Ever since becoming a homeowner, I’ve taken much more interest in home maintenance and household utilities. I’m sure I’m becoming quite a money-saving bore when it comes to bills, but why spend more than you need to, eh? I’ve suddenly found my ears pricking up when they mention gas price increases on the news. I’ve been taking meter readings, turning off appliances and shopping around for energy providers. It’s not always been the most fun, but knowing that my boiler is at 98% efficiency makes me happy.One of the sites that I’ve used a lot during my first 6 months in my new home is the Energy Saving Trust. After giving them a ‘like’ on Facebook, I’ve actually been enjoying seeing their thrifty tips and newsworthy updates appear in my newsfeed. I’ve learnt so much about cutting the cost of my bills that I’d be surprised if my electricity bill is anywhere over £20 this month! Plus, they’re running a fantastic competition at the moment to win an A+++ rated washing machine just for sharing your kitchen grumbles in the comments section – definitely worth entering that one!I’ve put together some of the best energy-saving hacks that I’ve learnt via the Energy Saving Trust so read on to find out what I’ve been doing to save bucket-loads of cash on my utility bills.
Renovations are opportunities
If you’re giving a room – or your entire home, for that matter – a makeover, you can use it as an opportunity to add some energy-saving measures at the same time. Seeing as I’ve been renovating my little fixer-upper, I’ve taken their advice and added an extra layer of insulation beneath my new laminate flooring to keep my toes warmer in the winter. If you’re building walls opt for breeze blocks with insulation rather than bricks and, when rendering external walls, choose an insulated weather-proof finish.
Appliances account for a lot
Even though I can’t stretch to a brand new fitted kitchen (I’ll show you my plans for giving my kitchen a facelift soon!) I did need to buy some appliances. So why wouldn’t I look for fridges, cookers and washing machines with a good energy efficiency rating? Well, it turns out that A+ isn’t the best energy rating you can buy any more – huge advances in energy-saving technology have been in recent years (and definitely since the last time I bought a freezer!) so take a closer look at those A-G ratings. The highest you can get is A+++ now and this will reflect a significant improvement in performance and saving energy – saving up to £25 per year on the cost of running each appliance. Check toptenUK.org for a regularly updated hot-list of the most economical appliances around. (Don’t forget that competition to win an A+++ washing machine!)
It’s getting hot in here
If you’re updating your heating system, the advice of the Energy Saving Trust is to stay away from electric heating, as it’s the costliest system to run. Our home has gas-fired central heating but the old radiators weren’t powerful enough to heat the size of the rooms they were in. We therefore updated all the radiators to double-layer ones with a BTU rating that matched or exceeded the space they were heating. Our boiler engineer also recommended running the system at a higher temperature than we’d previously been doing – at around 75 degrees for maximum efficiency – and controlling the heat output in each room with the thermostatic radiator valves.
If you’re replacing appliances such as a washing machine or dishwasher, have a look at the amount of water they use as well as the energy rating. Using less-per-wash will save you money on your water and sewerage bills over the course of a year. And it really makes a difference; our local water board couldn’t believe that there was two of us living in our house because we were using less water than one person would! And no, that’s not because we weren’t washing!
These are just a few tips that I’ve put into action since reading about them, but do check out and ‘like’ the Energy Saving Trust Facebook Page for more info, because it’s really helped me and I now feel like I’m in control of the energy I use in my home. To be completely honest, I’m over £200+ in credit with my gas and electricity suppliers since implementing their hacks so it’s obviously working! Let me know how you’re saving energy in your own home – I’d love to learn some more tricks for cutting costs! And don’t forget to enter that A+++ appliance competition while you’re at it!