Are your energy bills higher than those of your neighbours or just higher than you think they should be? Do you try to limit the amount of time you heat your home but still pay large amounts at the end of each month? If so make sure you have taken these 5 simple steps to increase the energy efficiency of your home and reduce your bills.
Cavity wall insulation
If your home is uninsulated, you’ll be turning up your heating and paying more than is necessary. Around a third of the heat lost will be escaping through the walls and so cavity wall insulation will go a long way to reducing the problem.
In fact, an average semi-detached house with cavity walls could save up to £160 per year on its heating bills simply by insulating its walls. It costs approximately £475 to install cavity wall insulation into a semi-detached property and it will pay for itself in 5 years or fewer. There are also a number of free cavity wall insulation initiatives to look into.
Precious and expensive heat could also be escaping out of your doors, windows and even your plug sockets.
Draught-excluding solutions are readily available in most DIY stores and are small, cheap home improvement that will help to reduce the amount of energy you use to heat your home. Plastic film can be placed over windows for simple double glazing effect and various types of draft excluders can be bought for doors and their frames.
Install a water softener
Do you live in a hard water area? If so, the coil of pipes that heat the water in your cylinder are likely to be suffering from an internal build-up of limescale, which will be reducing the efficiency of your boiler and increasing your monthly heating bill.
Hard water is formed when natural water picks up minerals such as calcium and magnesium as it passes through rock. Calcium is a strong insulator and so the hard water produces limescale within the pipes, which seriously reduces the efficiency of your heating system. By installing a water softener you can prevent this buildup of limescale and reduce your monthly spend. In addition other appliances like washing machines and kettles will work better and last much longer, you’ll less soap and conditioner and your skin will be less irritated.
By fitting your boiler’s hot water tank with a jacket you can reduce the amount of heat being lost at its source, and therefore your energy bills, too! Poorly insulated tanks lose heat quickly and your boiler has to work harder to re-heat the water ready for your relaxing, post-work bath. If your hot water tank is older than ten years old, you should check its insulation and install a jacket if necessary.
Consider generating your own energy and using it to power your water heating system, rather than paying for energy from the National Grid.
Solar panels are an investment but by combining them with eco-technology, such as a smart meter device, you can save up to £250 on your energy bills by ‘self-consuming’ up to 100% of the energy produced by your solar PV system, rather than it being diverted back to the National Grid.
And with the Feed-in Tariff rate set to be cut by 90% as of January 2016, the savings made possible through ‘self-consumption’ devices ensure that solar energy will remain a viable option for homeowners.