Making our homes more energy efficient is a win for two reasons – the first is that we do our bit for the environment while the second is that we can save money on our gas and electricity bills. Regardless of the age of your home, there are often steps you can take to make it more energy efficient and receive these two benefits.
Around 60% of utility bills go on the creation of heating and hot water for the home and this means that you spend a lot of money creating these things – and that makes sense because we need them. But there are steps to take to make your system more energy efficient and minimalize these bills.
The boiler is the heart of the system and while they can have a lifespan of 20-25 years in some cases, they will gradually decrease in efficiency in time. It can be a good idea to have someone regularly service and inspect the boiler to see how well it is running. Most utility companies will offer this kind of service so you can ring the British Gas contact number if they supply your utilities for example and find out about the cover.
As well as the efficiency of the boiler, the effectiveness of thermostats can play a big part. There is a big drive to replace thermostats with smart meters to help manage costs and increase efficiency. Individual radiator thermostats can also help.
On average, around 20% of the home gas and electricity bill is relating to water, whether from heating water for a bath or the sink or powering the shower. Using less water not only makes the house more energy efficient but reduces overall carbon dioxide emissions by reducing the amount of water that is pumped and treated.
As well as ensuring that you use less water where possible, make sure the boiler is insulated correctly as this prolongs the temperature of the water and saves money re-heating it. Look to use gas to heat water rather than electricity as it is cheaper. And you may even be able to get involved with solar water heating systems if there are schemes in your area.
Like the boiler, older home appliances can be inefficient and cost a lot of money to run while wasting a lot of electricity. When looking at your appliances, look for their energy rating – an A+ rated 525-litre fridge could cost as little as £51 a year to run while a smaller 180-litre fridge freezer with an A+ rating could cost as little as £38.
Leaving appliances on standby was always an idea given to save electricity but this isn’t always the case. If you plan to use the appliance again in a short time then standby is logical but for longer periods or overnight, it is best to turn them off entirely and conserve power.
Windows and doors
Windows and doors are another well-publicised way to make a home more energy efficient but even then, there are different ratings without the category. Like with appliances, aim for A+ rated double glazing doors and windows to manage the temperature inside the house. Also, ensure they have the right ventilation or there is ventilation elsewhere in the house otherwise you could face a problem with condensation.
Don’t ignore conservatories and patio doors when looking at energy efficiency. These should also be double glazed to the same standard as the house to ensure they maintain the efficiency of the rest of the house.
Most utility companies will have schemes and help on hand for customers to make their homes as efficient as possible. So if you use British Gas, for example, then ring the British gas telephone number for more information and to see what you can do.