The months are getting colder and we’re all feeling the pinch on these energy bills. No doubt you’ve got lots of techniques yourself for saving energy around the home, but hopefully you’ll find one or two here to help that you hadn’t already thought of!
Energy Saving Resources
Firstly, let’s establish what your home’s energy efficiency is. Check the Energy Performance certificate for your home here: gov.uk/find-energy-certificate. EPC’s have been a legal requirement since 2007 – when selling a property, an EPC must be created by a qualified energy assessor. If you’re renting, your estate agent will provide you with this. Do check out your property on there – it has tonnes of useful information about where you might be able to save energy around your home.
Because of government carbon emission goals, there’s some help out there for making your home more energy efficient. If you qualify, they could be a great help to those high energy bills.
Sustainable Warmth Scheme
If you’re an Essex homeowner, you may be eligible for up to £10,000 of work to make energy efficiency improvements to your home through the Sustainable Warmth Scheme.
Your home must have a low energy rating of D or below and a household income below £30,000. Even if your household income is over this, you may still meet the criteria if you receive certain benefits.
Boiler Upgrade Scheme
The government is providing grants to encourage property owners to switch to heating systems which are better for the environment because they don’t burn fossil fuels.
You can get money off of low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps, through the Scheme (Boiler Upgrade Scheme – BUS), but only if you don’t have any loft or wall insulation recommendations on your EPA. Check out the scheme here.
Saving energy with Free Life Hacks
- Close curtains before it’s dark
- Stop draughts with window insulation, and rolled towels at doors.
- Turning your boiler down just 1°c could save up to £128 per year in heating bills.
- Dry clothes on an airer in a small room with a window slightly ajar to avoid damp. This can save up to £60
per year in electricity of running a tumble dryer.
- Request a smart meter from your energy supplier. It’s amazing how much simply noticing what you’re using
helps to drive down your energy usage.
- LIGHTS! Switch em off every time you leave a room
Saving energy with small investments
Radiators Valves (TRV) are really cheap and easy to install. They help you to control the temperature of each individual radiator, meaning you can lower the temperature of radiators in rooms which you’re not using, so that your boiler can focus on heating the ones you are using. This is particularly useful if you work from home and want to heat the living room, but not all the bedrooms during the day. Close all those rooms off and lower their radiators. If you want them warm for the evenings, you could always switch them back on later in the day for a few hours.
TVR’s are as little as £10, and you can fit them yourself with some basic tools and a YouTube explainer video! If you don’t have tools, why not take a look at the Library of things, a fabulous project which aims to make household tools and other items available for residents to borrow for a short while, rather than having to buy them. Great for the pocket and the environment! There’s only a few libraries in Essex which take part, but you can reserve items for collection from the mobile library service, when it visits your area.
You never want to replace something that’s operational – it goes against the whole idea! BUT when your lightbulbs blow, be sure to replace them with LEDs next time. Whilst they’re more expensive to buy in the short term, they use 70-80% less electricity and last for years. Why not add one to your shopping list every other month in readiness!
Wrap up your hot water tank and pipes
Buying an insulating jacket for your water tank will keep the water hotter for longer and lower your energy consumption. Wrapping a foam tube around your hot water pipes will do the same!
Unless you’re bulk cooking, or cooking for lots of people, air fryers and microwaves are the cheapest ways to cook.
It’s not always easy to make swaps for other electrical goods when – despite the long-term savings – you have to invest in them in the first place. You could spend several hundred on an air fryer, but as they’ve become more popular they have reduced in price a lot – you can actually get a new airfryer from Argos for only £56. Or, if you really want to up your sustainability points, and make even more savings, look out on eBay or Facebook marketplace for a second-hand one. I like to set alerts on both so that as soon as one goes on sale, I’ll get a notification about it!
Saving energy with big investments
Energy saving and money saving generally go hand in hand – except when you have a huge outlay! Being able to plan for the long term is a luxury that not everyone can afford, I know. But if you can afford to upgrade some things, you will be quids in for the long term.
Replace your boiler
Modern condensing boilers are designed to reuse excess heat in their power cycle which means they use FAR less energy to run. They’re a big outlay to start with, but there’s a reason they’re always top of the list of ways to save energy in the home – because older boilers weren’t built nearly as efficiently – add to that 15+ years of wear and tear and that will drop even further – draining resources to run because it’s not up to the task any more! So if you can afford the initial cost, it’s well worth upgrading.
If you can’t afford the initial outlay (and with the current cost of living, more and more people can’t), dependant on the age/efficiency of your current boiler, you might find that getting a boiler on finance actually works out cheaper for you on a monthly basis, once the reduction in heat bills is taken into consideration.
I’d never promote the idea of getting loans or getting into debt if you can’t afford it, but I do suggest doing your research and weighing up that monthly cost against your bills – it might just even out in the short term. And once you’ve covered the cost of the installation, you’re really going to start seeing the savings. This is a fab website quiz to take to help you find the best boiler for your home – heatable.co.uk/compare/boiler-quotes
I have recently invested in solar panels for my home. I had looked into alternative boiler technologies to reduce our household’s carbon footprint (and the energy bill’s footprint on my bank account!), and honestly, at the moment I’m not entirely convinced by the new heat pump boilers. I looked into solar panels instead, and they seemed the most sensible way to go for our property.
I was shocked at the difference – literally thousands – between one supplier and another for the same specification panels. It really reinforced my thoughts on always getting three quotes for any big property expenses.
Now, this is a big outlay! I actually got a loan to pay for it because when I did the maths, even with the monthly payments repaying the installation cost, we won’t be paying more than our energy bills would have cost without the solar panels. What a win! And once they’re paid off (in many years!), our home will no longer rely on extortionately expensive (to the planet and our finances) energy.
Call me a nerd if you will…but I did the sums, and the research to find the very best option for us. I poured over web pages, and facebook groups. And, well…there’s a spreadsheet! It really helped me to see all the details clearly and make a good choice, one that I wouldn’t take lightly with the costs involved. If you’re considering getting solar panels installed, feel free to use my nerdsheet to compare options – I hope it’s helpful to you!