We all know that we can make huge savings on our energy bills by insulating our homes, but how many of us actually get around to doing it?
Here is a simple checklist of the things we can do to keep our homes warm and cosy this winter while, at the same time, saving money and reducing damage to the environment.
The average home loses approximately 33% of its heat through poorly insulated walls. This can easily be remedied by having insulation installed. Most new houses are already well insulated, but for those living in older properties an experienced contractor should be contacted.
In December 2011, the regulator Ofgem announced the average UK household bill for gas and electricity remains at £1345.
Professionally installed loft insulation for a typical three-bedroom semi-detached house with gas central heating will probably pay for itself in about two years through savings on fuel.
Hot water tanks and pipes
Insulating your hot water tank is one of the simplest and most efficient ways to save energy. You may have a jacket fitted around the water tank, but in order for it to work efficiently it needs to cover the whole surface of the tank and be at least 75mm thick. Fitting a good quality thermal jacket around your cylinder will cut heat loss by more than 75% – in almost all cases, more than the cost of the jacket.
All exposed hot water pipes need to be lagged so that your hot water will stay hotter for longer. It’s really easy to do it yourself with simple kits available from any DIY stores. Some pipes may not be all that easy to reach, but as long as you cover most of them, the savings will still be more than worthwhile.
Not many of us give enough consideration to the amount of heat lost through poor curtaining. Thermal curtains make it virtually impossible for heat to escape. They are not expensive when compared with the energy savings you will make, and they are readily available online. Estimates on savings vary, but for a three-bedroomed semi-detached house, you could be looking at a considerable reduction in heating costs.
Draft excluders and sealants
Insulate your windows and doors by running draught excluder seals around any gaps to help eliminate heat loss. Getting rid of chilly draughts running through your home should save you pounds.
Single panel windows are responsible for a large part of a home’s heat loss. Admittedly, initial installation costs are high, but double glazing will save you money on heating bills.
Go to www.bfrc.org and use their carbon calculator to see just how much CO² can be saved by installing double glazing alone.
While wooden and parquet flooring is becoming increasingly popular, it is a poor insulator against the cold. A good quality carpet – especially with a with a thermal foam underlay – looks good and will save you money in the long run. What’s more, a carpet can completely transform a room and can be a decoration in itself. As much as 15% of the heat can be lost through uninsulated ground floors, so insulating your floor and skirting boards is an excellent idea.
Following this advice can help keep our homes well-insulated, warm and can save you money too.