Guest post by Kaitlin Krull for Modernize
Homeowners across the country know that powering and maintaining a home can be an expensive undertaking. If opening your energy bills has become a painful experience, there are some things you can do to ease the financial burden. Here are a few top tips to help you lower your home energy costs in 2017.
Consider renewable energy sources
It’s something we at Modernize Solar tell homeowners every day—one of the most efficient ways to lower your energy bills is by taking the leap into renewable energy. There are a variety of ways to utilise renewables at home, but the most popular option by far is to install rooftop photovoltaics, otherwise known as solar panels, to help power your home.
Although residential solar carries a high price tag initially (currently around £5000-8000 for a 4 kilowatts peak domestic system), the long-term environmental and financial benefits are substantial. You can also choose to switch to thermodynamic solar panels for your home’s water and heating source. This second option is currently less common in the UK, but interest in this particular technology is growing.
Install new, energy efficient windows
If you live in a period home or listed building, chances are that your windows probably aren’t double glazed. While period windows can be attractive and appropriate for the area in which you live, they aren’t the most energy efficient option for your home.
Upgrading your single paned windows to new double (or even triple) glazed models will improve your home’s insulation and soundproofing while decreasing draughts and—as a result—your regular energy bills.
Some listed buildings’ regulations require that your windows conform to certain standards. But plenty of specialist companies can tastefully upgrade your windows or provide you with caulking, weatherstripping, and other alternatives to help reduce air leakage.
Re-insulate your home
Another feature of older homes that contributes to high energy bills is insufficient insulation. If you suspect that your home is leaking cool air in the summer months or losing heat during the winter months, ask a professional to inspect the insulation in your loft, wall cavities, and piping. New insulation is relatively inexpensive and will have immediate, positive effects on the temperature regulation of your home—during the summer months as well as the winter.
Invest in a smart thermostat or energy meter
Controlling your energy use at home has never been easier, thanks to the development of smart technology. Smart thermostats learn your energy preferences, turn your heating or air conditioning on and off automatically, and link directly to a smartphone or tablet app for remote access. The Nest thermostat and other similar brand name smart products can help you save money on your energy bills conveniently and effortlessly. If you are interested in finding out how much energy you consume at home but don’t want the financial commitment of a product like this, you can also request a free energy meter from your energy supplier.
Upgrade your boiler
According to the Energy Saving Trust, heating your home takes up approximately 60% of your annual energy costs. An old, outdated boiler is both inefficient and unsafe in your home—and, as such, it should be inspected regularly and replaced when necessary. Modern condensing boilers are more energy efficient because they lose less fuel and therefore consume less energy while running. If you think your boiler needs replacing, call in a professional before the colder months begin.
Switch out old appliances
All modern household appliances come with an EU energy rating and are labelled from A to G, with A being the most energy efficient. If you are thinking about purchasing new appliances in the near future, taking these ratings into consideration can save a considerable amount of money on your energy bills. Tech-savvy homeowners may also want to think about investing in smart appliances that can further increase savings with eco modes and linkable remote access, not unlike the technology used in the Nest thermostat.
Change the lighting in your home
If you are still using traditional light bulbs throughout your home, you are probably spending more on your energy bills and may also be breaking the law. Traditional incandescent bulbs have recently been banned across the European Union and other inefficient bulbs such as halogens will be phased in the next year or two. Switching to LEDs or CFLs can save you around £35 on your electricity bill and keep your home safer. Likewise, new ultra-efficient lighting systems with smart technology can minimise unnecessary energy use and further decrease your energy bills through the use of dimmer switches and timers.