As the summer heatwaves become a distant memory and the nights begin to draw in, many households across the UK will be wondering what they can do to reduce their energy use as, even with the £2,500 average household cap in place from Saturday, bills have already risen to untenable levels.
National Home Energy Week is showing homeowners that savings are possible – and that sometimes they can be relatively quick and simple to achieve. Running from 26th September to 2nd October 2022, the initiative includes advice on energy efficiency, home insulation and installing renewables.
In the private rental sector, many landlords and tenants are working together to solve the problem of energy loss from the home, and online lettings platform lettingaproperty.com shares 5 top tips for lowering energy bills this autumn to mark National Home Energy Week.
Service the boiler
Boilers must be serviced annually as part of obligatory gas safety checks. However, servicing them again just before tenants turn them on to ward off the autumn cold can help to ensure that they are operating efficiently. An autumn service has the bonus of potentially heading off any problems before the winter months when gas engineers are at their busiest and may be hard to call out at short notice.
Bleed the radiators
Well-bled radiators can have a major impact on energy consumption. Over time, air can become trapped in radiators, making them less efficient and increasing the amount of energy needed to heat the property. Bleeding the radiators in the autumn can therefore reduce energy consumption and costs. Leaving radiators un-bled, on the other hand, can cause the heating system to go into overdrive and potentially fail, resulting in expensive callout charges.
Cover bare floors
While hardwood and tile floors can look fabulous they also mean cold toes as homes lose their summer heat. Carpeting the property, or simply adding rugs for the autumn and winter months, can help the property to retain its heat and keep feet toasty warm.
Prevent air leaks
Running a bead of caulk around the inside and outside of windows can prevent air leaks. It’s a quick and simple job that can eliminate chilly draughts – and with them energy loss – in minutes.
Use window film
Self-adhesive window film is another quick win when it comes to reducing energy consumption. Applying it over window glass can help the home to retain heat as autumn temperatures dip. And with a wide range of textures and patterns available, it can also be an inexpensive way to give a room a new look and feel. Perfect for the change of season.
Jonathan Daines, Founder and CEO, lettingaproperty.com, comments: “Getting a property autumn-ready at the start of the season can pay off significantly, compared to doing it once temperatures have fallen. Reducing energy loss is good for the planet and for the wallet, so we would encourage all landlords and tenants to think carefully about undertaking these and other energy-saving measures as soon as possible.”
In addition to reducing your energy usage, now is also a good time to get your home winter-ready. Graham Lock from Art Windows & Doors shares his top tips for those looking to get started.
Insulate the Property
“Heat is easily lost from your home if you fail to insulate the property adequately. Various areas of the property are prone to heat loss. These can include exterior walls, the roof, doors and windows. Loft insulation is a good place to start, by adding a fleecy base layer and preventing rising heat from evaporating into the atmosphere. Cavity wall insulation is another area to consider, as this area will prevent heat from billowing out of the side of the home. Lag heating pipes to prevent them from freezing during periods of extreme temperatures. These examples of basic insulation will make a huge difference to the heat levels within your home.”
Have your Central Heating Serviced
“Take care of your central heating now and this should prevent any potential problems as the winter embraces your home. Getting your boiler serviced isn’t a bad idea, you might want to power flush your radiators or give them a bleed, to remove air from the system and reduce the chances of cold spots. Have a heating service now and you reduce the chances of it breaking down as temperatures drop outside.”
Update Windows and Doors
“Poorly fitting doors and weather-worn windows are another cause of heat loss within the home. Draughty, single-glazed windows are some of the worst culprits as they offer very little in the way of insulation. Double and triple-glazed options are best. They add a protective barrier as do snug-fitting UPVC or composite doors. Fit them and your home benefits from high levels of thermal efficiency.”
Rubber weather sealing
“Like insulation film, rubber weather sealing is easy to buy online or in hardware stores. All you need to do is cut long strips to fit the dimensions of your windows and then peel and stick the sealing to the frame to close any gaps, eliminating drafts. Rubber sealing is a cheap and effective solution that has a minimal impact on the look of your windows. You can, however, potentially damage paint or leave a sticky residue when removing the seal.”
“Draft snakes are simply fabric tubes that you place under a window sill or door to prevent drafts. You can buy them in a variety of great designs, or you can make your own to fit your windows by sewing a tube of fabric and filling it with dry rice. Whilst this offers you a cheap and easy crafting project, it only prevents a draft from coming from the window sill, still letting out plenty of heating through the rest of the frame and the window itself.”
Cellular shades or blinds
“If you want natural light in your home whilst receiving insulation, you may wish to try cellular shades. You can order them to custom-fit your windows in the home and design shops. You can also have them made for doorways. The only problem is that they don’t insulate as well as other options, such as curtains.”
“Using multiple heavy fabrics can provide a decent amount of insulation for your windows. However, you will end up blocking out the majority of natural light. Layering curtains can make your living room interior design look amazing, but you will not be able to see it due to the lack of light. Buying heavy curtains to layer is quite expensive, too. The best investment you can make this winter to save on your heating costs is a new set of windows.”