There are essentially two ways to reduce energy consumption in your home: installing more efficient appliances and heating equipment, or improving the insulation.
Almost every appliance made today is significantly more efficient than those made only ten years ago. This is especially true of domestic central heating boilers. Advancements in materials science has also led to improvements in home insulation,
Obviously replacing all appliances and improving insulation is extremely costly so it is important to weigh up the costs of benefits to determine which items should be updated first. Here we look at some of the easiest and cheapest ways to reduce energy consumption in the home.
Change to LED light bulbs
A few years ago compact fluorescent light bulbs were the standard energy saving bulb, however, recent advancements in LED technology have led to a new wave of energy efficient bulbs in the form of LED light bulbs. LED bulbs last longer than CFLs and use less energy.
One major benefit of LED bulbs over CFLs is that some can be dimmed to save even more energy. Switching to LEDs will save energy in the long-term and although the dimmable bulbs are currently rather expensive it is a much cheaper option than buying new white goods.
Check for draughts
Keeping out draughts is one of the easiest, cheapest and most often overlooked ways of insulating a home. These can come through gaps under the skirting boards, between floorboards, through plug sockets, under doors, where pipes enter the house and through old, badly fitted windows.
Most of these problems can be solved with some clear silicone mastic, which is relatively cheap and easy to apply. Another advantage of ensuring all skirting boards are sealed is that your carpets will not accumulate a border of unsightly dust.
Curtains and shutters
Additional insulation can be added with thick curtains and good quality shutters. Shutters provide a benefit in winter and summer. In winter they act as an additional layer of thermal insulation to keep warmth in, and in summer they reflect sunlight away from the house to help keep the home cool. They can help reduce heating bills in the winter and reduce the need for air conditioning in the summer.
You can order shutters in all shapes and sizes and usually find one that will fit your window without the need to have them tailor made.
A poorly insulated attic will result in a lot of heat being lost through your ceilings. Insulating an attic is an easy process. Some high quality attic insulation is relatively cheap and easy to apply. You just need to unroll the insulation and lay it flat across the attic floor. Use insulation tape to create a seamless layer. Top up insulation rolls are a good idea too.
For additional insulation fix a foil top-up quilt to the rafters of your attic. You can do this with a staple gun. Not only will this reduce heat loss it will help keep the house cooler in summer.
Remember to insulate any water pipes in the attic too, as the space will be considerably colder in the winter and the pipes are more likely to freeze.
Improving home insulation does not take a lot of time and is inexpensive when compared to the cost of heating a poorly insulated home.