How to make your home cost-efficient to save money
Make your money go further with our cash-saving tips for your home
With prices rising, we all want to hold on to as many pennies as possible. You can be more cost-efficient and make your money stretch further by making energy saving home improvements to save money on bills. These home energy savings can be small everyday tweaks or investing in larger projects. Here we show you how to make your home more energy efficient.
Fast fixes to save money at home
As well as the big projects like double glazing and solar panels, there are quick changes you can make that will increase your home’s energy efficiency. And while the home energy savings won’t be as great as with the bigger projects, you will still be saving money on bills.
Fix your leaky tap for good
It’s not exactly an emergency, but the constant drip, drip, drip of a leaky tap can be incredibly annoying. It can also be expensive as you’ll need to pay for the water that is being wasted. And if it’s a hot tap that’s leaking, then you’ll pay for heating the wasted water too.
Switch to LED lightbulbs
Traditional incandescent lightbulbs are extremely inefficient. Did you know that only about 5% off the electricity used to power them actually converts into visible light? LEDs on the other hand are incredibly efficient so need less and energy, and they last longer too so you’ll have to replace them less often.
Fit thermostatic radiator valves to your radiators
With TRVs you can control the temperature in each room individually, so each space is exactly as warm as you want it – and no warmer. That means you don’t have to waste energy heating the bedrooms while everyone’s watching telly in a nice and toasty living room.
How to save money with tech and appliances
The appliances you have and how you use them can make a difference in terms of your home’s energy efficiency and could help you in saving money on bills. There are also some great gadgets out there that can help you to make your home more energy efficient too.
Invest in a smart home
Simply put, a smart home is one where you can control the heating, lights and electronic devices from your smartphone, tablet, computer, or smart speaker from wherever you are. Gone out and left the lights on or forgotten to switch the heating off? No problem. With a smart thermostat and smart lights, you can simply turn them off with a tap of the app so that you’re not wasting energy on heating or lighting an empty home. With a smart thermostat, you can set a budget and track how well you’re sticking to it which can help you in saving money on bills.
Unplug unused electronics
Did you know that unless they’re switched off at the wall, your electrical appliances continue to use energy? So to save money on your energy bills, it’s best to turn appliances off completely, rather than relying on standby mode.
Switch to energy-efficient appliances
It’s worth repairing appliances if you can, but when it does come time to replace them, pay attention to the energy labels when you’re shopping around. Appliances are rated on a scale of A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) so you can compare the energy needed to run different models. Generally, choosing the smallest model suited to your needs is a good idea as larger models are likely to use more energy.
How to save money by insulating your home
When you’re paying a lot of money to heat your home, you want to be sure that you’re not wasting any of that warmth. And that’s where insulation comes in. It can significantly reduce heat loss, so it means you can enjoy more of the heat that you’re shelling out your hard-earned cash for. And the flipside of keeping the heat in is keeping the cold out, so it’s worth doing some draught-proofing too to stop chilly weather getting in.
Wondering how much it costs to insulate a house in the UK? Some insulation work can be done relatively cheaply, but other types of insulation can stretch to thousands of pounds.
Insulate your interior and exterior walls
It can be pricey to keep a poorly insulated house warm. Did you know that up to a third of the heat lost in poorly insulated homes escapes through the walls? Generally, newer homes will already have wall insulation but if your property was built before 1990 then the chances are that it won’t, and you will need to install external wall insulation if it’s not already been done.
Depending on the type of walls your house has, you will need either solid wall insulation or cavity wall insulation. Solid wall insulation for interior walls is done either by using rigid insulation boards that are fitted to the wall, or by building a stud wall and then filling the gap between it and the existing wall with insulating material such as mineral wool fibre.
Cavity wall insulation is a professional job, so you’ll need to call in a registered specialist. It’s done by drilling holes into the wall and injecting insulating material into them, then filling over the holes again so it’s barely noticeable.
Install floor insulation
Insulating your ground floor can help to keep your home warm. Generally, you don’t need to insulate upper floors unless they’re above an unheated space, like a garage for example. The type of insulation you need will depend on what your floor is made of, and it’s also a good idea to draught-proof your floor by sealing any gaps between floorboards and between the floor and skirting boards too.
Fit loft insulation
If your home isn’t insulated, a whopping 25% of the heat you’re paying for could be lost through the roof. It’s a relatively easy DIY job if you have easy access to your loft and there are no problems with damp or condensation, so loft insulation cost can be kept to a minimum. If not, then a professional installer is the way to go.
How to save money with energy-saving home improvements
An energy efficient house is the key to minimising the amount of energy you use, and the money that you spend on it. While there are small things you can do to increase home energy savings, it’s the larger projects to increase your home’s energy efficiency that will make the biggest difference.
Switch to an energy efficient heat pump
A low-carbon alternative to a boiler powered by gas or oil, air source heat pumps are one of the most cost-efficient ways to heat your home. They work by absorbing heat from the outside (yes, even in winter!) and then using just a small amount of electricity to compress it to higher temperatures and transferring that warmth into your home.
While air source heat pumps are a great source of cleaner, greener heat and ideal for saving money on bills, they’re not suitable for every home. They work best with properly insulated homes, so you might need to upgrade your insulation before installing one. Air source heat pumps are bigger than boilers, so you’ll need space for it too.
Install solar panels on your property
Solar panels create electricity when sun shines on them. It doesn’t need to be bright sunshine – they even work on cloudy days – but the stronger the sunlight, the more electricity they generate. To benefit from this free, zero-carbon source of energy, you’ll need to install solar panels, as well as an inverter to convert the direct current (DC) electricity created to the alternative current (AC) needed for most household appliances.
Another thrifty and nifty benefit of solar panels is that could even make you money while improving your home’s energy efficiency. There may be times when your solar panels generate more electricity than you can use or store, so you can sell it back to the grid for someone else to use.
While most people install solar panels on the roof, it is possible to install them on the ground too. The ideal spot for solar panels is in an unshaded south-facing area. You’ll get 15-20% less energy if solar panels face east or west, and it’s not recommended to install them facing north.
Upgrade your windows with double or triple glazing
Having efficient windows will help to keep the heat in your home, while keeping cold and noise out. Double glazing means that your windows are two panes of glass sealed in a frame, with a gap in between them that is filled with air or an inert gas to provide insulation. Triple glazing works on the same principle but has three panes of glass with two gaps. Windows are rated on a scale from A++ to E for energy efficiency.
There are some types of homes for which double or triple glazing is not suitable. If you live in a conservation area or a listed building then there might be restrictions on what you can do, so you can consider secondary glazing instead. This is when a second pane of glass or other transparent material is fitted to an existing window without impacting how it looks. Fitting heavy curtains will also increase your home’s energy efficiency.
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