5 interesting ways to improve your home's energy efficiency
Do you put your heating on only to feel cold moments after turning it off? Heat will rapidly flee the scene if your house is not optimised to keep it trapped inside. The older the house, the more likely it is that you’ll have more problems to fix and more measures to implement when it comes to retaining your heat. Not just that, but your electricity bill will most likely be higher than that of a newer home. On this page you’ll find 5 of our top tips to increase the efficiency of your home, all whilst maintaining the aesthetic feel of your home’s design.
#1 - Double that glazing
Let’s start with the basics. Roughly 25% of lost household heat is lost through windows and doors, especially when you still have wooden, gappy frames. Nowadays, most people have already made the switch and have benefitted greatly from the added insulation; however, there are still many older property owners that don’t want to compromise the aesthetic property that the wooden frame gives them, so they haven’t switched. Well, not all double glazed frames are uPVC anymore: you can opt for oak, timber or pretty much anything you desire.
#2 - Change your light bulbs
Don’t underestimate the difference it could make by changing these little beauties. Older light bulb types like halogen and incandescent used to be the latest technology. This was at a time when renewable technologies were but a distance thought. As fear grows about depleting fossil fuels, energy efficiency is becoming a major priority and as such, light bulbs have become extremely more advanced than their descendents. Newer bulb types, such as LED and CFL, use around 75% less electricity than halogen bulbs, which could save you an extremely large amount of money on your bills.
In addition, we’re aware that many people struggle to remember to turn off lights in their house, some more than others, which is why we have come up with this plan for you.
- Discover which rooms’ lights are left on the most by accident
- Install these rooms with motion sensor light switch. These can be bought from most DIY shops and online.
- No longer do you have to worry about needless electricity costs from leaving your lights on.
#3 - Don’t let heat leave through your chimney
A large majority of us in the UK have a fireplace or at least some form of chimney, especially in older houses. Little do we realise just how much heat is leaving our living rooms through the chimney when we are not using the fire. Now that wood and coal fires are not our primary method of heating, we need to start thinking about what we can do with them when they are not in use. We understand that fireplaces can often be treated as an aesthetic addition to a room's design and as such, should not be affected visually by any efficiency measures, so here’s what we have for you:
- The first option you have is probably the best if you want to fully keep the aesthetic of your fireplace intact. So, how do you manage to insulate your fireplace and stop heat from being lost through the chimney without touching the exterior? Well, you block off the interior. You may be thinking “but what happens when I want to use the fire?”. This device is a temporary measure that can be removed and inserted quickly and easily. This is called the ‘Chimney Balloon’ and is an inflatable balloon that is perfectly designed to prevent heat loss through your chimney. It is also completely safe if you forget to remove it when you use your fire: it will simply melt and deflate.
- The second option will slightly affect the appearance of your fireplace, but can be made to look barely visible. By attaching an external fireplace cover you can easily open and close the door-type mechanism. This blocks off the entrance to the chimney breast, meaning you’ve essentially got a temporary fully bricked wall. Be wary of the quality of fireplace cover that you buy, as low quality materials stand to give you very little benefit.
#4 - Prioritise roof over walls
Although an average 35% of heat leaves your house through the walls in contrast to the 25% lost through the roof, wall insulation is a huge job and costs much more money to buy and install than roof insulation. As we all know, hot air rises, and as such it is important to catch the large amounts of heat that are going up into the roof. Many other experts will advise that you should test the less expensive methods of improving household efficiency before you spend a fortune on large scale renovations. We are in agreement and as such think you should first try to stuff your roof with some decent quality insulation and monitor a trial period to measure your results. If this is non-effective then it could be that wall insulation is your only option for large scale improvement.
#5 - Revise your flooring
In addition, or as an alternative, to roof and wall insulation, you should definitely think about your flooring. Another 15% of your household heat is generally lost through the floor, which means it is just as important as your insulation. As with other household efficiency improvements, you should first consider smaller, cheaper adjustments before you start spending hundreds, if not thousands of pounds on large scale renovations. As such, a good place to start would be purchasing a couple of high quality, thick rugs that you can place in rooms that you most require to be warm. You should still notice quite the difference if you have a hard, solid flooring type.
Not only do ceramic, vinyl, stone and hardwood floors feel colder on your feet when walking on them, but they have actually been proven to provide much less insulation to your floor than carpets and dense rugs. As said previously; however, changing every bit of flooring in your house is not only extremely expensive, but is frequently just not practical, so, we would advise you to consider a smaller adjustment first and see where you are after a trial period.