MONEY: Energy Saving Tips

If you plan energy saving improvements to your home before winter kicks in, you could save yourself time and money.

Top no-cost energy saving tips

· Switch Energy supplier or tariff

· Turn your thermostat down by 1°C can save you as much as £60 per year.

· In the worst weather keeping your heating on constantly on a low heat e.g. 15c overnight, this could potentially save you more money than switching it on and off for big blasts of heat.

· Turn unnecessary lights and appliances off and don’t leave on standby. A typical household could save between £90 and £150 a year just by turning off appliances left on standby.

· Be careful in the kitchen – You can save over £55 a year just by being careful how you use your kitchen appliances. The following tips can help you reach this saving:

· Wash your clothes at 30-40 °C.

· Use a bowl to wash up rather than the whole sink; do not leave the hot tap running.

· Just boil the amount of water in your kettle that you need.

· Use the smallest pan and cooker ring possible.

· Turn the pressure down on the power shower.

· Avoid pre-rinsing dishes in hot water; just scrape dishes before they go in the dish washer.

· Air-dry your laundry outside rather than tumble drying it, or use a creel or maiden.

· Save ironing time by taking your clothes out of the dryer before they’re completely dry – they’ll iron much quicker.

Insulation tips

Draught proofing: DIY draught proofing of windows, doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards could cost up to £115, but could save £55 a year in a draughty home, so these works can pay for themselves in just over two years.

Tank and pipe insulation: If you already have a hot water tank jacket fitted, check the thickness, it should be at least 75mm thick. Fitting a British Standard jacket will cost around £15 DIY, cut heat loss by over 75% and save you around £45 a year. Fitting pipe insulation will cost around £10 and save you around £15 a year.

Cavity wall insulation: If a home was built after 1920, the chances are that its external walls are made of two layers of brick with a gap or cavity between them. The average installation cost for cavity wall insulation is between £450 and £500 and can save up to £140 a year.

Loft insulation: It is recommended you have at least 270mm (ten inches) of loft insulation. The cost of installing loft insulation is up to £300. You could save up to £180 a year if your loft is uninsulated by installing 270mm of insulation. Even if you have some insulation, by topping up from 100mm to 270mm could save around £50 a year.

Solid wall insulation: If your home was built before 1920, its external walls are probably solid rather than cavity walls. The cost of installing internal wall insulation is £5,000 to £8,000 and you could save around £460 a year. The cost of installing external wall insulation is £9,000 to £13,000 and you could save around £490 a year.

Heating tips

Heating controls -Whatever the age of your boiler, control the time and temperature in the rooms where you want your heating, this will save you money. Here are the average savings you could make in a typical three-bedroom semi-detached home, heated by gas:

Install a central timed thermostat (if you didn’t have one before): £125 – saving approximately £100 per year.

Fit a hot water tank controller and thermostat: £30 – approximate saving of £45 a year

Replace your boiler – Boilers account for around 55% of what you spend in a year on energy bills. Replacing an old gas boiler with an A-rated high-efficiency condensing boiler and improving your heating controls will cost around £2,000 – and could save you as much as £310 a year.