If you are looking for ways to cut back on your household bills, you might be surprised to note that making a few changes around your home could make a big difference. By making your property more energy efficient, you can reduce your energy consumption, saving you a good chunk of money, and helping the planet in the process. Here are 6 ways to make your property more energy efficient.
Replace your lightbulbs
If you don’t already use LED light bulbs, you could save a lot of money by switching. LED’s use around 10% of the energy of a traditional incandescent and around 85% less than halogen. Even compared to CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) bulbs, which were the first energy-efficient alternative, you will use a whopping 40% less energy. Depending on the size of your home, that could result in a pretty noticeable annual cost saving.
Switching lights off when not in use will also reduce the amount of electricity you consume, so it’s another worthwhile change. If you tend to forget to switch the lights off, another option is to add timers or have motion sensor lighting fitting.
Double glaze your windows
If your home generally feels quite cold, it could be down to heat escaping through your windows and cold getting in. This issue is usually more severe in older properties that have single glazed windows. Although it might not be cheap, switching to double glazing is something to consider.
Air is removed from the two panes of window glass, creating a vacuum that acts as a natural insulator. This insulator stops the circulation of air and reduces convection, which in turn reduces heat loss across the window.
Many double-glazed units are made with a layer of gas inside instead of a vacuum, which increases the insulation even further. If you live in a particularly windy area or an upper-level apartment, for example, triple glazing will provide an additional layer of protection against the elements.
Have solar panels fitted
Solar panels (sometimes referred to as PV panels) are produced by adding lots of photovoltaic (PV) cells to a metal glass cased panel. The panels then convert sunlight into electricity, which then powers your home. Solar panels are usually fitted on the roof of your property and, compared to a standard electricity supply, could save you a lot of money in the long term. This renewable source of energy is not only cheaper but far better for the environment.
Many states run incentive schemes, which can bring installation costs down substantially. For example, Oregon solar incentives allow homeowners in the greater Portland area to lower the upfront costs associated with having a new energy system installed. Energy suppliers will give a rebate to the solar installer, which will then be passed to the homeowner by way of a reduction in installation fees. The level of rebate is likely to differ depending on how many panels you are looking to have fitted. It’s a great way to reduce your month to month costs and will help to increase the energy efficiency of your home.
Has your boiler seen better days?
Boilers can be expensive to replace but, if yours is fairly old, it is unlikely to be working as efficiently as it should be. This is likely to result in higher energy bills and an increased carbon footprint. A new boiler will be far more energy efficient and could save you a fairly hefty sum on your energy bills each year.
New boilers also tend to be smaller and far less noisy, so if it something you have been considering for a while, speak to a gas safety approved engineer and find out how a new boiler could benefit your household.
Make things easier with a smart thermostat
If you don’t already have a smart thermostat, you don’t know what you are missing! If you regularly forget to turn your heating off or are sick of coming home to a freezing house, this could be the gadget you have been waiting for.
A smart thermostat works by using an app that can be controlled from your phone regardless of your location. Timers can be set, heating can be switched on and off, and temperatures adjusted as you please. Most boilers will come with a thermostat that has a timer function; however, a smart thermostat takes the flexibility you have to another level.
Many systems will also remember your heating preferences and can be set to automatically adjust the temperate of your home to suit your usual needs. Smart thermostats can be fitted retrospectively, which makes the switch a fairly simple one.
Insulate your loft
If your loft isn’t insulated or the existing insulation is old or thinning, it is worthwhile having new insulation fitted. The good news is it’s a pretty simple task that most people can do on their own. The thicker the loft insulation the more energy and money you will save, so it’s worthwhile spending a bit extra and getting insulation which is at least 270mm thick. This thickness alone could save you upwards of 14% on your heating bills each year.
Loft insulation is purchased in rolls that cover a certain square area, so calculate what you need and then buy the required thickness. New insulation can be placed directly on top of old, so there is no need to remove anything. It is quite fibrous, so wear protective gloves when handling the insulation and wear a mask over your mouth.
If you want to use your loft as a storage area, then you should use loft storage boards. These are pre-cut lengths of wood that are elevated on plastic feet and screwed into the joists. This will ensure that there is a gap between your insulation and your loft boards and will allow air to circulate. It is not a good idea to pack your loft full of belongings as this can affect the energy efficiency, so keep it to a minimum and, where possible, store your belongings elsewhere instead.