Properties in the UK are poorly insulated, especially when compared to other European countries. This means that much of the fuel we pay for and use is wasted as heat lost to the outside air through walls, windows, floors, and roofs. To compensate, we turn heating systems up to higher temperatures and leave them on for longer. Whether you are concerned about heating costs, your impact on the environment, or both, there are some simple ways you can take action. Here are five tips to help you improve the energy efficiency of your home heating system, lower your heating bills and, of course, reduce your carbon footprint.
- Draught proof floors, doors, and windows
According to the Energy Saving Trust, insulating and draught-proofing floors can result in savings of between £25-£65 per year (depending on the type of house). You can install insulation underneath floors in some cases but laying carpet over wooden floors can also be beneficial. When looking for a high-quality carpet, you should ensure you also install thick underlay to increase the level of insulation. Visit aflooringboutique.co.uk for more information.
Windows and doors can also allow heat to escape if they are not sealed adequately. This can be done very easily by adding draught-proofing strips or silicone strips around the gaps. Draughts through letterboxes, keyholes, and gaps at the top and bottom of doors can also be covered with these strips. If you have a chimney there are draught excluders specifically designed for chimney openings.
- Upgrade your boiler
If you are relying on a gas or oil boiler which is more than 8 years old, then it is likely you will save a lot of fuel and money by upgrading to a new model. Modern condensing boilers are legally required to be at least 92% efficient (only wasting 8% of the fuel it uses) while older boilers are often 60-75% efficient. Replacing an old boiler could reduce heating fuel bills by as much as £375 per year in some properties.
- Get smarter heating controls
Heating controls have also moved on considerably in recent years. By installing a smart thermostat, you can control your heating via an app on a smart device wherever you are in the world (as long as you have an internet connection). Some smart thermostats also enable you to track your energy consumption and identify where you could be making savings. Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) enable you to set different temperatures for different rooms, so you are not heating rooms unnecessarily.
- Improve insulation
Increasing insulation to the walls, floors, and roof can reduce heat loss significantly, reduce heating costs, and generally make a home much more comfortable. In the winter, you will feel more of the warmth as it will not escape, and in summer, you will be able to shut out the heat. Any insulation you install must be compliant with building regulations.
While insulation is not cheap, financial help is available. From September 2020 until March 2021, the government is offering Green Homes Grants of up to £5,000 (up to £10,000 for the poorest households) to help UK homeowners to insulate their homes and/or adopt a renewable heating system. Click here for more information.
- Lag hot water pipes and tanks
Hot water will lose its heat as it travels through the pipes in your home and while it sits in a hot water cylinder. You can reduce heat loss by insulating the pipes and tank with lagging which is foam tubing. If your radiators are wall-hung, placing a reflective panel behind them will prevent the wall from absorbing the heat and reflect more back into the room.