Record you energy bills
By taking a few minutes to record details of your energy bills you will get a much better idea of where your money goes. In addition to this it will give you feedback on how effective your efforts to save energy and therefore money are being. It is useful to record the amount of units you use as well as the cost because your bills might go
up due to increased charges even though you are using less.
Heating your home accounts for 60 % of your energy use. Drafts can account for up to 50% of heat loss. Stopping drafts is therefore a very important money saving action especially as many of the actions are very quick, easy and cheep.
- Seal gaps in the floor, skirting and ceiling.
- Fit draft excluding strips around doors and windows.
- Hang heavy curtains over doors and windows.
- Close off fireplaces whilst not in use.
- Close doors between rooms.
- Check the attic hatch for drafts
WARNING: Never block ventilators and ventilation bricks.
Insulate your loft
Heat rises! 30% of all the heating you pay for can be lost through a roof space that is not insulated or only poorly insulated. That could be up to 20% of your total energy bill.
- The one off job of insulating your loft with 250 mm (10 inches) of good quality insulation has a payback time of less than 4 years. Your home will be cosier; it will warm up faster, stay warm longer and save you money.
- If it is some years since you insulated your loft chances are that you don’t have the full 250 mm that is the current new building requirement. Consider topping up your existing insulation to save money and make your house more cosy.
- Check that the attic hatch door fits well and has no drafts. Attaching insulation to the upper side of the hatch will save even more energy.
Insulate behind radiators on outside walls
This will keep heat in your room by stopping it leaving straight through the wall.
- Purchase and fit foil backed panels behind radiators on outside walls
- Make and fit your own panels from corrugated cardboard wrapped in tin foil
Check room and boiler thermostats and timers
Turning down room or boiler thermostats by one degree could lower your energy consumption by 5 %. After taking the other actions on this sheet you should be able to turn down thermostats without any feeling of discomfort. Stored hot water will start to cool down even if the tank is well lagged. It therefore makes sense to use a timer to coordinate water heating with hot water usage.
- Try turning down the room and boiler thermostats a little.
- Close down radiator valves and keep the curtains shut in little or never used rooms.
- Investigate the timing of your hot water and heating usage and set timers to deliver when you need it most, experiment a little!
- When the central heating is on you nearly always have hot water. You might consider coordinating when you use the washing machine and dish washer and when you have baths to fit in with this hot water availability.
Heat your body not the room
Putting on an extra layer of clothing rather than turning up the heating is an excellent energy saving alternative. Not only is it free but it is very controllable! This is especially true for periods such as when you have just got out of bed and you need a little extra heat for a short while.
- Put on extra clothing when needed during the day.
- Put an extra blanket on the bed and use a hot water bottle at night.
Turn it off
Turning things off when you are not using them saves energy and will save you money by reducing your electricity bill and reducing wear on the appliance. Appliances left on standby account for a large proportion of all electricity used.
- Turn off appliances completely rather than leaving them on standby.
- If you are the last one to leave a room then turn off the light.
- Do you need to have outside lights on all night? Consider fitting a movement sensor so that your outside light comes on only when someone needs it.
- If you are concerned about security whilst you are away consider buying a timer to turn the lights on and off. Not only does this use less electricity, it gives the impression that someone is home.
Lag your tank
Heating water accounts for between 15 and 20% of your household energy use. By lagging your hot water storage tank with an 80 mm thick insulation jacket you can save 30 % of the energy needed to heat your water, that’s about 5% of your total energy consumption. Purchasing an insulation jacket will therefore pay for itself in about 6 months. In addition to saving you money you will also heat your water much faster and it will stay warmer longer.
- Purchase and fit an insulation jacket for your hot water storage tank. They only take a few minutes to fit.
- Purchase lengths of foam insulation for hot water pipes and fit wherever pipes are accessible.
- Set your hot water thermostat to 600C (140 f) or less
Keep your boiler serviced
To run at maximum efficiency and for safety reasons oil fired boilers need to be serviced annually and gas boilers every 2 years.
The cost of the service should be recovered in lower fuel and repair bills.
- Have your boiler serviced regularly.
- If you need to replace your boiler investigate modern high efficiency types. Even if your old boiler is working well it is worth getting an estimate to see if a modern one would save enough money to justify the expense. There are also new developments for home heating including solar water heating systems, geothermal heat pumps and combined heat and power plants. Although these options require a large initial outlay they will save money in the long run.