The soaring cost of household energy has made most of us scrutinise our use of gas and electricity and look at the energy efficiency of our homes in a different light – or maybe even consider it for the first time. Making improvements to boost your home’s energy efficiency could reduce energy bills, cut its carbon footprint and even – as new research shows – increase its value and appeal to future buyers.
What’s the best way to insulate my home?
Insulating hot water pipes and your hot water cylinder (if you have one) is cheap and will pay for itself quickly. The Energy Saving Trust (EST) estimates that fitting foam insulation around exposed hot water pipes and increasing the thickness of insulation around your hot water cylinder to 80mm costs just over £30 but could shave almost £80 off your yearly energy bills.
Having cavity walls insulated is a pricier project (around £1,000 for a three-bed semi-detached house) but as roughly a third of the heat in our homes is lost through the walls, you should see an annual saving of just under £400 on your energy bills.
Is it worth draught-proofing my home?
If you’re looking for a quick, budget-friendly, energy-efficient fix, fitting a chimney draught excluder such as a Chimney Sheep (from £18) above an unused fireplace could slash £90 from your energy bill over 12 months.
Draught-proofing windows and doors could also cut energy bills. If you choose to have your home professionally draft proofed, you can expect to pay around £233 for a three-bed semi-detached house but this should pay for itself in less than two years.
What’s the best way to control the central heating?
In addition to trying to reduce the amount of heat lost from your home, making better use of your central heating can also cut energy use. Installing a thermostat, programmer and thermostatic radiator valves (that regulate the temperature of individual radiators) in a typical semi-detached home will cost around £580 and could result in annual savings of £180. If you already have a thermostat and programmer, installing thermostatic radiator valves on radiators that don’t already have them (they cost from £10 each) in a home of this size could save £55 a year.
If you already have all these things in place, a smart thermostat could cut the energy you use to heat your home by around a quarter.