rooms you need.
Installing and using a full set of heating controls means that you can be warm exactly when and where you want in your home. You could also save around £120 a year (£135 in NI) if you currently don’t have any of these heating controls.
Top up your hot water cylinder insulation
Nearly all UK hot water cylinders have some insulation, but those with a hot water tank jacket under 25mm thick could benefit from top-up insulation.
Topping up your hot water cylinder insulation from 25mm to an 80mm jacket could save around £45 a year (£45 in NI). And if your hot water cylinder has no insulation, adding an 80mm jacket could save you around £200 a year (£200 in NI).
Top up your loft insulation
Most homes have some loft insulation, but many don’t have enough. The recommended depth is 270mm.
Topping up your loft insulation from 120mm to 270mm will help stop warmth escaping through the roof and could save you around £25 a year (£25 in NI). If you currently have no insulation in your loft, installing 270mm of new insulation could save £250 a year (£285 in NI).
Upgrade your boiler
Modern boilers are more efficient than older models. If your boiler is more than 10 years old it will be far less efficient than a newer model, so consider replacing it with a more efficient condensing boiler.
How much you can save depends on what kind of boiler you’re replacing. Replacing a D-rated boiler with an A-rated one could save you £140 a year (£100 in NI).
If you already have a modern, efficient boiler, make sure you get it serviced once a year. This makes sure there’s no build up of sludge and that the boiler it working at maximum efficiency.
Insulate your walls
Although wall insulation is a bigger investment, and costs vary, it can keep your home warm and cosy and result in a large saving.
Most homes built after 1920 have cavity walls. If your home’s cavity walls are uninsulated, adding cavity wall insulation could save up to £265 (£300 in NI) a year off your energy bills (based on a typical 3-bedroom semi-detached house).
Most homes built before 1920 have solid walls. Solid wall insulation can save around £360 (£405 in NI) a year off your energy bills (based on a typical 3-bedroom semi-detached house).
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