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If you’ve estimated your energy bill and the figure gave you grey hairs, you’ll be pleased to learn that making a few simple changes to your home and habits could significantly reduce your energy use.
Whether you’re prepared to invest in major efficiency gains or you’re limited to smaller adjustments, these tips will help you reduce your energy use and save money.
As is often the case, the more money you have, the more money you can save. Home energy efficiency is no exception. If you can afford to invest in a few energy-saving features, you can look forward to significant financial savings down the line.
Replace Your Door
While your door may be perfectly functional in other ways, it’s worth considering whether the materials your front door is made of help or hinder your quest for energy efficiency. If you haven’t heard of composite doors yet, meet the new kid on the block. Improve energy efficiency is just one reason why composite doors are better than standard UPVC front doors. Another way to prevent heat loss through your door is to invest in a storm door if you live in a very cold climate. That added protective barrier is great for blocking the chill.
Insulate Your Attic
Attics are notorious heat guzzlers. Improving your attic’s insulation will prevent heat from escaping from the rest of the house, bringing your energy costs down. Additional insulation can be reasonably affordable, but it will be a more expensive investment if your home is large and you live in an extreme climate. While the upfront investment might sting, your wallet will thank you later, as heat loss through the ceiling is one of the main culprits when it comes to energy waste.
One of the more expensive home efficiency solutions, solar panels are gaining popularity due to their eco-friendly credentials. If you’re interested in saving money on energy bills, why not take the opportunity to shun fossil fuels while you’re at it? Having solar panels installed on top of your house means you’ll benefit from extra energy provided by the sun… for free! Whether you use the energy to heat your bath water or run your swimming pool filter, supplementing your usual energy use with solar power will bring your bill down.
If you can’t stretch the budget for major updates right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t save money on power. Try these simple, low-cost solutions.
Lower Your Thermostat
While being cold in your own home should never be considered a money-saving option, it’s worth taking the trouble to lower your thermostat temperature for periods when you will be out of the house. Just a few degrees will make a huge difference to your monthly power bill. While forming the habit is useful, you will be able to schedule automatic drops in temperature for periods when you know you will be out of the home, like when you’re at work. One of the best times to take advantage of these tips is if you’re going on holiday. Don’t lower the temperature so far that your pipes risk freezing. Do leave the house cold enough that you might have to wear jackets inside for a few hours after you get home. Sure, it’s not the most pleasant homecoming, but you’ll save loads.
Seal Your Windows
Unless you live in a barn, sealing the nooks and crannies shouldn’t be too hard. Windows are prime areas for extra sealing measures, especially if they are not double glazed. Weatherstripping works wonders on draughty windows, and if you don’t mind the slightly strange look, feel free to lay plastic wrap over your window panes. Seal cracks in drywall with silicone and you’re sure to notice a reduction in your heating bill this coming winter.
Up Your Laundry Game
If you set your washing machine to run a hot cycle, you’re adding 90% extra energy use to what you would use to run a cold wash. While a hot wash is useful for heavily soiled items, most of your regular-use clothes will come out clean after a cold wash. While you might not think that a single load of washing will make a big difference, consider how many loads you run per week. Or do a test: run only cold cycles for a month, and take a look at the energy bill at the end of the month. If your savings make your jaw drop, you’ll get used to the cold wash!
What’s worse than running a hot wash? Unnecessarily using the tumble dryer. It’s understandable to use a dryer to dry heavy clothing in the colder months, but the problem comes in when using the dryer becomes a habitual step in your laundry process. Make allowances when you need to in winter, but if at all possible, avoid the tumble dryer like the plague for the rest of the year. Hot tip: the dryer is bad for your clothes, too. Hanging them on the line rather than throwing them in the dryer will make them last longer, so you’re saving money on the clothing budget front as well.
Avoid Using Heaters
While it’s tempting to toast your feet in front of a nice warm heater, these smaller heating solutions aren’t especially energy-efficient. You could be using over 1500 watts to run space heater for a short period, and once you turn the heater off, much of that heat will be lost if you have not made other heat-saving adjustments to your living space. If you do use a heater, it’s worth checking out the energy rating of the particular model you’re using. Some are worse than others. It may be worth your while buying a new one with a decent energy-efficiency rating rather than using the one you inherited from your great aunt. When all else fails, layer up! It needn’t feel like summer inside the house when it’s winter outside. As long as your home is dry and well ventilated, you needn’t worry about dropping the thermostat a little now and then to save money if you’re happy to rug up.
Whether you live in a large home or a small rented flat, these adjustments will help you get your energy bill under control.