When the days are long and dark, and temperatures plunge, there’s nothing nicer than enjoying being warm at home. For many of us, however, that can end up getting expensive as heating bills add up quickly and electricity use soars when trying to keep things cosy.
Luckily there are quite a few easy steps to vastly improve energy use at home, some of which cost very little.
On the other hand, if you live in Texas, where the weather is hot for most of the year, turning the air conditioning on all day can take a toll on your finances.
However, by comparing electricity companies, you can determine which one has the best rates and switch provider if you find a better deal. Others need a bit of an investment, but long-term it will really improve comfort levels and potentially even the value of your house.
First Steps To Saving Energy
For starters, it’s important to keep on top of the little things. Making sure you have thick curtains and closing them as the evening begins, stops the cold coming in, as does using door stoppers along the bottom of external doors to stop the draughts getting in.
Light bulbs should be changed to energy efficient LED bulbs wherever possible, and lights should be switched off when not being used. When boiling a kettle of water, just boil the amount of water you need, not the full kettle, and consider switching off other appliances when not in use.
Bigger Changes You Can Make To Save Energy In Your Home
Once you’ve made sure all the basics are in order, it’s time to look at the bigger picture of ways to make your home more energy efficient. While the first steps do make a bit of a difference, often, especially on old, cold houses, it’s going to take a bit more effort and investment to get results. It might seem like a costly solution, but over time you’ll see the difference on utility bills.
Check The Energy Rating On Your Appliances
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When it’s time to replace large household appliances, check out the energy rating and aim to buy the most efficient ones. At the same time consider the size of the appliances you purchase, because that will affect the cost of usage too. Aim for the smallest version that will work for you, and then get the one with the best energy ratings.
Upgrade Your Windows
While closing curtains is a help, to make a real difference you’re going to need to take a closer look at the windows themselves. Are they working as well as they could? Are they double glazed? Are there draughts around the frame?
Often with older windows and frames, there will be a build-up of moisture causing damp and mould. If the windows are draughty your rooms are not going to be properly warm, however long you keep the heating on. For newer windows, you can probably fix the issue with sealant and other minor repairs, but for older windows that have not been refitted for years, it’s a good idea to consider a complete replacement of panes and frames.
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One of the biggest problems for homeowners is poor insulation. If the insulation isn’t up to scratch, you might as well be throwing away your money. It’s key to making your home energy efficient and worth making that extra effort to do it properly. There are various options to consider, depending on what kind of house you have and your budget.
Attic or loft insulation is a great place to start. It causes minimal disruption to your living space and makes quite a big difference to overall temperatures in the house, by insulating between the ceiling and the roof.
Other types of insulation are cavity wall insulation, internal wall insulation, and external wall insulation. What you need will depend on the kind of walls your house has. If there’s a space between two layers, you can opt for cavity wall insulation, but if your walls are solid, you’ll need either internal or external insulation, depending on your property.
While these can be big jobs, and you’ll need to get the experts in, the difference will be significant. Sometimes there are grants available to help with these kinds of tasks, and, long-term, you’ll see a real difference with increased comfort and lower bills.
Check Your Heating System
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Make sure you’re not wasting money, by checking your boiler and heating system are functioning at full capacity. Keep up with repairs and replacements and make sure you’re getting maximum heat from it.
Add Solar Panels
Solar technology has advanced hugely in recent years, and adding some solar panels to your house, usually to the roof, is a highly recommended way to generate energy using this natural resource. Panels need to be in a place where they get good light. You can easily find DIY solar panel kits online.
These kinds of changes result in a more energy efficient living space. This not only saves money on heating and electricity bills, but is better for the environment, too. You get a more comfortable home, and the planet benefits from lower energy consumption