Cheap ways to save energy at home ...
Some of the most effective energy efficient improvements you can make to your home are either free or cheap to apply and will have an immediate impact on your energy bills.
The hardest part is becoming more aware of your energy habits and changing the way you use gas and electricity every day. Until recently, most of us have taken cheap energy for granted and expected a never ending supply on demand.
But as winter approaches many UK households face the prospect of even higher fuel bills as a combination of recent price rises and poorly insulated homes take their toll on the cost of living.
You can combat this by making a few simple changes to your energy habits and a small investment in insulation products. As 50% of the heat in your home is lost through the roof, walls and doors, this can have a dramatic effect on your heating bills this winter and beyond.
How will your home rate?
An added benefit of making your home more energy efficient is that it may be easier to sell.
From June 2007, all homes being sold in th UK will have to declare an energy efficient rating to potential buyers as part of a Home Information Pack. This rating will compare the efficiency of your home to others of the same type and may become an important buying feature as the cost of running a home continues to increase.
Top 5 cheap ways to save energy at home
Start applying these measures to see your energy bills reduce. But before you do, check with your energy supplier and local authority as you maight qualify for an energy saving grant to help you with any costs.
1.LOOK FOR THE LOGO
When you replace your existing appliances, look for products that display the energy saving recommended logo. These products have to meet strict efficiency criteria, don't necessarily cost any more than less efficient models and can save you £50 per year.
2.CHANGE YOUR LIGHT BULBS
Lighting accounts for 15% of our electric bills and research by the Dept of Environment has shown that £1 out of every £3 spent on lighting and heating a home is wasted.
Normal light bulbs cost less than energy efficient bulbs, but they don't really save you money. An energy saving light bulb will cost you around £3.50 compared to 50p for a normal one, but it will save you around £9 on your annual electric bill and up to £100 over its lifetime!
3.INSULATE YOUR HOT WATER TANK
Insulating your hot water tank will reduce heat loss by up to 70% and you can fit them yourself for £10.
It costs you money to heat your water, so to minimise the heat lost from the tank fit a water tank jacket thats at least 75mm thick. It will only cost a few pounds and save £15-£20 per year.
A typical home loses 20% of its heat through draughty doors, windows and ventilation ducts.
Fit draught proofing products to your doors, windows and keyholes. You can buy them from DIY stores but check that they comply with standard BS7386 for maximum efficiency and durability.
5.INSULATE YOUR LOFT
Insulating your loft is one of the most cost effective ways to reduce your heating bills and you can do-it-yourself.
By laying down loft insulation to the recommended thickness of 270mm you could knock up to £200 off your annual heating bill. Make sure you use protective gloves and goggles if you install the insulation yourself.
Energy Saving Tip: Letter boxes and key holes can let in draughts. Fit a nylon brush seal or a spring flap and put a cover over a key hole to keep the heat in.