25 Nov 2013

Top 5 Low Cost Energy Savings Tips

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  1. Loft Insulation – As an Energy Assessor I visit on average 12 homes per week, looking in every loft, fireplace etc to confirm what the building is made of and how much insulation is present. Many home owners think that they have sorted their lofts, and are not losing any heat through their ceilings as a result; well the truth is that is often not the case. The reason is that boxes and oddments have been placed on insulation, without time spent, hence exposing large swathes of the loft floor once more, and compressing the insulation so as to make it quite ineffective. Loft ‘wool’ insulation works by capturing warm air within its fibres creating a warm ceiling that holds rising heat; squash it and it cannot do that any longer allowing warm air to be dissipated into the loft. The way to overcome this common problem is either to buy a set of loft feet from a DIY store, or simply to create a storage floor above the joists by making a set of joist spacers. Either way it will save considerable heat loss through the ceiling and save you money on your energy bills. Whilst you are at it, check that the loft hatch is insulated and sealed.  Do remember to ensure you leave a small uninsulated gap under your water tank.
  2. Blocking up fireplaces – Do this properly or replacing them with a wood burner which is sealed to the fireplace. This is infinitely more efficient, keeps the focal point and closes the fireplace which is effectively a permanently open window!
  3. Draught proofing – This is another easy win against high heating bills. Draught proof door and window seals, letter boxes and cat flaps as they are major culprits of draughts. Every blast of cold air will cause the heating to fire up again as the thermostat/s will drop and  heat will need to replace the cold. Check your window seals/gaskets and adjust the closing points if necessary. Also, oil hinges whilst you are at it.
  4. Insulated hot water cylinder – The Hot water cylinder often doubles up as the airing cupboard but nevertheless needs to be well insulated as it is a very expensive way to dry and store clothes. It’s more cost effective to fit a small radiator if you want heat in the cupboard as a poorly insulated cylinder will cause your boiler to work overtime using fuel.
  5. Floor Insulation – Recommended on almost every Energy Performance Certificate as 15% to 20% of heat in homes with suspended wooden floors can be lost through the floor. If you are lucky enough to have access to your under floor space, get down there, measure the spaces between the joists and cut up insulation batts such as Celotex or push insulation between the joists making sure you leave a small airflow between floorboard and insulation.

All these low cost energy saving tips can be done very cheaply helping to make your home airtight, so that you decide when you want to let air in rather than when the wind blows.

Once you have sorted these items, and only then should you begin to consider the bigger jobs such as cavity wall insulation, solid wall insulation and double/secondary glazing.

About the Author

30odd years after gaining a BSc Honours degree in Environmental Management, Richard is finally putting this knowledge to good use carrying out surveys for Energy Performance Certificates

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