It has been a tough few weeks for homeowners with Ofgem announcing a 54% increase in energy prices which means that the average family’s electricity and gas bills will increase by £700. In the first days of February, the Bank of England announced it was raising interest rates to 0.5% and the supermarket chains predicted significant price rises in the coming months. These announcements have left many people wondering how on earth they will be able to financially cope – especially with the hike in energy prices in the middle of a cold, gloomy winter.
We bring you the good news that there are ways to slash your energy bills and they are easier and much cheaper than you think.
The key to saving plenty of money on your heating bills is to check that your home is really well insulated – but don’t stop reading this because you think this will be costly, insulating your home is quick and surprisingly inexpensive.
One-third of the warmth in your home is lost through its walls and roof and this means a large amount of money is escaping into the atmosphere. Even if your home is insulated, it is a good idea to check that the insulation is adequate and in good condition. A specialist company will check your wall insulation and the quality of your roof insulation you can check yourself.
If your house was built after the 1920s, it will have cavity walls. If there is no insulation this is quick and easy to put right and the insulation will pay for itself in just five years according to the Energy Saving Trust. The materials for cavity-wall insulation are injected through the outer walls so that they fill the cavity between the inner and outer walls.
Once the cavities have been filled, the holes in the outer walls are plugged. The cost of cavity-wall insulation depends on the size of your house but is between £500- 600 for an average-sized house and takes less than a day to complete. If you live in an older house, with solid walls there are several different ways to effectively insulate the walls. Good loft insulation is also essential as even more heat is lost through the roof than the walls. Even if you have loft insulation, is it in good condition and of adequate thickness? Experts recommend a minimum thickness of 270 mm – which is actually quite thick! To insulate the loft costs
on average about £300, but it is quite easy to do it yourself and you can save about £50 if you do. The insulating material can be easily bought in giant rolls from DIY stores. The huge incentive for installing loft insulation is that it will pay for itself in two years! If you already have an insulated loft, it is well worth getting out the tape measure to ensure that it is of an adequate thickness.
Wooden floors have become very fashionable in the last few years, not only because they look good, but they also help insulate a room as well. To have a wooden floor fitted in an average-sized room costs about £550 but if you can do it yourself, you can pare the cost down and have changed from £200.
Good insulation is the most effective way to save money on your heating bills. It will ensure that your home stays at a pleasant temperature all year round and will dispel the need for electric fans and air conditioning during the summer months. Good insulation also sound proofs buildings which is a real bonus for those living close to busy roads.
Once you have sorted your house insulation, here are some other money-saving measures for your home:
● Get all the family well-trained to turn lights off in rooms that are not in use and ensure all the light bulbs are LED. Better still, invest in some smart LED lightbulbs that can be controlled from your mobile phone.
● Use natural daylight whenever possible.
● Reduce the time you spend in the shower – two people reducing their daily showers by a
minute each will save at least £25 each year
● Unplug all electrical appliances when not in use. Standby power accounts for 10% of the family fuel bill and by switching everything off you could save up to £50 per year.
● Lower the thermostat! If you lower your thermostat by just 2ºC you can save up to £50 per year – but if you are getting insulation fitted in your walls and ceiling, your home will be so much warmer, you may well be able to turn the thermostat down further.
● Invest in a smart thermostat- these are a Wi-Fi enabled device that controls your heating. They can be customised to suit your personal needs and can be
controlled from your mobile phone. Smart thermostats can also be installed in individual rooms.
It is certainly well worth investing in good insulation for your home. The UK’s been warned to brace themselves for further increases in energy costs later this year – time for action indeed.