How to keep warm this winter & save energy too
It’s no newsflash that properties all across the UK are using excess energy with serious financial and environmental consequences. To solve the problem, there are plenty of big ideas about what should be done to change the way we consume energy as a nation for a greener future.
Perhaps the bigger challenge is making every homeowner feel empowered to make small changes in their homes today. For many, the trouble is just knowing where to start. Here are 3 easy steps to help you get on your way, thanks to our friends at MyBuilder.com and The Energy Saving Trust.
Step 1 – Identify problem areas
Are you leaking heat?
Any interior designer will tell you that a lick of paint or luxurious wallpaper can make a home feel all warm and cozy inside, but in reality, it’s what’s behind the walls that really makes the difference.
- Adding cavity wall & loft insulation (270mm) alone could save homeowners over £200 a year on heating bills. Installing insulation is a quick and fairly inexpensive job, taking just a day or two to fit. Experienced insulation specialists can help you pick out suitable materials and get the best rates with their trade discounts.
Often overlooked, floors can be a sieve for heat.
- It’s easy to mend gaps and cracks around floors and skirting boards. DIY quick fixes can be taken care of using a tube of sealant and a bit of attention to detail.
- If you think your floors could use a complete overhaul consult a flooring installer for professional advice.
What’s the status with your windows and doors?
- Check all external access points for leaks. London builder and sustainability expert, James Christofides recommends you get your window fitter to put construction tape around the window and secure it properly with fabric so it’s airtight.
- If you don’t already have double glazing, what are you waiting for? According to Energy Saving Trust you could be saving around £130 a year by installing sufficient double glazing. If you’re buying new windows, always check that they’re up to standard. Recent changes to regulations require that all new window installations have an Energy Rating of C or above.
How are you heating your home?
Do you have a high efficiency condensing boiler? If so, well done! Otherwise, it may be time to make a switch. Did you know that most boilers have a maximum lifespan of 12 years? If your boiler is ageing or has a low efficiency rating, it’s worth exploring your options and upgrading. Not only can you save hundreds on your yearly heating bills, you can also add major value to your property. Whether you’re just looking for advice or you’re ready to supply and fit, make sure you contact a Gas Safe engineer or plumber.
Step 2 – Get a second and third opinion!
Once you have an idea of what you want to do, make sure you seek out plenty of professional advice and get multiple competitive quotes. Whenever comparing quotes it’s important to make sure you’re comparing like for like. Ask each tradesman for a breakdown so you can assess costs based on materials and labour to get a better idea of value for money. You can find and communicate with recommended builders and tradesmen online using MyBuilder.com.
Step 3 – Put it in writing
Once you decide to forge ahead with your energy saving home improvements and engage a contractor, cover yourself by putting your plans on paper. Always sign a contract and make sure you get guarantees for any materials.