Britain’s energy companies have just finished a round of 18% energy price hikes. They’ve managed to stir up considerable outrage in the media, though, by being flippant about their price increases. First Utility recently sent its customers a set of energy-saving tips called the 5:2 Energy Diet – as a jocular reference to the way weight-loss diets tend to be named. The energy provider recommends that you go on a deep energy fast two days a week and use energy more freely the rest of the time. They say that you can save more than £150 a year this way.
Their other tips are objectionable, too. In one tip, they suggest that people take up group showers to save on their hot water bills. They then add a joke about making sure that the people you try to share showers with are okay with it.
Turning off your TV early, going to bed early and giving up using your coffee machine are some of the other tips dealt out in a joking manner.
Other utility companies like Scottish and Southern Energy have another energy-saving idea leading up to Christmas. They have offered consumers between £50 and £75 to anyone who completely turns off their power for a full 48 hours close to Christmas.
Clearly, energy-saving is on everyone’s minds, the energy companies, included. While the advice they offer is clearly impractical, there are many meaningful steps that you actually can take. Whether its energy saving light bulbs or solar installations lets look at some decent ways to improve your energy at home.
Look at the way you place your furniture
People can sometimes make mistakes in the simplest things and suffer greatly as a result. For instance, many people place their furniture right in front of their heater vents or radiators. With a large sofa in front of radiator, little heat can get into the room. Others will invest in underfloor heating, but put large, heavy rugs on their floors, effectively trapping their heat in their floors. It’s important to make sure that you aren’t doing anything to obstruct the even flow of heat around your room. To help your radiators spread their heat more effectively, you can even aim small fans at them.
Low-Flow faucets and showerheads
Any time you turn on the water for a shower or a shave, you waste energy. After you use hot water to wash your brush or rinse your hair, the dirty water that runs down the drain is still perfectly warm. While there is no widely available heat harvesting technology available to extract heat out of wastewater as it runs down the drain, you can minimize the waste by using a low-flow faucets and showerheads. Low-flow models don’t put out a trickle of water – they create volume with very little water. You get a satisfying shower or shave with a fraction of the hot water that you’d need with a conventional model.
Try intelligent, energy-saving landscaping
If you have your own yard, it can be a great way to save energy. The way you landscape your property can easily help you save on your heating bills.
Planting dense and tall hedges close to your home can help contain any heat leakage. Hedges can hold the heat that makes it out of your home. You can have less heat leaking out of your home when it is enveloped in relatively warm air.
Planting a line of bushy, wind-breaking trees on the perimeter of the property can help keep cold, northerly winds away from your home. You will save on your heating bills when you don’t constantly have frigid air washing over your house.
You can plant deciduous trees on the southern perimeter of your property. These trees grow dense foliage in summer and offer you cool shade. In winter, they lose their leaves and let the sun shine through. They warm your house in this way.
People don’t need to suffer high energy bills as much as they do. From energy-saving lighting to cutting down on waste, it’s easy to halve your energy bills. You simply need to think about what you do.
An air to air heat pump is a great alternative to a conventional furnace and air conditioning system. It allows you to make your home comfortable while saving money every month on your energy bills. This equipment is not only more efficient, it doesn’t require fuel like conventional heating and cooling equipment. It can operate for decades using nothing more than the outside air to work its magic. These systems are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles so finding the perfect solution for your home can take a little effort comparing your options. Knowing what you want in an air to air heat pump will save you time when you start shopping for a system and may save you money as well.
The basic design of an air to air heat pump was developed over a hundred years ago and has been commercially available for decades. The system works by simply moving heat either into or out of the home. It doesn’t actually create any of this heat; it simply moves it very efficiently to adjust the temperature in an area. Smaller versions of these heat pumps can be used in an individual room and larger ones can handle an entire home. The technology is also very simple in its design and only requires a minimum number of components. Outside the house there is a set of collection coils that have the air forced past them by a blower motor. The coils have a specialized liquid being circulated through them that allows them to extract the heat from the air. As this liquid is warmed it turns to a gas that is sent inside the home to another set of coils. These interior coils radiate the heat from the gas and warm the home. As this gas cools, it turns back to liquid and the cycle starts again. In the summer months the process is reversed to provide a cooler climate inside the home as the warm air is removed.
The biggest benefit these systems have is that they don’t actually require any fuel to operate. Unlike conventional furnaces that consume oil or gas while operating, an air to air heat pump only needs a small amount of electricity to function and can produce as much hot or cold air as required. This fuel savings can be substantial and will save you money every month in your home.
The other benefit is the reliability of these systems. Because the use a minimum of parts, they can last far longer than conventional heating and cooling equipment. Most funances fail because of the soot and other debris created when they burn fuel. An air to air heat pump will eliminate the need for the equipment to be serviced since no screens or burners have to be cleaned or replaced.
