16 Ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency
- By: Ashley Saunders
- June 2020
Running a home is costly. Every year it seems that the household bills increase. You’re likely spending more than you should due to your home being energy inefficiency.
Thankfully, there are many low-cost ways you can try to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Not only will these ideas put money back in your pocket, but also you’ll be helping the planet.
#1 Shut your garage door!
Typically your garage and home share a party wall or floor. It costs nothing to remember to shut your garage door but doing so locks in heat, reducing your heating costs. This small change can improve your home’s energy efficiency.
#2 Replace old appliances
You might have an old microwave or washing machine that still works perfectly. However, they aren’t as energy efficient as the latest home appliances.
By updating older devices to the latest version you ensure that you’re not wasting money powering them. New appliances should easily pay for themselves and offer an increased lifespan.
Another quick win is to invest in an eco kettle such as the iKich Eco Glass Electric Kettle as they typically use 30% less energy and are only slightly more expensive.
#3 Grow your own veg!
Technically growing fruit and veg in your garden doesn’t improve your home’s energy efficiency but does reduce your household’s impact on the planet. You’ll visit the shops less and save on fuel.
#4 Avoid standby mode and turn off phone chargers
Leaving appliances on standby and your phone charge always turned on quietly drains energy increasing your bills. If possible, turn off any appliances and phone chargers when they’re not in use.
Doing this might only save a couple of pence per week but over a year, that could mean a saving of £30. Be aware that this isn’t always possible as digital TV and satellite recorder, for example, may need to stay on standby to function properly.
#5 Increase your home’s insulation
The difference between heating a properly insulated home and one that isn’t can be significant. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that a gas-fuelled detached property with the right insulation can save up to £500 each year on bills.
Depending on your budget, you can insulate your loft or attic, solid walls, cavity walls, floors and even pipes. There are plenty of opportunities to reduce heat lost and improve your home’s energy efficiency.
It’s a good idea to get a few quotes from local builders and research if you’re eligible for any energy-saving grants including the government’s Green Homes Grant scheme. All insulation should conform to Building Regulations in England and Wales and Building Standards in Scotland.
#6 Never reheat food in your oven
Heating an oven to a suitable temperature takes quite a bit of energy. So, if you’re reheating food using a microwave as it’s far quicker and more efficient.
#7 Avoid baths and take short showers
By only showering and keeping them below 5 minutes, you can improve your home’s energy efficiency and cut your water bill by up to £500, each year. It’s still fine to take the occasional bath!
#8 Update your boiler
Just like household appliances, modern boilers are far more energy-efficient than ones installed even 10 years ago. So if you haven’t upgraded your boiler, it’s worth considering doing it. Use Boiler Guide to easily find local plumbers.
Of course, investing in the latest and most energy-efficient boiler will have a large upfront cost but it will pay for itself within a few years. Plus it will lower your home’s carbon emissions.
Even if you don’t update your boiler, it’s worth bleeding your radiators every few month as this will release any air in the system and make it more efficient.
#9 Purchase a dual flush toilet
Around 30% of the water we use in the bathroom is used to flush the toilet. The older it is, the more water it wastes. One solution is to change your current loo for a dual flush toilet. They offer a short and a standard flush allowing you to save water and money every time you use it.
Who knew that the humble loo was energy inefficient! It gives a new meaning to spending a penny!
#10 Get smart with lighting
Lighting can be a quick way to improve your home’s energy efficiency as there’s plenty of ideas to try.
If your still using incandescent light bulbs, change them asap to either Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). both emit just as much light yet use a fraction of energy.
Another inexpensive idea to implement is installing dimmers. Even a slight reduction in the amount of light emitted from the bulbs will have an impact on the energy usage in your home.
If you’re constantly fighting with family members to turn off lights, then consider installing motion detectors or something like the Criacr Motion Sensor Lights, which combines an LED light with a motion sensor.
Typically they turn on a light for a set period such as 5 or 10 minutes. When the time’s up, the light automatically switches off. Also, using motion detectors to control lights is an excellent burglar deterrent.
#11 Fill the dishwasher and skip the pre-rinse
Wait until your dishwasher is completely full before running it. Regardless of how full it is, your dishwasher will use the same amount of energy. The same is also true for washing machines (bonus tip!).
It’s also worth avoiding pre-rinsing dishes as this is a waste of both time and energy. So don’t bother with this step and put your dishes directly in the dishwasher.
#12 Upgrade your windows
One of the biggest sources of heat loss is the windows. Luckily there’s plenty we can do to improve their energy efficiency.
Even with a small budget, you can install magnetic secondary glazing. This is far cheaper than changing your windows yet provides an additional layer of insulation and soundproofing. The good news is that most options are DIY friendly.
If you have the budget to upgrade your windows to either double or triple glazing, then it’s worth the cost. Not only will improve your home’s heat retention but will also reduce your energy bills.
Another affordable option is custom lined curtains. Ideally, they should hang from the ceiling to the floor. In the summer, they can be used to block out heat and prevent heat loss in the winter. They’ll help to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
#13 Leave the oven open after cooking
There’s nothing like a bit of cooking to warm up a kitchen. When you’ve finished using the oven keep the door open and transfer the heat to the rest of the home until it cools down.
#14 Clothes dryers
Where possible avoid using the dryer and hang clothes on airers or outside. Dryers spin the clothes using a large motor and a heater, both of which use a lot of energy. So it’s best to avoid using one.
If you do use a dryer, it’s worth cleaning the lint filter after every couple of uses. This will help it run more efficiently and use less electricity.
#15 Don’t forget the loft hatch
We’ve already talked about insulating the loft, but don’t forget the loft hatch! Many people undo hours of hard work by neglecting to cover the hatch with insulation. It’s also worth using draught-proofing around the perimeter of the hatch to create an airtight seal that stops heat from escaping.
If you can’t afford to insulate your entire attic, you can still ensure the loft hatch is adequately insulated and draught proofed. It’s a superb way to start to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
#16 Keep tabs on your energy consumption
Our most important piece of advice is to stay on top of your usage. You can’t fix a problem you don’t know exists! When you’re aware of what you’re spending and where the main issues are in your home then you can make a conscious effort to reduce your consumption and improve your home’s energy efficiency.
It’s worth investing in an energy monitor such as the geo Minim Energy Monitor or asking your electricity provider if they’ll supply one for free. A monitor will provide you with constant updates about the amount of energy you are using daily.
Change your habits to improve your home’s energy efficiency
Unsurprisingly, changing multiple habits no matter how tiny the change is can have a massive effect and help you to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Even something as seemingly stupid as switching lights off, lower your thermostat and shutting the garage door quickly adds to. So consider how you can change these habits and more.
If everyone makes the effort then together we can protect the environment better and live in more energy-efficient homes.