Dominic Littlewood shares energy saving tips
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Soaring energy bills mean many homeowners will be attempting to go as long as possible without turning the heating on this winter, but as temperatures start dropping, there’s no doubt this will become an increasingly difficult task. However, there are some simple ways to make heat in the home last longer while keeping costs low.
Andy Kerr, founder at BOXT, said: “With the cost of living rising, people up and down the country are worried about their heating bills heading into the winter months. And with thousands of Britons still working from home, many will be looking for alternative ways to heat their home office in order to save on their energy bills.”
However, there are a few ways people can delay turning their heating on this winter and improve the efficiency of the heating when it is finally used.
Utilise daylight hours
While the days are shorter in the winter, natural light can still be used effectively to help heat the home.
Mr Kerr said: “Keep your blinds and curtains open to let the sun naturally heat up your home, then, once it gets dark, close them again.
“Your curtains or blinds will then act as a layer of insulation during the dark nights and keep your room warmer.”
Draught-proof your home
A great way to keep the home warmer during the cold for cheaper is to reduce any drafts, and a key way to achieve this is to insulate the roof, walls, window sashes, and door frames more effectively.
Marianne Suhr, chartered building surveyor and spokeswoman for the National Home Energy Week, commented: “Almost certainly your hallway will be a draughty area and your front door may be the culprit. Check whether the draught sealing around the door needs replacing and consider installing a rail and putting up a thick floor-to-ceiling curtain to cover the door at night.
“If the wind is whistling through the keyhole, attach a keyhole cover (escutcheon plate) and place a block of foam inside the letter flap.”
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Exposed windows are one of the main causes of heat loss in homes because glass isn’t a good insulator and will allow cold air to enter.
To fix this, experts advise hanging some tightly fitted, roman thermal blinds. These are designed to offer effective temperature control all year round.
Unbeatable Blinds experts said: “Aluminium-coated blinds with honeycomb pockets are particularly good at regulating temperature as they trap air inside.
“This creates a thermal barrier between the window and your home, reducing heat loss by up to 40 percent.”
The best thermal blinds are those fitted close to the window within the recess as they prevent draughts, however, according to experts, they can still make a difference if they are hung outside of the window, especially if there is a generous overlap of fabric to cover the surrounding of the wall.
Use a smart meter
Smart meters can provide a more accurate measurement of energy usage with the in-home display that comes with them.
Mr Kerr said: “With more information on your day-to-day energy use, you can see when you’re using the most energy, and identify ways to cut back and in turn, save money.”
Use thermostatic radiator valves to control the temperature room by room
According to the Energy Saving Trust, installing thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) and using them with a thermostat could help people save up to £75 per year.
EST experts recommend using the thermostat to control the heat in the main living space and using TRVs to lower the heating in rooms not used as often.
Mr Kerr said: “While you’re working from home, you can keep the temperature comfortable in the room you work in, and reduce it in other areas to avoid heating up rooms when they’re not being used.”
Making sure radiators are running efficiently is another easy way of avoiding wasted energy, and there are a few simple ways to do this.
Mr Kerr said: “Firstly, carefully check to see if there are any cold spots on the radiators while your heating is turned on. If there are, then it means there is air trapped in the system, which leads to a reduction in efficiency.
“Bleed your radiators to release the air and get your heating system running more efficiently.”
Secondly, removing any obstructions, such as furniture, from in front of radiators will help to ensure no heat is wasted.
Experts at Utility Bidder said: “Make sure there are no items of furniture, such as a sofa, in front of the radiator, as this will soak up the majority of the heat. Instead, leave the radiators exposed in order for them to heat the whole room.”
Keep doors closed
Another top tip to control the heat circulating the home is to keep doors closed. It will reduce the airflow and help each room stay warmer for longer.
Check boiler pressure
Mr Kerr said: “Examining the boiler’s pressure level is a must, as it will give you a good idea of what state your heating is in. If the gauge is in the red zone (too high or too low), then your hot water and heating will cut off.
“Don’t panic, though – this can happen sometimes, and your pressure will simply need topping up. If this happens regularly, it may be a sign that you’ve had a leaky radiator or in the worst case, you’ll need to start thinking about a new boiler.”
Still cold? Turn the heating on but reduce the thermostat
By reducing the thermostat by just 1C, experts at Energy Saving Trust say people can save up to 10 percent on their heating bill.
Jordan Chance, heating expert from PlumbNation said: “The typical heating range is between 18- 21C, so see how low you can go.”
However, Mr Chance noted: “It is also important to avoid classic thermostat ‘faux pas’. Contrary to popular belief, turning up your thermostat does not heat up your room faster. This method will only send your energy bills skyrocketing.”
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