More of us are becoming aware of our impact on the environment, and are making changes to our habits and homes to live a more environmentally friendly life. There are lots of changes you can make at home to make the house more energy efficient, which not only helps the environment, but can save you money on the bills too.
Turn Down The Thermostat
You don’t have to sit shivering in the house, but turning down the thermostat by even a tiny amount makes a real difference. Dropping the heating by just one degree saves energy and money, and you probably won’t notice the difference in temperature. Turn it down further or of altogether when you’re out of the house for even more savings.
Put the heating on a timer so it only comes on when there’s someone in the house. Most households only need the house to be warm during the morning and evenings. You don’t need the heating on when you’re out at work, and you can turn it down at night as you’ll be warm in bed.
Instead of turning up the heating, put on a thick jumper. Keep extra blankets by beds and sofas and treat yourself to warming things like comfy slippers, hot water bottles or heatable wheat bags.
Proper insulation traps heat in during the winter and helps keep the house cool during the summer. Find out what insulation is in your walls and see if it could be replaced with something more efficient.
Attic insulation seals in the heat and stops it from leaking out of the roof. The insulation is an investment that will save you money in the long-term with lower bills.
Install Low-Flow Showers
A low flow showerhead reduces the amount of water you use every time you shower. Most conventional showers use 5 gallons of water per minute, while most low flow heads use just 2.5 gallons. That means less water used which is good for the Earth, and your water bill.
Use Solar Panels
Installing solar panels is expensive, but once they’re fitted, they can save you a lot of cash. Using solar energy to heat water or power the lights will reduce your bills, and in some areas you may qualify for tax incentives too for even more savings. Of course, solar panels also reduce your use of fossil fuels, and are much kinder to the planet. You may be able to get a grant to have the panels fitted. Do some research to see what is available in your local area.
Fit Sealed Double Glazing
Double glazed windows help prevent heat from escaping the house during the colder months. Read the ultimate guide to double glazing to find the best windows for your home. Once you’ve chosen them, make sure you seal all the windows properly. You can add weatherstripping to the frames, put silicone caulk over any gaps or cracks or apply sheets of shrink film over the glass. This is an easy and efficient way to keep heat inside and save you from cranking up the radiators.
Water waste is a big problem, and using more than you need will be boosting your water bill. Saving water is simple with some small changes. Don’t leave the tap running when you’re brushing your teeth or shaving. For washing, don’t overfill the bath, or leave the shower running while you’re not in it. Try and keep showers short to reduce water use. Even one minute less under the shower will help reduce your water waste. Put a timer or clock somewhere visible from the shower, so you can keep track of how long you’ve been in there.
When using the washing machine, don’t run half loads. Instead, make sure you’ve got a full load every time. This will mean you can run the machine less often, and get the maximum amount of clean clothes for the water used.
You can save water when you’re washing the dishes too, by using a washing up bowl instead of filling the sink. There’s less space to fill, and the bowl helps the water stay hot, so you use less and refill less often.
Block Out Draughts
Draughts make the house feel cold, making you spend more on heating. Draught excluders can help to keep rooms warm. Hang a heavy curtain over any doors to the outside to keep the warmth in.
Seal up any cracks in floors, walls or skirting boards. Line the letter box to stop heat rushing out through the front door. If you have a chimney you don’t use, blocking it up keeps even more heat where you want it. Inside.
Turn Things Off At The Wall
Turning off unused appliances and electronics at the socket instead of leaving them on standby saves power and money.
Don’t leave unused phone chargers plugged in. Even without a phone connected, they’re still using up energy, and can even be a fire hazard. Stay safe and save by unplugging them when your phone is charged.
Invest in timer plugs to turn off appliances you use at night, like the washing machine, once they’re finished.
Upgrade Your Boiler And Appliances
If your boiler has seen better days, upgrade to a new one that is more efficient. You’ll waste less energy, which will make the investment worth while.
Old appliances, such as washing machines or dishwashers, could also be replaced to improve efficiency. As technology gets better, new appliances are getting better at saving energy. The investment will save you money in the long run.
Swap Your Lightbulbs
Energy efficient halogen or LED bulbs last longer than regular bulbs and use a lot less power to run. You’ll save money by having to replace bulbs less often, and on the reduced bills.
Reduce bills further by turning off lights you don’t need. Don’t leave lights on in a room you’re not in. If you have small children that need a light left on at night, invest in the most energy efficient night light you can find, instead of leaving on lamps or lights in the hallway overnight.
Wash In Cold Water
Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up a hot bath. You don’t need hot water to wash clothing though. Most washing machines will wash just as well at cooler temperatures, so turn down the washing machine to a cold or lukewarm temperature. Heating the water takes up a lot of the energy of the washing machine, and ends up costing more. As an added bonus, cold water is less likely to cause clothes to shrink or colors to run.
In the summer, dry your clothes on a washing line outside instead of in the dryer. In poor weather, an indoor line or drying rack used for even half of the laundry will cut down massively on power used, and money spent.
Get A Smart Meter
Getting a smart meter for your home can help you make big savings. Being able to see exactly how much energy you’re using can really help you to cut back. You can see how much energy an action uses up, meaning you can easily identify what to turn off, what to turn down and what to reduce the use of.
Watching the money rack up on the meter will soon have you automatically making habit changes that help your pocket and the environment. You’ll be taking shorter showers, not overfilling the kettle, and turning the TV off at the wall in no time. Try and encourage the whole family to develop better habits for saving energy. Teach children why and help them understand that energy efficiency is important. As a family, you can reduce your bills and help the environment at the same time.