Energy efficiency

Using energy in the most efficient way possible isn’t just good for the planet, it’s also great for your wallet. Even small changes can make a difference to your energy bills.

For lots of free and impartial advice on energy efficiency, visit the Energy Saving Trust. In the meantime, we’ve written a few tips below to get you started. 

Electricity

For a bunch of things you can do for free today, check out our electricity saving blog.

If you’re happy to spend a bit of cash, try swapping filament light bulbs for energy-saving ones. You’ll get the same brightness for a fraction of the energy and cost, and some energy-saving LED bulbs come in a filament style if you like the traditional look.

If you’ve a lot of spare cash, consider changing older appliances for newer ones. Modern appliances are far more efficient (assuming you use them wisely).

You could go one step further and install smart lighting and appliances, giving you even more control over when your appliances turn on and how they operate. After a bit of initial set-up, it’s all done automatically, making leaving the bathroom light on a thing of the past. 

Gas

Insulating your home can make a big difference to how easy it is to heat. Double glazing, loft and cavity insulation are excellent ways to reduce heat loss, and although there’s an upfront cost, you’ll save money in the long run. Check out the government's Green Homes Grant for help funding your home insulation.

There are also some simpler things (some totally free!) you can do around your home to prevent heat loss and therefore turn down your thermostat - did you know, turning down your thermostat by just 1 degree could save you £75 a year!

Budget-saving tips on how you can reduce heat loss in 8 different areas of your home

Doors

  • For gaps under the door, you can buy (~£7) or make your own cushion draught excluder simply by stuffing tights with socks, rice, plastic bags or any spare material you have. See here for an example of how to make a simple double sided draught excluder. If you are feeling a bit more creative, you can sew material into shape and fill with whatever you have available.
  • Alternatively, you can install a brush or hinged-flap (£7) draught excluder. Step by step guide on how to install one here.
  • For gaps around the edges of doors, use self-adhesive draught proofing strips. Foam strips are the cheapest option (starting price of £4.50) but may not be long-lasting. Other options include plastic or metal draught proofing strips. Step by step guide on how to use these here.
  • Letter boxes and keyholes can also be draught-proofed using a metal keyhole cover (£3) and a letterbox brush/flap (£5).
  • Hanging curtains in front of external doors can also help keep the cold out.

Windows

  • Whilst the sun is shining, keep curtains/blinds open to let in heat. When the sun sets, close curtains/blinds to keep the heat in and the cold out.
  • Draught-proofing strips can also be used around windows that open. Step by step guide here.
  • Silicone sealant (£5) can be used to seal any gaps around the edges of windows.
  • Secondary glazing window insulation film (£8.50) can be used to create a temporary double glazed window effect to reduce heat loss during winter periods. Step by step guide here.

Loft hatches

  • A loft hatch insulation pillow can be purchased (£24) or made by stuffing a black bin bag with fibreglass, old cushion stuffing or any spare material. It can then be secured to the loft side of the hatch using duct tape.
  • Draught-proofing strips can also be used around loft hatches. Step by step guide here.

Chimneys

  • If your chimney is still used, you can make your own removable fireplace guard to reduce the draught. You just need some spare plywood or thick cardboard cut to size and insulation tape/kitchen foil. Whilst the fire is off, fit it into place in your fireplace. An example of how to make one here.
  • A removable chimney balloon (£16) or a chimney draught excluder (£22) can also be used to prevent heat loss whilst the fire is off. If you use one of these, don't forget to remove it before lighting the fire!
  • If your chimney is no longer used, consider having it capped by a professional (£150).

Floorboards and skirting boards

  • Place a rug (or leftover cuts of carpet) over exposed floorboards to reduce draught through the gaps.
  • Filler can be used to seal gaps in your floor - it is best to use filler that can tolerate movement as the boards can contract and expand.

Unused rooms

  • Remember to keep the doors of unused/unheated rooms shut to prevent the thermostat over-working to compensate for these cold rooms.

Radiators

  • Radiators need space to heat your rooms - move any objects obstructing your radiators such as sofas, and ensure curtains don't hang in front of them.
  • Dust that builds up between the fins of radiators makes them less efficient - try to remove dust build-up using a vacuum and radiator duster (£4.50). If you have radiator covers, here is a step by step guide on how to remove them so you can access the fins.
  • Trapped air in radiators also reduces their efficiency - if there are cold spots on your radiators, it's a sign they need bleeding to release trapped air. Step by step guide here.
  • A shelf positioned just above a radiator helps to push heat forward into the room, rather than letting it rise to the ceiling. You can find easy to install, clip-on shelves in most hardware/DIY shops.
  • Insert radiator reflector panels behind radiators (most effective on radiators on external walls) to reflect heat back into the room, instead of letting the heat out through an external wall.

Hot water tanks and pipes

  • A hot water cylinder jacket (~£15) can be fitted onto your hot water tank to reduce heat loss and therefore keep your hot water hotter for longer.
  • Exposed hot water pipes can also be insulated using a foam tube that covers the pipes between your hot water cylinder and boiler.

Why not try out our thermal imaging camera for 1 week (free on us!) to see where you may be losing heat around your home. To get your hands on one, check out our thermal camera blog.

Hey I'm Constantine, welcome to Octopus Energy!

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