With the UK's high cost of living, people often struggle to pay their energy bills. Running a household is more expensive than ever, but there are ways to reduce your energy usage and make big long-term savings.
How can energy efficiency save you money?
There are several reasons why making your home more energy efficient matters.
In general, the main concern is the cost of running a home. People have more devices and appliances than ever before. That ramps up the cost of your utilities considerably. Boosting your home’s energy efficiency can lower the amount you’re spending.
But it’s also worth remembering that a more energy-efficient home is more comfortable, too. Making changes could mean being able to run your heating a little earlier, or being able to take a hotter shower.
Finally, there’s the positive impact that you’ll have on the environment. Using less energy means needing less non-renewable energy production.
So, there are plenty of reasons to make changes – but where do you start?
How energy efficient is your home?
If you want to improve your home’s efficiency, you need to understand its current condition.
There’s a good chance that you know some of the weaknesses already present. Do the windows need replacing? Do you have an old boiler? Or is there limited insulation?
These types of questions are a good start.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) could highlight your home’s issues. It’s possible your certificate is outdated, though. For more detail, you could arrange a more thorough assessment.
If saving money is your goal, contacting a domestic energy assessor is a good start. Once you know where your property is lacking, you can start making changes.
How to improve your home’s energy efficiency
Your home might have several flaws, but that just means there’s plenty of opportunity for improvement.
Here are some game-changers that will help with saving energy.
1. Add property insulation
Heating (and cooling) a home demands a lot of energy. But you’ll find keeping the interior at a comfortable temperature much easier with proper insulation.
You’ll want to install insulation in every nook and cranny for the biggest impact. The most efficient homes have insulation in the roof, walls, and even the floors. A complete installation should give you a draught-proof property – and smaller heating bills.
Some insulators cost more than others. Whatever you choose, the cost of hiring insulation installers is small compared to the long-term savings you’ll enjoy. Heat loss tends to be highest through the roof, so if you’re limited by budget, that should be a priority.
2. Insulate your boiler
Providing hot water for both taps and central heating, the boiler is a crucial component in every home.
They require a lot of energy to run, making it extra important they’re optimised properly. To avoid unnecessary heat loss, ensure that your property’s hot water tank and connecting pipes are insulated.
By adding cylinder jackets and foam tubing, you’re reducing the need to reheat water. This is especially important if you have an older boiler installed.
3. Replace your boiler
Insulating your boiler is smart, but might not be enough. The cost of a new boiler is off-putting, but there are good reasons to consider a change.
To start with, older boilers are more likely to break down. This might mean losing service and needing a costly repair. You might also find your boiler isn’t heating water reliably, which undermines your heating systems and hot water needs.
The chief concern, though, is the cost of an inefficient boiler. Older designs can cost homeowners hundreds of pounds every year . Buying a new boiler can be expensive, but the long-term boost to your savings account makes it worthwhile.
There are a few different options to choose from when replacing your boiler. Connect with local heating engineers and boiler installation services to get started.
4. Upgrade your plumbing
Over time, wasteful water consumption can really hurt your bank account. By replacing your plumbing fittings with newer models, you can save a small fortune.
Low-flow taps, showerheads, and dual-flush toilets will all reduce your water usage. Their clever design means you can expect high performance but at a reduced cost.
This also limits your water heating costs. When you use less water with a low-flow showerhead, you also need to heat less water.
Here, the cost of hiring a plumber is dwarfed by the long-term savings you’ll make.
5. Install LED lighting
Lights in your home account for a significant portion of your electricity usage. It’s important to turn lights off when you leave a room, but installing energy-efficient lighting matters too.
Modern LED bulbs are far more efficient than old halogen and fluorescent bulbs. Replacing inefficient bulbs throughout your home is an easy way to save money.
At Energy Saving Trust , they say an average household could recoup the cost of LED bulbs in just over two years. The savings only continue to pile up from there.
6. Consider new appliances
Most homes are packed with devices and appliances nowadays. They all need electricity, so replacing old, outdated models with more efficient units could be worthwhile.
Start by learning about energy labels. Ranging from A to G, these labels denote energy efficiency. This is useful for buying new devices or appliances. They can also help you identify the most demanding items in your home.
Replacing your condenser dryer with a heat pump tumble dryer, for example, will save you hundreds of pounds over the years. Further savings are possible by replacing your washing machine, fridge-freezer, and other appliances.
7. Check your electrics
Faulty wiring, appliances, and even your meter could be causing a hike in your electricity bills.
The simple way to detect these issues is by hiring an electrician . A full electrical inspection will quickly flag any issues that need fixing.
If your wiring needs to be replaced, or if it’s time for a smart meter, savings will soon follow. Local electricians can get rid of dodgy electrics, and that could also save your home from a potential disaster. Electrical fires are a real possibility.
8. Install new windows & doors
Single-glazing leads to energy loss and undermines efficiency. You can plug the leak by installing double-glazed windows and doors instead.
Adding double-glazing – or triple-glazing – introduces strong thermal insulation. This keeps the heat in and lowers the demands on your central heating.
In properties where new window installations aren’t allowed – such as listed properties – secondary glazing is a good alternative.
9. Explore solar power
Solely reliant on the sun, solar power is the cleanest and cheapest form of energy around.
Adding solar panels to your property will lead to much smaller electricity bills. You can even make money through excess production.
Solar panel systems are fairly expensive, and getting a return on one takes about 10 years. This makes them ideal for new homes, but if you’re planning on moving soon, solar panels might not be the best choice.
Saving energy: building a better home
By taking action now, you can save thousands of pounds in the long run.
Adding new windows, replacing your boiler, and extensive electrical and plumbing work doesn’t come cheap. Despite that, the eventual savings make it all worthwhile.
If you’re concerned about costs, read about the Green Deal to learn how to pay for energy-saving improvements.
Now, take the first step towards cutting your costs by connecting with a domestic energy assessor near you – get informed, then start making changes.