Energy-saving home improvements
If your home is not insulated properly, you might qualify for a grant to help you keep your property warm. See grants for home upgrades for more information.
There are some simple ways you can stop draughts coming into your home.
- Fit a brush or PVC seal to front and back doors, and seal windows (but leave some ventilation if you have an open or gas fire or a boiler with a flue)
- Use brush seals or spring flaps to draught proof letter boxes, and block keyholes with cover plates
- Fit a heavy curtain over the front door
- Make sure your curtains do not cover your radiators
- Fill gaps under skirting boards with newspaper, beading or sealant and put rugs over bare floorboards
Energy and heat systems
There are many ways to heat your home and the best option for you will depend on your individual circumstances and your property.
Direct electric heating SHOW
Electric heating is a common alternative for properties without gas central heating. Common electric heaters are direct electric heaters (electric panel and convection heaters) and electric storage heaters. Electric heating is often advertised as being 100% efficient. This is theoretically true as these types of heaters are able to turn 1 unit of electricity into an equivalent 1 unit of heat. A typical new gas boiler is around 90% efficient (turning 1 unit of gas into 0.9 units of heat), however, electricity is usually three or four times more expensive than gas, making electric heating much more expensive to run.
Direct electric heaters can vary slightly in the way they produce the heat, but they will all provide heat instantly when you turn them on. If you have electric heating, you will most likely have a hot water tank which is also electrically heated, which works independently to your heating.
Night storage heaters SHOW
Electric storage heaters are a way of reducing the cost of electric heating. You should be on an economy 7 or economy 10 (or other multi-rate) tariff if you have storage heaters, which allows you to pay less for any electricity you use overnight. Storage heaters are able to charge up over night when heating is not needed and electricity costs are low, and then provide the heat later in the day when needed. Similarly your water tank can do the same.
If you have night storage heaters, and are not already on a multi-rate electricity tariff, then it is essential you do so; or else you will not make any savings by having this form of heating and charging at night.
Air source heat pumps SHOW
If you’re considering switching to an air source heat pump, you might find this video useful.
Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells which convert solar energy from the sun into electricity for your home. When your solar PV array is generating electricity but there is no use for it at that time, this excess electricity can either be sold to the electricity grid or stored (using a battery or hot water tank) for your own use later. Solar panels can even generate electricity on a cloudy day and are a very effective way to make your home more environmentally friendly because the energy generated is carbon-free.
Increasingly, because of an improvement in technology and fall in cost, people install batteries alongside their solar PV. Batteries have the effect of saving the electricity generated by the panels which would otherwise be exported to the grid; allowing it to be used at times when the sun isn’t shining. Batteries also allow, for households on multi-rate tariff electricity, to store power at night at cheap rates and off-set more expensive daytime rates.
If your property has an energy-efficiency rating of E, F or G, you might be eligible for funding for solar panels. Read more about grants for home upgrades.
If you’ve been thinking about installing solar panels, consider using Solar Together’s group-buying scheme to get the best available deals for installation. Solar Together opens for applications in various stages throughout the year.