The Affordable Warmth Scheme is scheduled to finish in March 2017 and the Green Deal has already finished but there are plenty of ways that you can make your home more energy efficient to reduce your heating bills.
Install loft insulation
Install cavity wall insulation
Install a new boiler
Apply for Government grants and subsidies
Fit low energy light bulbs
Make YOUR home more energy efficient this winter
- Loft Insulation
Make your home more energy efficient by installing loft insulation. We all know that heat rises so one of the best ways to prevent heat escaping from your home is to insulate your roof space. It is estimated that over 7.5 million homes in the UK have less than the recommended amount of loft insulation but it is a simple and effective way of reducing heat loss. If you have no loft insulation at all, installing loft insulation 300 mm thick could save you up to £140 per year according to the Energy Saving Trust.
For householders who currently have 75 mm or less of loft insulation, the ECO scheme offers free loft insulation if your heating system uses mainly electricity or if you who live in certain post code areas. Everyone else may receive discounted loft insulation if they have 75 mm or less.
- Cavity wall insulation
Make your home more energy efficient by installing cavity wall insulation. Most homes built since the 1920s have external walls with cavities built in, but there was no requirement to insulate cavity walls until the 1980s. Installing cavity wall insulation in homes currently without any could save up to £160 per year in heating bills.
Free cavity wall insulation is available from the ECO scheme if you live in certain post code areas or your main source of heating is electricity. Free cavity wall insulation is also available to all householders who live in detached and semi-detached houses, end-terrace houses and detached bungalows. And even those who do not qualify for free cavity wall insulation would only have to contribute £49 to the installation cost.
- Double Glazing
After your home’s walls and roof, your windows are the third worst culprit in allowing heat to escape from your home. You can replace single glazed windows with double glazed or even triple glazed windows to reduce heat loss. Even without the cost of replacing your windows you can always stop some of the draughts from badly fitting opening sashes or below window cills.
- Install a new boiler
Make your home more energy efficient by installing a new boiler. Providing heating and hot water accounts for more than 80% of the energy consumed in the average home, so ensuring you have an efficient boiler is vital. Modern condensing boilers are far more energy efficient than old style boilers and replacing a G rated boiler for an A rated boiler could save up to £340 per year on your heating bills.
A boiler grant may be available from the Affordable Warmth Scheme if you live in a house (owned or privately rented), you receive certain state benefits and you have an inefficient and/or faulty boiler.
Even if you don’t go to the expense of installing a new boiler, to reduce heat loss you should make sure that your hot water cylinder and any exposed hot water pipes have adequate lagging.
- Take control of your heating system
Efficient heating controls will not only ensure that you only heat the areas you need to, they will save also money. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that installing thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) throughout your home could save up to £165 per year on your heating bills. Taking it one step further you could even control your central heating system using a smartphone app.
- Prevent heat loss at floor level
Almost 10% of the heat you generate can be lost through the floor of a typical home, especially if you have an old house with gaps between the floor boards. If your house has cellars you can fit insulation between the joists but if not, insulating the floor will mean lifting floor boards or raising the floor level if you have concrete floors. Gaps around skirting boards can easily be sealed with silicone sealant.
- Prevent draughts in your home
Make your home more energy efficient by stopping draughts. Window and door frames, letterboxes, cat flaps and even keyholes can allow draughts into your home and stopping these can be simple and inexpensive. Fitting draught excluders, low profile brush strips at the bottom of doors, letter box flaps and even thick curtains will all help to reduce draughts and heat loss from your home.
- Fit low energy light bulbs
Make your home more energy efficient by installing LED light bulbs. Traditional light bulbs have already been banned but halogen light bulbs use even more electricity and create heat. Switch to energy-saving LED light bulbs which use far less electricity than halogen and traditional light bulbs. The same amount of light is created by an eight watt LED bulb as a fifty watt traditional bulb.
- Choose energy-efficient white goods
White goods such as refrigerators, washing machines and tumble dryers are all rated for energy efficiency and they are continuously improving. Initially the rating system went from A to G, with A rated products being most energy-efficient. With improvements in manufacturing techniques you can now get A+++ white goods and choosing an A+++ machine over a C rated one can save hundreds of pounds over the appliance’s lifetime.
- Apply for Government grants and subsidies
The Affordable Warmth scheme provides boiler grants to householders who satisfy the relevant criteria including receiving certain means-tested state benefits and having an inefficient or faulty gas central heating boiler. The Affordable Warmth scheme is part of ECO, the Energy Companies Obligation which also offers free or subsidised loft insulation and cavity wall insulation.
The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive pays you to install biomass boilers, solar thermal hot water systems, ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps.
Installing photovoltaic solar heating panels (solar PV) still qualifies you to receive feed-in tariffs which are fixed for 20 years. However from 15th January 2016 the amount you can claim will fall to 4.39 pence for every unit of electricity you generate and use in your home.