Colder days and nights equal higher heating costs. It’s no wonder we try to limit our spending on heating. Switching suppliers is often touted as the easiest way to do this. A few years ago, you could realise significant savings from doing this, but these days it’s not as much. That being said, if you are one of the people who have NEVER switched off (there are over a million of you in the UK), you can still make huge savings.
However, if you’ve exhausted that option, another way is to study your current energy usage to see where you can cut back. When done properly, it’s easy to see where we ‘bleed’ energy out of our homes. For one thing, the increase in the amount of personal electronic gadgets per person per home means we consume much more energy. Leaving these gadgets on charge, for hours on end, contributes significantly to our energy bill.
Becoming more ‘energy smart’ and controlling waste is a viable way to reduce your bills.
Weatherproofing is a proactive, yet easy option to make the right bill reducing choices. Back to our tips for weather-proofing your home this Christmas, we have a few mainstream and a few ‘out-there’ options, but trust us, they all work.
Protect your home with weatherproofing using the following tips:
1. Limit Heat Transfer.
Did you know that your windows may be a primary source of heat loss and higher energy bills? The twin factors of thermal resistance and surface area determine just how much heat transfer occurs. Thermal resistance relates to the quality of the materials in the doors, walls and windows. Surface area is related to the number of ‘holes’ i.e. openings, around the house.
Windows are more of a concern than doors because they generally have low thermal resistance and a large surface area. This makes them a prime source of heat transfer out of your home. This can be fixed by the fitting of glazed and laminated windows and glazing.
2. Lights, Please.
Do you know how many bulbs are in your home? From the downlighters, recessed lighting, standard light fittings, spotlights etc., we tend to have too many in our homes. By simply changing one bulb, you can reduce your electricity bill by about £3 per year. Replacing halogen bulbs with CFL and LED bulbs or LFLs can significantly reduce energy bills. Also use transparent or translucent shades on light fittings to guarantee the efficiency of your lighting. Darker shades and non reflective light fittings absorb the light.
3. Insulate All Windows and Doors.
Buying the right type of door is the first step to reducing high energy bills. In winter, insulating ceilings, doors and windows is vital to ensure your house stays warm, without costing you an arm and a leg. Insulation strengthens your home’s thermal barrier and reduces heat loss due to radiation, convection or conduction. An alternative to fitting double glazed windows is the use of curtains with a heavy lining. This prevents draughts and potential heat loss.
4. An Upgrade Is Due.
Still using the microwave Jimmy Tarbuck recommended back in 1982? Many older appliances are huge energy drains. Upgrading your appliances can contribute to energy savings, as newer tech uses less energy. Modern washing machines use less water to get clothes clean. Dryers have moisture sensors and will turn off when clothes are dry. The Christmas season is packed with offers on home appliances. Take advantage and get yourself some that don’t cost you a mint to use. Remember to look for the Energy Star Label when choosing an appliance.
We’ve come a long way from having only a light bulb and a hoover as the only electric appliances in our homes. Hence, you simply can’t afford to leave everything switched on ALL the time. Reducing energy use doesn’t require huge changes. Start by switching off unused lights, changing high power bulbs, conduct a DIY home energy audit and see what you can fix yourself.
5. Seal cracks, gaps or holes.
Take the time to ‘tour’ your home. To spot zones with drafts you can use the smoke from an incense stick to help locate areas where air leaks through. Having found these, prepare caulk or insulating foam and seal them up. These gaps or bypasses can occur around patio doors, pipes, windows, and wiring that passes through the floor. If you have the space available, you can plant a row of bushes to create a wind barrier to protect the windy side of your home.
6. Keep pipes unfrozen.
A cold snap can lead to frozen and, potentially, burst pipes. Regardless of if you are in a new building or a heritage cottage, the ensuing flood is never good news. To keep pipes unfrozen, ensure there is adequate pipe insulation on all pipes. All lagging on pipes must also be securely fitted. Under NO circumstances, should you ever try to use a blowtorch to thaw frozen pipes. There have been too many case of explosions and fire resulting from this silly method.
7. Examine all doors.
Make sure you replace old and draughty ones with tight-sealing doors. Old windows can be replaced or retrofitted with low-E, double or triple glazed windows.
These three are the most common home weatherproofing options we know. Join us next week for a list of ways to reduce your’s (or your Nan’s) energy expenses. Some of these tips are straight DIY jobs and can be accomplished with a trip to the local hardware store. A few require professional input. Regardless of the complexity of the job, take the time to explore the house and see where you can save during the coming cold days.
SRL Limited can get you started with our range of patio doors and glazing.
We try to educate our customers on their options so they make an informed choice. While some installers may try to sell you triple glazing over double, we would advise you to find out your needs and make your choice. Contact our expert engineers for more tips on reducing your energy bills and consumption.