Try not to turn the heating on until your home is properly insulated. Not only will your heating system have to work harder and longer to heat the home, that costly energy will escape quickly through any uninsulated gaps. Heat tends to rise, therefore, insulation in your loft is probably the first priority. Good insulation at floor or roof level can help to save up to 35% on your heating costs. On the loft floor, the current recommendation is a 300mm layer of fibre insulation, cross-layered and covering the entire loft floor whilst retaining ventilation at the eaves.
Estimated cost – £900 to £1400 for the average family home.
Lifespan – 10 Years +
Payback – Around 3-5 Years
Cavity Wall Insulation should be the next priority with the walls accounting for up to 25% of heat loss
Remember, insulation doesn’t stop heat loss, it slows it and also helps to reduce cold droughts entering your home.
2. Service Your Boiler & Bleed Your Radiators
It’s important to keep on top of boiler maintenance and there’s some energy companies/suppliers who offer an annual maintenance service. Whilst it’s an added cost, this is much lower than a boiler replacement and should ensure it’s efficient running when it springs into action in the autumn. With several moving parts, a boiler is like a car engine and with good servicing, it should stand the test of time.
Average Annual Servicing Cost – £100
New Boiler Cost – £1500-£2000
Bleeding your radiators is a great way to increase the flow of hot water which in turn makes for a more efficient and warmer system. Air pockets can become trapped within the radiator and it’s this problem that reduces the heat and efficiency, ultimately costing more to heat the home. Bleeding radiators is fairly straight forward and a quick search on YouTube will show you all you need to know!
Annual Cost – £0 if you do it yourself
3. Tackle Draughts
Not only do cold draughts make you feel uncomfortable in your home, they are also a massive source of heat loss. Draughts maybe present from exposed floor boards, the gap under a door, gaps or penetrations on walls, draughts from an uninsulated loft hatch or poor quality windows.
Whilst exposed floor boards may look lovely, sometimes it’s worth putting home comfort ahead of aesthetics. Laying a robust underlay and good quality carpet over floor boards can help to reduce draughts and therefore help you keep your home warmer for longer which reduces heating costs.
Draught excluders laid on the floor up against the bottom of doors can help to vastly reduce the cold airflow and also reduce heat loss. These are inexpensive and arguably the first thing to consider for an instant improvement. You might be familiar with the stuffed fabric sausage style draught excluders that are readily available. Not only are they cheap to buy but also allow doors to be opened with ease!
4. Wrap Your Hot Water Cylinder
If you have a hot water cylinder that stores and provides your hot water on demand, it is possible to increase the efficiency of the cylinder by adding a layer of insulation around it. This can be achieved by wrapping the tank with a multi foil insulation layer or an insulated jacket. Whilst many hot water cylinders may already have some integral insulation, often the better the thermal layer, the better the heat retention.
With hot water heating accounting for approximately 40% of heating costs, improving the insulation surrounding a hot water tank, can improve efficiency. If hot water heating costs £500 per annum and the addition of insulation can help increase the efficiency of the tank by 10% (for example), this could save you £50 per annum. This measure, in combination with other energy saving improvements will all add up to significant savings over time.
5. Stop Over-Filling The Kettle
If you’ve got a smart meter, check out the dial when you boil your kettle. You’ll likely see the cost of electric breach well beyond £1 per kWh during the process and the usage to breach 2000 kWh for the duration of the kettle being boiled. The vast majority of us will over fill the kettle when making a hot drink, therefore paying to heat water that will only cool again.
Take for example, the kettle capacity, usually labelled by the number of cups. If you are making a single cup of coffee, you only need to fill the kettle to the one cup level. Over filling the kettle means more energy is required to heat the water mass, thus taking longer for the kettle to boil whilst costing you more money.
Overfilling a kettle, allowing hot water to cool and then be reheated, is a waste of money that will soon add up and accumulate over the year. Use your kettle wisely and with the right quantity of water to help take the edge off those energy bills. For the average home, the cost per day of boiling the kettle may be around the 40 pence mark. Reduce this cost by 25% and that adds up to £36.50 per annum – every little helps!
Some of the above mentioned solutions may only save small amounts of money as standalone items but focussing on energy efficiency can add up to a significant amount of annual savings. Good insulation and controlled energy usage could help to save £100’s off your energy costs per annum.