Energy bills are going up every year and we all see pieces in the media from time to time about people who cannot afford to heat their homes. If you do not want to fall into this situation, there are things you can do to help keep your home warm without your energy bills spiralling out of control. Here are a few suggestions that might help.
Insulate Your Loft
As much as 35% of the heat from your home can disappear through the roof. That adds a lot of money to your bills when you are trying to stay warm in the winter months. Insulating your loft can reduce the heat loss dramatically and help to keep your home cosy and warm. Some people qualify for grants to help with the cost of the insulation, because the more energy you use, the more the power stations have to produce. As these are a large sources of CO2 emissions in the UK, encouraging everyone to get their loft insulated will help the energy companies and the government meet their targets for reducing these planet damaging gasses.
If you have cavity walls, it is worth insulating them too, and some people are now also insulating their floors, particularly the ground one. How much you save will depend on the size and type of property you live in, but it could be as much as £300, most of which is on your winter bills.
An added advantage of insulating your loft for warmth in the winter is that it will also help to keep your home cooler in the summer when it will help to reduce the effect of the suns penetrating rays getting into your home.
Change Energy Supplier
You might not have the best deal available from your energy supplier, especially if you have been with them for a few years. There are comparison sites online where you can see what other energy companies are offering and this could be a simple way to find a better deal and save some cash on your energy bills.
Once you have found a better deal, you should tell your existing supplier about it. Don’t be at all surprised if they match or even beat it, as they really do not want to lose you as a customer.
Update Your Heating Equipment
The older boilers and radiators get, the less efficient they become. Even when they are serviced every year, they will still use more energy as they age. Although boilers can cost upwards of £1100 to replace, there are a range of grants and support measures available, just one being the Boiler Scrappage Scheme. Newer boilers are said to be as much as 97% energy efficient, while older ones (especially if your boiler is more than 10 years old) will probably be more like 60% energy efficient.
Not many people realise how energy efficient underfloor heating is. It radiates heat from the floor to the roof, providing a pleasant warmth all over your home. It will cost you less to run, as radiators need to reach temperatures of 60-65 degrees to be effective, whereas underfloor heating can do the same job at less than 30 degrees. Underfloor heating is also good for the environment when it uses heat pumps and radiation from a bigger surface area to heat the air space. This is said to save up to 50% on energy costs.
Additionally, you may want to install underfloor heating to benefit from the fact that it takes up less space, it is child-friendly, and it will heat your rooms in a shorter space of time. Add this to the fact that it is maintenance-free and you will see that having underfloor heating installed could save you quite a lot of money. For a look at how heat pumps and underfloor heating works, check out this recent heat pumps Penrith project from Incognito Heat Co. Incognito are based in Scotland, but they also provide services nationwide, and with a team of highly trained installers and technicians, they can tackle even the most difficult project.
Seal Window Frames
A lot of heat can be lost through gaps in window frames. If your windows are not double glazed, you are more likely to have this happen. You can buy tape designed for this purpose – you just put it around the edge of your frames and block any warm air from escaping or cold drafts coming in. The same applies to doors that lead to the outside.
Gaps can appear around any windows, no matter what type they are. It could be they were badly fitted, or natural settlement of the house has caused the gaps. If they are on the outside of your home, mortar could be the answer as it would be more permanent. Decorators caulk as well as tape can be used if the gap is internal.
Use Your Thermostats Effectively
According to the Energy Saving Trust, reducing the temperature in your home by just one degree will reduce your energy bills by £75 a year. This amount of reduction will not be noticed by anyone, except you when the energy bills arrive.
If you have timers for heating and water, use those effectively too so that your house is not being heated when no one is at home. There are even smart thermostats that you can control remotely over the internet. This means you can turn your heating on when you want so that you return to a warm home when it suits you.
Dropping the temperature on your water heater can also help to reduce your energy bills, and no one will notice a drop of just a couple of degrees.
Replace the Air Filters in Your Heating System
The air filters in your heating system can make your energy bills sky high if they become blocked. You should check them every three months to make sure they are clear and replace them if the need arises. This will help to keep your heating bills down. Whoever services your system should do this as part of their job, but do not leave it to be done just once a year. Usually, the air filters pull out very easily and it is simple to replace them if they are blocked.
Make the Most of the Winter Sun
Even when there is snow on the ground, the sun can be shining. If this is the case, open your curtains or blinds and let as much natural heat in as you can. This will help to stop your home from getting too cold, which then costs more to warm it up.
This might seem a bit strange, but when your feet are warm, your whole body feels warmer. Encourage all the family to wear socks indoors and you will not need to have your thermostats quite so high. With each one-degree reduction in your heating saving you money, this is a tip well worth remembering.
A warm jumper and trousers can also help and if everyone is dressed in warm clothes they will not want the heating to be too high.
Close the Damper
If you have an open fire that you use, make sure to close the damper when it is not in use. An open damper will let warm air out and cold air in, just like an open window or door. If you never use the fireplace, seal the chimney flue to stop warm air escaping.
If you have thermals curtains, when the evening becomes dark and cold, closing them will make a huge difference in how warm your home stays. Try to find ones that have acrylic or high-density foam insulation in their lining, and a reflective film that will direct heat into the room. An added bonus of these type of curtains is that they can help reduce the noise from outside when they are closed.
Keep Radiators and Vents Free of Obstructions
If your radiators or vents are blocked by a chair, for instance, that piece of furniture will absorb some of the heat instead of it circulating freely around your home. Always keep radiators and vents free of any obstructions to prevent this from happening. This will also reduce the risk of fire because there will be nothing that can overheat and ignite.
Seal Cracks in Floors and Skirting Boards
Cracks in floors and skirting boards can be drafty, but you can seal them to stop this. It depends how big the crack is and where it is as to what is the best way, but usually, tape or decorators caulk will do the trick.
Box in Your Letterbox
Letterboxes are not normally sealed, and heat can escape through them. If you put a box on your door over the letterbox, just big enough to hold your post, you will be closing another gap where warm air escapes.
Keep Those Bills Down!
The utility bills of a home are usually the next biggest after the rent or mortgage and as they keep going up every year, they can become a bit of a problem. More people are struggling to pay them than ever before, but these few tips might just make them easier for you to manage.