What can you do to reduce heating costs? Here are some ideas.
Roofs, Ceilings, Lofts and Attics
Uninsulated ceilings and attics are a big energy drain. Most of the heat escapes through uninsulated roofs. By insulating your lofts and attics, you can instantly eliminate this energy loss. It costs less than 400 and you will save almost 175 every year in heating costs. The insulation will pay for itself within a few years. Ensure that the insulation is done properly for the highest efficiency. Use insulating material that is at least 10 inches thick.
Walls, Windows and Doors
Walls are another major source of energy loss. Old homes usually have cavities in their walls. Retrofit these cavities with insulation and you will save over 175 in energy costs for an expense on insulation of around 350. This means the insulation will pay for itself in a couple of years, and you can enjoy cash savings for years later. Most energy companies in UK offer free insulation for old walls with cavities. Low income families and senior citizens are also eligible for free insulation.
Solid walls are more difficult and expensive to insulate. The insulation for a 3 bedroom house with solid walls will cost as much as 15,000 on average. The savings by way of heating costs would be around 500 per year. It would take several years just to break even.
Windows and doors must fit snugly and close without any gaps or cracks. Heat from inside the house will escape through any gaps, and your energy consumption will shoot up unnecessarily. Have a carpenter fix any doors and windows with problems. If that is too expensive, then cheap window sealing cling films are available which can be easily attached to windows and seal them nicely. When summer comes around, you can remove the film.
Window panes with large surface areas lose heat due to conduction. Install double glaze windows to reduce this energy loss. Thick window curtains or drapes that cover windows help further reduce heat loss.
Floors are another major source of energy loss. Under-floor insulation costs around 100 if you do it yourself. It can save you 60 per year in heating costs. Getting under-floor insulation done by a professional will run to an expense of 800 which can take longer to recoup.
A hot water tank stores water to be distributed whenever needed to your kitchen and bathrooms. The tank should be insulated using a jacket that is at least 75 millimeters thick. On cold winter days, energy loss can be significant if insulation is inadequate. The jacket costs 15 and will save you around 40 in a year.
Pipes that supply hot water to all parts of your home are another source of heat loss. Insulating them costs around 10. Energy savings will be at least 15 per year. This can be done by yourself in just a few hours.
Chimney holes must be plugged to prevent draughts. When not in use, fit a cap over the hole or use a chimney balloon that inflates and closes the opening.
Other simple steps to save on heating costs include running dishwashers or washing machines only when you have full load, using conventional showers for bathing instead of filling the bathtub with hot water, using efficient cooking methods, and keeping taps closed while shaving or brushing your teeth to reduce hot water use.
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