It’s the time of year when temperatures are dropping, evenings are getting darker and millions of us are preparing to spend more time at home.
And no, not just because the Government told us to stay inside again … winter is on its way.
We often celebrate the joys of cold weather, but many people struggle to keep their homes as warm as they could be, especially when they’re on a tight budget.
While some of us will begrudgingly put on an extra jumper or throw another blanket on the bed, there are more practical energy-efficiency tips that can help keep your home warm and save you money.
Extra layers aren’t the best way to cope
Some 65 per cent of people recently surveyed said that they pull on an extra layer to stay warm indoors.
But whilst wearing a thick jumper around the house is actually very sensible in many ways, your home really should keep you warm without it.
A DIY draught solution
Research has found that 46 per cent of households haven’t draught-proofed their windows and doors.
Draught proofing is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency in your home.
It’s something that can be done yourself relatively easily using plastic seal strips – and you will see an instant benefit.
For around £120 of materials (plus your own labour) it’s possible to save around £50 per year on your energy bills.
A draught-proofed home feels so much warmer, and it means you can turn the thermostat down.
Consider buying a new boiler
Modern boilers can be much more efficient than older models and pay for themselves relatively quickly.
Boiler specialists Woolfoot Heating say that if your boiler is more than 10 years old, you should think about replacing it with a newer condensing boiler.
The money you’ll save is dependent on your current boiler’s age and efficiency rating, the type of energy it uses and what kind of home you live in, but the savings could be significant.
If your boiler is relatively new, then an annual boiler service is the easiest way to avoid winter breakdowns and ensure everything is in working order.
Ideally, you should get your boiler serviced before the cold weather really kicks in to avoid peak demand.
Lag, insulate, or pipe down…
Another quick and easy way to save energy and money is to insulate the hot water pipes around your home. As well as reducing heat loss, pipe-lagging also prevents them getting too cold in freezing weather and potentially bursting.
Foam insulation tubes can be bought from most DIY stores or online and just slip over your pipes. For a typical three-bed semi, materials will cost around £20 and you will start saving immediately.
Make your hot water cylinder cosy…
Most hot water cylinders in UK households have some form of insulation, but hot water tanks with protective ‘jackets’ under 25mm thick would benefit from top-up insulation.
A hot water cylinder jacket usually costs around £16, and increasing the thickness of the insulation from 25mm to 80mm could save you around £20 a year.
Increase your loft insulation
Again, the majority of properties have loft insulation of some type, but many don’t have enough to efficiently stop heat escaping through the roof.
The recommended depth is currently 270mm, and increasing it could cost around £300, but will save you hundreds of pounds a year in the longer term.