It could be that making your home more energy efficient mightn’t be possible if you're renting, or you don't have thousands of pounds stashed away to buy new heat pumps and double glazing. Don’t despair, here are four cheap ways to save energy at home. Propensio have looked at where you’re likely to be losing the most energy in your home and come up with some simple solutions to help save money on your bills and keep warm this winter.
Warm air wants to leave your home and will find any nook and cranny to do so. As it does, cold air is sucked in to replace it, causing draughts. It makes your home cold and wastes energy.
Shutting doors and closing windows mightn’t be enough as any gaps in the frames allow warm air to escape – and that’s lost money. With thermal image pictures, you can see the draughts as the coldest areas around a front door.
The letterbox is a big escape route for hot air. Simply by adding a draught excluder – or even a rolled-up towel – the draughts can be blocked.
Energy-saving campaigners and firms agree one of the simplest solutions to keeping the warmth in is to use a draught excluder. Combined with draught-proofing of windows and doors, it could help cut around £25 a year off your bills.
A rolled-up towel by the front door may not be the most attractive household feature. There are some really nice ones, or you can always make and decorate one yourself.
Easy to make, just follow these simple instructions. It’s important to make sure the draught excluder covers the width of the door.
For the really crafty, Home Energy Scotland have a pattern for a knitted version.
If you can’t get windows replaced with double glazing, the Energy Saving Trust says it is worth getting some heavy curtains to help keep the heat in the room.
You might not want to sit in the dark all day, so look out for cheap DIY kits available that use a thin plastic sheet to cover the window, blocking draughts.
They are sometimes shrink-fitted into place with a hairdryer and can be removed and replaced as required.
Insulating your loft is like wearing a woolly hat. It traps the warmth below keeping you cosy. However, the hatch is just like any other door and needs attention too.
To make sure it is snugly insulated around the edges is an easy fix.
One suggestion online is to glue a plastic bag to the back of the hatch, fill it with some of the loft insulation and then seal it up. It should help insulate the hatch and flop over the edges when you pull it shut, stopping draughts from escaping.
There are many small things we can do around the house that help save energy and money that only require tweaks to our behaviour rather than installing, fitting or making anything.
There are also other small changes to your daily routine that cost nothing and save energy. The obvious ones are: spending less time in the shower (potentially saving about £10 a year), turning off the lights (£14) or turning down the thermostat (saving up to £55).
Most energy companies will install a smart meter for free so you can help monitor your energy use and spending.
The Eco-Experts blog recommends “heating the humans, not the building” – so maybe don’t keep the central heating on all the time if you’re not cold, and don’t heat rooms you’re not in.
Other ideas include:
- Put lids on pots and pans when cooking – it’ll be done quicker
- Use a microwave to reheat food rather than the oven
- Don’t overfill the kettle. Filling a kettle for two cups of tea rather than boiling a full kettle could save you around £45 a year
- Defrost your fridge – it will work more efficiently
- Buy a smaller telly – Age UK says in general smaller TVs cost less to run and plasma screens use more electricity
Finally, there is the old favourite – repeated by parents down the ages and still on the elderly by Age UK’s advice. If you’re cold, put on an extra layer. Several thin layers of clothing keep you warmer than one thick layer, as the layers trap warm air between them.