Tommy Walsh is a celebrity builder and TV presenter who is best known for starring in BBC’s Ground Force. He is helping to raise awareness of The Green Deal – a Department of Energy and Climate Change scheme designed to make Britain’s homes warmer and protect people from rising energy costs. Read the two paragraphs below to find out what the Green Deal is all about and how it can help you spread the cost of desirable home improvements. Tommy has also provided a list of simple and effective energy saving tips that you can start to use straight away.
It offers a brand new way for people to pay for energy saving home improvements by off setting the cost against savings on energy bills. The Green Deal is available for insulation, heating, draught-proofing, double glazing and renewable energy technologies like solar panels or wind turbines. The Green Deal have created a list of approved assessors and installers who you have to use. The money is paid in instalments through your electricity bill.
Free and impartial advice on the Green Deal is available by calling the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234 or visit www.gov.uk/greendeal for more information and lists of assessors and installers.
TOMMY’S DIY ENERGY SAVING TIPS
Draught proofing is one of the cheapest and most efficient ways to stop wasting energy, save money, and improve home comfort for everyone and their families. Draught-proofing products are readily available, cheap to buy, and relatively easy to install. Common areas you will find draughts: windows, letterboxes, keyholes and poorly fitting front and rear doors. Also check any water, or waste pipes going through walls and pump a mastic seal around them to block out draughts!
Check your front and rear doors
As these get a lot of use, they receive considerable wear! Check the hinges and locks are not worn, as worn or badly fitted locks will cause the door to be gappy and draughty, worn hinges will cause the door to drop, making it bind on the frame, so, replace the hinges, rather than plane the door edge, then fit draught-excluder’s the door will shut against.
Fit shoot bolts
I recommend fitting shoot bolts to the top and bottom internal face of your door, when you’re at home, which will help press the door against the draught-excluder, give you security against intruders, and an easy escape route in an emergency, rather than trying to find the keys to open the deadlock.
Replace your light bulbs
Replace your lightbulbs with energy efficient ones. This can reduce energy wastage by over 75%. These bulbs cost a bit more than ordinary ones, but last twelve times longer.
Turn down your thermostat
Once the central heating has warmed the house up, turn the thermostat down an extra couple of degrees than normal, you probably won’t even notice the difference, but could make up to a 20% saving on heating bills.
Half-fill your kettle
When making tea or coffee, only fill the kettle with enough water to make the amount of hot drinks required! Why boil half a kettle of water for a cup or two of tea? This will also make a noticeable difference to your energy bills.
Fit window fasteners and heavy curtains to your windows
Single glazed windows are not very thermally efficient, but can be greatly improved by fitting window fasteners, locks and purpose made draught excluder’s or brushes. To make a real difference in the cold winter periods, replace normal curtains with lined heavy curtains, you will definitely notice the difference both in your comfort, and your pocket!
Leave your loft hatch half-open
In really cold weather, this is a tip that may save a mini-disaster in your house! Leave your loft hatch half open so that as hot air rises it will circulate in the loft to help prevent pipes and tanks freezing then bursting – especially if you’re going away for a few days.
Add another layer or two of loft insulation
It’s cheap and can save you bundles. Ensure that all pipes and tanks in the loft are lagged. This is not a difficult DIY job, as pre-split foam lagging, and various size, pre-made tank jackets are readily available from plumbers merchants, or big DIY stores. In the loft, make sure you stay safe, and work off a couple of short scaffold boards, laid across the joists, use a loft light, or running lead-light!
Turn off the mains water supply if you’re going away
If you’re going away for a few days or longer, particularly if your trip is during the cold part of the year, I would always recommend that you turn off the mains water supply and empty any water-storage tanks. You can do this by turning on the hand basin and bath taps and flushing the toilet until the stored water has emptied. Leave the central heating on, but turn the thermostat down to 10 degrees, this will ensure your house won’t freeze and do serious damage while you’re away, then just relax and enjoy your holiday!