If you’ve determined that your energy bill this month is going to be through the roof, don’t panic. A few simple alterations to how you run your household could significantly reduce your energy use, and go a long way towards bringing your bills down this season.
Whether you’re able to invest in major energy efficiency gains, or you’re limited to more cost-effective adjustments the moment, these tips will help you slow down your energy use and bring your bills down to a more manageable level.
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Sometimes You Need to Spend More to Save More
As is all too often the case, having more money available to invest in larger-scale changes means you can save more money in the long run. Home energy efficiency savings are no exception. If you can afford to invest significant amounts of money in modern energy saving solutions, you will reap the benefit of significant monthly savings in the future. If you own your home, and you’re in a position to spend that little it extra, these changes will help you bring your costs down long-term.
Replace Inefficient Doors
While your door might be totally fine in most ways—it opens and closes, for example—it’s a good idea to check whether the materials your doors are composed of are conducive to energy saving. Not all doors were created equal when it comes to energy efficiency. For example, if you haven’t yet discovered composite doors, you might like to check out this modern new material that many people are changing over to for the sake of energy efficiency benefits. Not only are they more efficient than your standard UPVC door, but they are long-lasting, too. If you live in a chilly climate, another excellent way you can prevent heat loss through your home’s doorways is to install storm doors. That extra protective barrier will be fantastic when a chilly wind gets up.
Get Solar Panels
Installing solar panels is one of the more expensive ways to boost home energy efficiency. They are growing in popularity nowadays because of their eco-friendly credentials. If you’re keen to save money on your monthly electricity bills, installing solar panels will also let you reduce your use of fossil fuels at the same time, which is great for the environment. Installing solar panels on your roof is a no-brainer if you can afford the pricey installation, as you get to make the most of the energy provided free of charge… by the sun! Whether you use the sun’s energy to heat your bath water or run your swimming pool filter, supplementing your family’s normal energy use with a more eco-friendly alternative power source is a great way to reduce your overall energy usage and bring costs down over a long period.
Optimize Your Heating and Cooling Systems
Heating and cooling are notorious energy guzzlers, so if you live in a climate that demands that you either heat your home in winter or cool your home in summer (or both!) you’ll save huge amounts of money by optimizing your heating and cooling systems. Energy Efficient DC Fans are a great option for the summer, and it’s also a good idea to ensure that you have the right boiler fitted for the size of your home and your heating needs.
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Just Because You Can’t Splash Out, Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Save
Of course, not everyone can splash out on significant updates to their homes for the sake of energy efficiency (especially if you’re currently renting) but that shouldn’t rule out saving money on your monthly bill. Try these simple, cost-effective changes to your home and habits and watch those savings add up!
Reward Good Family Habits
Before you start trying to change your habits to save energy in your home, it’s helpful to recognize that you will not always have the sense that your efforts are making much of an impact. Of course, it may be hard to believe that every single one of the little changes you make will have a genuine impact on a day-to-day basis, they really do add up over time. If it helps your motivation, it’s worth making a list of some of the things you’d like to buy for your home or family but don’t have the budget for right now. Whether it’s those new curtains for the living room or new pair of football boots for your kid, your daily energy savings will soon start to stack up, making some exciting things possible. This is an especially handy tip if you have children who struggle to understand why they should turn off the lights when they leave a room, for instance, or close doors when there’s a chilly draft coming through the house. Perhaps your team effort in household energy efficiency could fund a couple of treats for the whole family after a few months. After a while your family probably won’t need the extra incentive to maintain good energy use habits, but when you’re only just starting out, why not do whatever works?
Lower Your Thermostat
While shivering with cold in your own home should never be considered as a way to save money on energy bills, this approach could work if you don’t take it to extremes. Lowering the temperature of your thermostat when you and your family are not home, i.e. during work and school hours, is a fantastic way to save money with no inconvenience caused whatsoever. Just a few degrees reduction on your day-to-day temperature set is likely to make a significant impact on to your monthly gas or electricity bill (depending on how you heat your home). Forming the habit of manually turning the temp down when you know you’re going to be out of the house is beneficial of course, but even better if your system lets you schedule automatic temperatures drops to suit your family’s schedule. Another great time to take advantage of this is if you’re going on a winter vacation. Whether it’s for a couple of days or a couple of weeks, you can save huge amounts by turning your thermostat down even by a few degrees. Just don’t lower the temp too far, or your water pipes could freeze. Aim for a temperature that’s chilly enough that you and the family will need to wear jackets in the house for an hour or so once you get home.
Seal Drafty Windows
Sealing all the tiny nooks and crannies around your window frames is a cheap and easy way to combat heat loss and reduce the energy required to heat your home. Windows are notorious heat loss zones, so you’ll be glad you took the time to seal them off well, especially if you don’t have double-glazing. Weatherstripping is an effective and cost-effective option if your windows are drafty in winter. An even cheaper option is covering your windows in plastic wrap—yes, just like if your windows were a plate of left-overs to go in the fridge! Simply use tape to seal the plastic wrap down around the edges, and use silicone to seal in any cracks in your drywall. With these measures in place, you can expect to see significant reductions in your heating bill this winter.
Say Goodbye to the Hot Wash
If you tend to use a hot setting on your washing machine, you could be adding an extra 90 per cent energy-wise to your home’s overall use, compared with how much energy you’d use if you only ran cold washes. Of course, sometimes you really do need to run a hot wash, especially for heavily soiled work clothing or sports’ kit, but in terms of day-to-day laundry, most of your items should come out more than adequately clean after a long cold cycle. While you may not think that a single laundry cycle could make a big impact on your overall energy usage, it’s worth adding up how many loads of laundry you typically run every week. Still not convinced? Try your own mini experiment, by using only cold settings for your laundry for one month, then inspecting your energy bill and comparing it to the month before. When your jaw drop, you might just resolve to never run a hot cycle again!
Think Before Using the Dryer
If there’s one thing that does more damage to your energy efficiency situation than using a hot temperature for your wash cycle, it’s unnecessarily using the tumble dryer afterwards. Of course, it sometimes makes sense to use the dryer, especially for heavier things like towels which simply won’t dry on a rack in the winter. That said, the problem is more about habit: when you use the dryer automatically, without thinking about whether it’s really necessary, that’s when you start to see your bills adding up. Of course, now and then you’ll need to make allowances for using the dryer when needed, but trying whenever possible to hang your laundry out on the washing line will make a massive impact on your monthly usage.
Whether you live in a huge house with other people, or you have your own small flat, these changes to your home and habits will help reduce your energy use and save money.