Make your home more energy efficient
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Making your home as energy efficient as possible isn’t just good for the environment, it can radically reduce your bills and free up extra cash that you can either invest into further efficiencies or put towards other expenses like holidays, your mortgage or rainy day savings.
There is a lot you can do really easily without much investment, so here are some top tips to get you started:
Who is your energy supplier?
The first and most obvious thing to do is head over to comparethemarket.com and make sure that you are getting the best possible deal on your gas and electricity. Energy suppliers often change their rates after you’ve been with them for a year or more, so it can really pay off to keep track of who is the current cheapest supplier for your area.
Other small changes you can make include replacing all your light bulbs with energy saving bulbs. These days energy saving bulbs provide excellent light quality, and although they cost a little more they last much longer than normal bulbs so you’ll make a saving in the long run because you won’t have to replace bulbs as often.
On the subject of lighting; if your kitchen or bathroom has a strip light it’s worth knowing that these use the majority of their energy when they are turning on and off. So although usually you’d be advised to always turn a light off when you leave the room, strip lights can be the exception to this rule. If you are going to be turning the light on and off several times (going in and out of the room) it may actually be more energy efficient to leave it on for the whole evening.
You’ve got to be proactive about using your central heating efficiently. Before you start thinking about how long you need to have it on for, and when is too early to start using it (October? November?), you should make sure that your home can retain heat efficiently.
Line doorways and window frames with draught excluding tape, and if you have big gaps under certain doors get some chunky draught excluders than you can use to plug these gaps. Heat escapes very quickly when you’ve got a draughty house so you’ll be amazed at the difference this can make. Likewise if you’ve got single glazed windows make sure you have thick curtains which you close in the evenings.
Next it’s a great idea to fit a timer on your central heating and water heater. This way you can set them to only come on at the times when you really need them, and you won’t accidentally leave your heating on all day or night.
You need to ensure that your appliances are pulling their weight in the energy saving battle. If you’ve got a really old fridge, freezer or washing machine it might be worth investing in a new model. In the last few years appliances have started being built with energy efficiency properly in mind, so old appliances are likely to be draining energy and costing a lot to run.
There are some things you can do to maximise their efficiency though. For example, make sure you regularly defrost your freezer as the build-up of ice in a freezer really affects how efficiently it runs. Lastly, if possible it’s best to simply avoid having a tumble dryer at all. These are really inefficient so if you can let things dry naturally you’ll save yourself some serious pennies.
Lastly, if you really want to save energy you can consider making some big investments such as adding double glazing, cavity wall insulation and solar panels. All of these options are excellent for an energy efficient home, and if you can put aside some money by making the small changes suggested above it’s much easier to justify getting out the big guns.
Do bear in mind that although these alterations are expensive, they make a home much more energy efficient and they’re also likely to increase the value of your home.
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