Winter calls for cosiness, and as the temperatures fall energy bills go up. However, there are a number of easy things you can do around the home to reduce outgoings on energy without sacrificing any comfort. Tiny changes and occasional upgrades could mean significant savings – up to 30% on your current utility bills.
Take an hour to look around your home and identify wastage and poor efficiency, take action, and then watch the savings add up.
Holes and cracks, especially around doors and windows, will allow your heated air to leak outside. This will obviously make your heating more costly and less efficient. All doors, windows and outside walls need to be checked for any points of vulnerability that will drive up your energy bills.
Tend to these with a good sealant, such as caulking, especially where siding and some other type of material meet. For cracks around windows, which is where wood intersects with glass, use putty instead. Indoors, create another barrier to the outside with drapes over doors and windows that will keep warmed air in the room.
Warming the home can account for a large chunk of the energy bill. Make sure all components are working properly and any air filters are cleaned regularly. Professional maintenance is also recommended, and if you have a gas boiler, it should be checked annually. Bleeding radiators to ensure they heat evenly is also a good way to save money and make heating more efficient.
A device that ensures hot water recirculation, such as a Grundfos central heating pump, could be an excellent investment. Not only does one of these make sure the heat distribution is regulated, but it will end having to wait for hot water. Maintenance will also ensure that the system will not malfunction when you are depending on it most.
Through the roof
If you live in a house, it is quite likely that a lot of your heating is simply rising and escaping into the atmosphere through your attic or roof. This is especially true of older homes constructed before 1980. All this heat rising up and escaping makes your heating system work ever harder, causing stress to the system and inflating your heating bills.
Put an end to this with adequate insulation. The insulation in your roof or attic should be at least five inches deep. Not all insulation is the same, so ensure you check the rating for the insulation you buy. Install it yourself or get a professional in to do the job. Once you have done that, it may be time to think about regulating the heating distribution to make it more efficient with a Grundfos central heating pump.
Winter’s short, dark days direct more attention to lighting in the home. This is a good time to look at the lighting you have and decide if it is adequate and balanced. Some areas of the home may be spoilt for lighting choices, while some rooms or corners languish in darkness. When the lighting is arranged for maximum effect, consider whether you are paying more for it than you should.
The solution is straightforward: replace your old incandescent energy-gobbling bulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescent lights). This new style of bulb uses less energy and will save you money, and CFLs produce a diffuse soft light which is attractive in the home. Better still, this type of bulb can last for up to ten years.
The Victorians weren’t always using chimney-sweeps for nothing – fireplaces and chimneys require checking and cleaning on a regular basis to make sure that they are safe and operating properly. It is a good idea to check for cracks between bricks and for the accumulation of soot. Warmed air can escape up a chimney, so ensure that the dampers in your fireplace are shut when the fireplace is not being used.
Getting the professionals in for a thorough check-up is a worthwhile idea. They can do a full inspection, looking at the chimney and its cap along with the fireplace. They can then make any necessary repairs, and while they are doing so, you could consider having heatproof glass doors fitted to the fireplace to make it even more energy-efficient.
Find out more things new homeowners waste money on.