Save money by giving your home an energy efficient once-over

Esther Shaw / 15 March 2016

Some simple steps can make your home more energy efficient and save you money on your utility bills.

With parts of the country having been battered by storms, and cold weather persisting, many people are battening down the hatches and cranking up the heating.

But while a host of energy suppliers have reduced their tariffs in recent weeks, energy costs are still taking a big chunk out of the household finances.  

Many of the price changes in the latest round of cuts fall short of the drop in wholesale prices, and some do not even come into effect until after winter bills.

With this in mind, we run through some of the steps you can take yourself to keep a lid on bills; here’s our guide to making your home more energy efficient.

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Invest in a new boiler

The older your boiler, the more inefficient it could be, so now may be the time to think about investing in a new A-rated highly-efficient model. 

The initial outlay could be quite pricey, but you will soon recoup the money you spend in savings on your bills.

Improve your insulation

While installing new insulation will also come at a cost, it’s worth noting that your home loses a third of its heat through the walls.

Figures from the Energy Saving Trust show you could save as much as £160 a year by getting cavity walls insulated and £140 by getting your loft insulated.

You may also want to look into getting double glazing to help keep your home warm.

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Cheaper ways to insulate your home

Other tips to improve insulation without having to fork out huge sums include wrapping up your water tank to conserve heat and money, and putting lagging around pipes to prevent them from bursting.  

In addition, you should make sure all of your windows and doors are sealed properly to stop warm air escaping, as findings from the Energy Saving Trust show 20% of your home’s heat escapes through cracks and gaps around doors and windows.

Look into fitting draught excluders or cushions, and also make sure you keep curtains closed in the evening as this will help you keep the cold air out and the warm air in.

Use the timer

A simple way to save on your energy bills is by setting your timer so that your central heating comes on for a few hours in the morning, and the same again once you get home from work in the evening. 

Don’t waste money by keeping the heating all day long when no-one is home to reap the benefits.

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Bleed your radiators

If your radiators have cold spots, this means you have air in the system. This can easily be resolved by bleeding the radiators to get them working efficiently.

Turn the thermostat down by one degree

You may be able to save more than £60 a year on heating costs by turning the thermostat down by just one degree; the optimum temperature is around 21 degrees. 

And don’t forget, radiator valves allow you to control the temperature of every room independently.

Further savings can be made on your energy bills by washing your clothes at 30 degrees rather than 40 degrees.

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Switch TVs and consoles off standby

While it can be tempting to leave TVs, consoles and other equipment on standby overnight or while you’re out of the house, figures from the Energy Saving Trust show households could save around £30 a year by switching off at the plug.

Only boil the amount of water you need in the kettle

As a Brit, you may love nothing more than a warm cup of tea, but are you guilty of over-filling the kettle each time you make a fresh brew? 

The more water you boil, the more energy you will use, so be sure to only fill the kettle for the amount of cups you need.

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Make the switch to energy-saving lightbulbs

By replacing old light bulbs with energy-saving light bulbs, you could save around £3 a year, or £55 over the life of the bulb. As well as making the switch, don’t forget to flick lights off when you leave a room.

Find out more

For more tips on improving energy efficiency, visit the Energy Saving Trust.

Also speak to your energy provider to see whether you qualify for free energy saving home improvements.

And make a note to enquire about smart meters. These are devices which allow you to see how much energy you are using in pounds and pence – helping you to get a better idea of how much you are consuming, and where you can make savings.

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Switch your supplier

Finally, with suppliers only making small cuts to energy bills in the latest round of reductions, it is well worth taking matters into your hands and making the move to a new provider.

There are potentially some big savings up for grabs on your gas and electricity bills by ditching the “big six” and moving to a smaller supplier.

At present, the top 10 dual-fuel “best buy” deals are all coming in at under £780, on average, meaning you could save more than £300 by making the switch.

For more tips and useful information, browse our money saving articles.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.