Energy prices are soaring but there are lots of simple steps households can take to limit the amount they spend on energy now and in the months and years ahead without breaking the bank.
At Glow Group, we work hard to help our clients make their homes energy efficient. We mainly do this through optimising their central heating systems to improve performance while reducing energy consumption, but there are countless other ways to reduce costs.
With the energy price cap having risen by £693 from April, most energy providers are forcing people onto variable tariffs at or near to the price cap once their fixed term contracts end. If you’ve previously shopped around the best rate, you could see your energy costs rise by £1,000 or more – and the cap is expected to increase further this Autumn, meaning costs will reach even higher from October.
This is a huge cost, only partially offset by a £150 council tax rebate and a £200 mandatory, interest-free loan from the Government. Even with this support, many will be shocked by the amount they’ll have to pay over the coming months and years.
This being the situation, it’s well worth taking a series of steps now to reduce your energy use with some small DIY jobs to make the cost of living less daunting.
Boosting the efficiency of your central heating
You’ll probably expect that, as a company of boiler and central heating installers, we’d urge you to get the latest and greatest boiler and a new central heating system. For most people, this is likely to have a major impact on efficiency because heating and hot water accounts for over half of household energy bills each year.
If your boiler was fitted before 2005, it’s well worth replacing your boiler if you can. If not, it could be worth considering changing your heating system anyway because it may be that your setup isn’t the most appropriate for your current needs.
If you choose to update a gas boiler with a newer, more efficient model, it’s worth taking stock to consider whether to switch to a combi or system boiler. Combi-boilers are ideal for small households, but system boilers with water tanks are more efficient at producing hot water and they can store energy generated from solar panels making them better suited to larger families.
Replacing a boiler needn’t be expensive – we offer boiler installation from just £1,599 with £150 cashback and it could save you much more in the long run.
The Energy Saving Trust calculates that switching a D-rated gas boiler to an A-rated condensing boiler with a programmer, thermostat and thermostatic radiator controls could save you £260 per year while switching from a G-rated boiler could save £580.
If you decide to replace an older gas boiler with a low or zero carbon heating system such as a heat pump you’ll face a bigger one-off investment but it could save you £910 per year compared to an old G-rated boiler – or more if it’s paired with solar panels or other green electricity generation, meaning it’d pay for itself within a few years.
If your boiler is already an efficient model, or if you can’t afford to replace it, then a simple inspection and service is your next best option to make sure it’s working as efficiently as possible. You can also boost its performance and efficiency by removing dirty water and sludge with a powerflush.
Smarter heating controls
Having an A-rated boiler or heat pump will make a big difference but it’s also worth upgrading your heating controls or learning to use them more effectively.
Fitting new thermostats and controls to your heating system can make your energy go much further by targeting specific rooms at specific times of the day. This means you can save money on heating empty rooms or getting your house to a comfortable temperature just when you’re about to leave.
Whether it’s a traditional mechanical thermostat or an internet-connected control that automatically adjusts to your habits, these can help your system to work far more efficiently, saving the average semi-detached up to £130 per year.
Efficiently warming your house is only part of the solution to reducing your energy bills – you also need to keep that warmth inside your home.
More than a quarter of the heat in an uninsulated house escapes through the roof and while most homes have some loft insulation, they won’t have enough.
The Energy Saving Trust calculates that topping up from 120mm of glass wool insulation to 270mm (costing around £465) will save you £25 per year on heating. If you’re prepared to spend more on high performance insulation, you could be saving more than a hundred pounds per month during the winter.
As well as improving the insulation in your roof, walls and floors, you can make more gains from something as simple as stopping draughts and closing gaps around doors, windows, loft hatches and letter boxes. Replacing rubber seals or fitting draught excluders is cheap and easy, making this an important area to watch out for.
It might sound silly, putting up thick curtains and making sure they’re closed at night can reduce heat loss by 15-17% and opening them when it’s sunny can help to heat your home for free.
You can also make your radiators perform better by investing in some radiator reflectors, which stick to the wall behind the radiators on external walls to direct heat back into your house. These cost as little as £15 and save around £25 per year.
As for electricity, replacing all of your bulbs with LEDS might cost around £90 but it’ll save you £55 per year and simply turning lights off when you leave a room could save £20.
Additionally, turning appliances off rather than leaving them on standby could save another £55 per year and only filling the kettle with the water you need each time will save you around £11 (depending on how much tea you drink!)
Beat the energy price rise
Doing all of the changes we’ve outlined here might be costly upfront, but they could have a serious impact on your heating bills for many years to come, saving you thousands of pounds in just a few years.
Even if you can’t afford to make the bigger investments such as insulation or a new boiler, you can still save hundreds of pounds straight away with the above tips, taking some of the sting out of the cost of living crisis.
If you’d like help making your house warm for less, please contact our team for a free quote.