Its that time of year and once again energy prices are rising.
Theres been a few threads on how to keep your house warm, how to save energy, drying clothes the most cost effective way etc so I thought it would be a good idea to put all these tips into one place where everyone can find it. Especially during what will probably be another very cold winter in the UK.
At present we are house rennovating a old (1800's) big house, its our home and we are living in it and so we can only so so much at a time and of course, money isnt endless.
Most of the improvements have centred around energy efficency.
So we have replaced several of the windows and front door. We used Eneregy efficent windows which have a gas between the layers of glass. It has made a HUGE different. We did the whole side of the house, including buidling work as we had single glazed large windows, they have now been replaced and the heat in the room is much much better, plus there is no noise.
The Hallway was always very cold and now is cosy! Today infact we are having more windows done, the windows we are replacing ARE docuble glazed but they are still drafty and noisy, these new windows are so much bettet at keeping noise out and heat in.
So if you can afford it, replacing windows is a great way to improve your energy effeicency, many comapies will take pictures of your house before and after to show the difference of heat loss (with a special camera).
Anyway, not everyone can afford that, I suggest everyone goes around all their windows and checks the seals and around the windows. in our previous house the widows had been replaced 6 months before we bought it, so were nice and new, but they clearly hasnt sealed around the windows very well. We checked around them all and re-sealed them, it made a huge difference to our bill (we were on oil then so it was even more excpensive). Little gaps and drafts make a HUGE impact on heat loss in your house so def check windows as they are such a big cause of heat loss.
If your door is drafty then get a draft excluder, any drafts in your house should be looked at and solved, many of the ways are cheap and so so effective.
As we have an old house the walls get lots of condenstation, cold, damp etc, we consulted with loads of people and discovered insulated plasterboard. Several of our walls have been done now, its very thick, so that will impact if your room isnt big enough as it does eat into it. Plus its expensive, foam back is the best that can be anywhere from £30 - £80 a sheet!
BUT, it again makes a dig difference, we have done three bedrooms in it, touching the walls is warm, we have no damp or condenstation problems, the rooms are so much warmer as there is nothing/less lost though the wall. I dont know if this method works so well on cavity walls which are much better insulated anyway, but it def works very well on solid stone walls.
Less expensive ways would be to keep doors open when your asleep (you breath out a huge amount of mosture) and close doors during the day esp when cooking.
Replace Radiators with double panel, double fin ones, they give out MUCH better heat.
Dont block radiators, even those wood things you buy really affect how much heat they give out. Yes they may not look fantastic, but blocking them in anyway really blocks the heat (my hubby is a gas engineer). So make sure they are free from sofas etc and where budget allows replace them with double panel double fin.
Also dont get fooled by these "designer" raditors, they look better but the majority give out very little heat. We looked at some and it was shocking how little heat they give out compared to a "normal" one.
Solar heating - We have solar heating panels for our hot water, and as we dont put our boiler on in the summer for heating, he hardly used our boiler, Its great, it stores hot water and we always seem to have a supply of hot water, if you have a few baths in a day you will need to "top up" with boiler heated water, but for the most part its fantastic. It would take a long time to make your money back, but its great being able to run a bath and know you have just used the solar power for it.
AGAs/wood burning stoves - in winter we use our rayburn (which is the same as an aga) for heat (we have SO much wood to burn it really is free heat) and we are getting a wood burning stove, possibly using that to heat radiotors in basement or hot water. Again they give out fantastic heat, you can calculate how many KWs your room will need.
Cavity Wall and Loft insulation - Make huge differences, the amount of loft insulation needed has recently increased so even if you have had it done you may find you actually now need more. Many comapanies do that for free, i know Brirtish Gas used to other it to their duel fuel customers, not sure if they still do, and many places do it for OAPs etc. So check that oit before paying.
Rooms we have done we have put down real wood flooring, real wood is warmer than laminate, and it blocks all drafts. We like flooring as with kids and pets it can get cleaned easier, carpet def feels warmer but if your house is drafty make sure all drafts are blocked before laying it.
Of course replacing boilers is a big one, most older boilers are less than 75% effeicent and ones with poilt lights less than 65% whereas new ones are 90 - 92 %. So thats 35p in every £1 your heating outside through flue.
Personally im tempted by the new baxi eco-gen boiler which also generates electricity!!! Not 100% sure on the ins and outs and very few people have them presently (OH is a gas engineer), he wants to wait until they have been our awhile and see how well they actually work and that all the "bugs" are ironed out! They are mega expensive, like £8000 for the boiler alone.
One thing weve done so far is read the boiler manual properly, if you dont have one find out the maker and model and request one.
We had to request one for the new place weve just moved into and im glad ive got it now. The heat and hot water are set on timers rather than on for 12 hours all day everyday and ive learned about an eco function on the boiler aswell to help save money.
Check the seals on your windows.
This is something were in the process of doing right now, checking all the seals are in the windows properly and making sure theres no drafts coming from where they shouldnt.
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