What Size Is Best?
These systems are available in a number of different sizes and choosing the right one for your home depends on how large of an area you’re hoping to heat or cool. Smaller units can be installed to cool a specific room and will compliment your main heating and cooling equipment. These types of systems are normally installed in sun-rooms or additions to a home that has no existing ductwork. Adding an air to air heat pump is an easy and inexpensive way to heat and cool these rooms.
Larger models are also available that can be used for an entire home. These bigger systems are typically connected to an existing series of ducts that allow them to distribute the air they condition anywhere in the home. These models can be used to replace an existing furnace or air conditioning unit and are a very affordable alternative.
Options and Upgrades
In addition to the basic unit, there are some upgrades and options you might want to consider when shopping for an air to air heat pump. Removable air filters are a great option to have that can clean the air while heating or cooling the room. Since these units redistribute the air in a room, they can easily clean it as it passes through this filter. A remote control is another popular option for these systems. Even though most of them have a hardwired thermostat, some offer an additional remote that you can use to adjust the temperature. Several versions of these units provide a negative ion generator to help purify the air. This type of treatment can help the air smell fresh and eliminate some odors as the air passes through the heat pump. All of these features may raise the price of the system but can be well worth the investment. For more information on this why not visit u-switch who have some excellent resources on air pumps!
It’s estimated that as much as 35% of the heat loss within your home occurs through your walls. Each time you switch on your heating system, you’re paying money for heat that escapes from your home. In order to maintain a comfortable heat within the house, you need to keep the heaters running for longer.
Of course, if you can minimise the amount of heat that escapes from each room you can actively reduce your heating costs. You won’t need to run the heating for so long to maintain an optimal temperature, as much of the heat you generate will remain in the room.
Cavity Wall or Solid Wall Insulation
The type of insulation you choose for your home will depend largely on its construction. Many homes built after 1920 are constructed with a gap between the external walls. If you choose to install cavity wall insulation into that gap, you can greatly reduce the amount of heat that is able to escape from your home.
Solid wall insulation requires a very different insulation method and can cost significantly more to install initially. However, if your home is constructed with solid walls, you may find the potential savings off your heating bills can also be quite significant.
Cavity Wall Insulation: Cost versus Savings
The cavity wall insulation cost to purchase and install is reasonable for the potential savings you could make off your energy bill. For the average home you can expect to pay around £450 to £500. However, you should save up to around £140 per year off your heating bills.
You may also qualify for a cashback amount for your cavity wall insulation cost. The Green Deal cashback scheme may give you £250 back off the price you paid or up to a maximum of 50% of your actual cavity wall insulation cost, which can help to offset your initial outlay significantly.
If your property’s walls are considered ‘hard to treat’ you may qualify for a subsidy under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) to help you cover your cavity wall insulation costs. Always take the time to check what type of walls your home has before you proceed with your insulation efforts. You may be able to gain funding through ECO if your home qualifies.
Insulating Other Areas of Your Home to Improve Energy Performance
Insulating cavity walls can be a great start for improving the energy performance of your home. However, installing insulation into your loft or ceiling space can also help to reduce your heating bills by as much as £180 per year.
Floor insulation and internal wall insulation may also provide effective ways to reduce the amount of heat that escapes your home, further reducing your heating bills. Depending on the type of flooring you have within your home, you may be able to save a further £60 off your energy bills each year.
Even smaller efforts, such as reducing draughts within rooms can help to keep your energy costs down. Check whether heat may be escaping through gaps between your floors and skirting boards and fill them to reduce draughts. Likewise, gaps under your doorways or around your windows may be allowing heat to escape. Filling any gaps or leaks could potentially save you a further £25 per year off your energy bills.
Funding Your Cavity Wall Insulation Costs
There are a number of grants and financial incentive schemes available to help you fund your cavity wall insulation costs. The Green Deal cashback scheme may allow you to apply for cashback on your purchase costs for approved insulation. You also have the option of applying for a Green Deal loan that lets you repay the cost of any energy efficient home improvements you make through your energy bills over time.
If you’re a landlord seeking to improve the energy efficiency of a rental property, you may be able to take advantage of the Landlord’s Energy Saving Allowance. You may be able to claim up to a maximum of £1,500 against your tax for any energy-saving home improvements you make. You’re able to claim an allowance for each rental property you own.
Cavity wall insulation can greatly improve your home’s energy performance. It can also be an excellent way to reduce your energy bills each year. Before you decide to proceed with any home improvements, always take the time to check whether your home is eligible for any grants or financial assistance first. For more information on this why not visit http://www.uswitch.com