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Energy Extras

Energy Saving Advice, Reduce Fuel Bills

The picture above is typical of many homes found in England. Please explore the house by clicking on one of the numbers and finding out how you can improve your own energy efficiency.

1.    Loftspaces and chimneys

After solid walls, your roof and loft space will be the area in your home that loses most heat - up to 25% in fact. By fitting loft insulation you can significantly reduce this.

Ideally you should aim to have 270mm or 11 inches of insulation in your loft and try to make sure that you don't place anything directly onto the insulation that could squash it. It is the fluffiness of the insulation that makes it work properly. It is also important to make sure you do not insulate under your water tank as this could cause it to freeze in winter.

Also you should make sure that the hatch into your loft space fits snugly and is draught-proofed - it will stop old air coming down from the loft and warm air rising.

You can also reduce heat loss by making sure any open but unused chimney flues are blocked off. A good way of doing this temporarily is to invest in an inflatable device called a chimney balloon. You simply place this in your flue and inflate it until it has sealed the flue. By doing this, you could save up to an extra 15% of your heat - just remember to take it out before you light a fire!

2.    Bedrooms

It is a good idea to have radiators that are fitted with Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRV's) throughout the property but especially in the bedrooms. They allow you to set these at a lower temperature to the rest of your home.

You can also try to use low energy light bulbs in your bedside lamps as these provide much longer usage compared to that of a standard bulb.

You should also try and get into the habit of making sure that your curtains are closed as it starts to get dark. This will stop heat escaping through your windows. Where possible you should also try to make sure that your curtains are tucked down behind your radiators to encourage the heat out into the room.

3.    Bathroom

In the bathroom, it is also possible to reduce your energy usage.

When running a bath, you can reduce the amount of steam produced and the risk of scalding by adding cold water to the bath before turning on the hot tap. The reduction in steam will also reduce the amount of condensation produced and the risk of mould growth.

It is also considerably cheaper to have a shower than to have a bath. Did you know that for the same amount of water that you use in one bath, you could have six showers which not only saves water but saves time allowing your family more time to use the bathroom.

And finally, alway make sure you use the plug in your basin. Washing or shaving with the tap running will waster more than six litres every minute.

4.    Living Room

Proper control of your Central Heating system can make a big difference to your energy bills.  By lowering your thermostat by just 1 degree you can save as much as 10% off your bill in a year.

Also try and get Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRV's) fitted if you can.  They allow you to regulate the temperature of each room independently so that rooms you use rarely can be kept cooler than those you use more regularly.

You should also try and get into the habit of making sure that your curtains are closed as it starts to get dark. This will stop heat escaping through your windows. Where possible you should also try to make sure that your curtains are tucked down behind your radiators to encourage the heat out into the room.  Try and make sure that these are also fairly thick and lined where possible.

Finally, don't leave electrical appliances on standby.  They can use almost as much power on standby as when in use so make sure you switch it off at the set when you're finished with it.

5.    Hallway, stairs and landing

Hallways lose a surprising amount of heating - anywhere between 10 - 15%.  It is a good idea to make sure your front door is fitted with draught excluders particularly along the bottom and around your letterbox.

You can also try to use low energy light bulbs in your landing or hallway lights as these provide much longer usage compared to that of a standard bulb.

Make sure that any internal doors are shut before answering that knock at the door!  That way you won't be losing all your heat when you open the front door.

6.    Kitchen

It is always a good idea to try and keep lids on your saucepans when you are cooking with them. It keeps steam and heat in, helping the food to cook quicker.

Putting warm food into a cold fridge is a bad idea for two reasons. It means that your fridge has to work harder to cool items, costing you more money but it can also cause bacteria to grow on food causing food poisoning.

Whilst very popular with kids who don't enjoy washing up, dishwashers use a lot of electric - as much as three units of electric for every full load. So make sure that you have a full load before reaching for the start button.

Washing Machines will also use a lot of electric if you are not careful with how you use it. Today, most fabrics can be washed easily at 40 degrees and for light dirt even 30 degrees. Did you know that by doing two washes at 30 degrees, you can save enough energy to give you one extra free wash?

There's nothing better than a nice cup of tea or coffee to start our busy day with but your kettle can also be very expensive to run. In fact, they can use the same amount of energy as an Immersion heater. This means that the more water you boil, the more electricity you will use so make sure you only boil what you can use at one time. Getting a kettle with a scale on the side is a good idea.