40 Money-Saving Tips for Homeowners

I think we can all agree that running a home can be an expensive endeavour. But did you know that there are very simple and quick changes you can make at home to save you money and the environment?

Below is a list of 40 simple tips and tricks to help you save money on your energy bill and do your bit to help save the environment. To help you, we’ve separated these into four categories:

  • Free tricks
    These are tips that will cost you nothing. Instead, they will save you money
  • Low cost tricks
    You may have to spend a small amount of money (e.g. £10 – £35) to save
  • Medium cost tricks
    You may have to spend a moderate amount of money (e.g. £35 – £150) to save
  • High cost tricks
    You may have to spend a substantial amount (e.g. £150+) to save!

All saving estimates are calculated based on an average semi-detached house of 4.

Free Tricks to Save Money & Energy

  1. Turn off standby (potential saving: £86 per year)
    Standby is when an electrical item is ‘turned off’ but still using energy. For example, when you turn off your TV with the remote and still see the little red light. That is standby mode.

    Turning electrical goods off at the socket (or unplugging them entirely if you want to be extra sure they’re not using energy!) can have an immediate impact on your household energy consumption.

  2. Turn down your heating (potential saving: £45 per year for every 1°c reduction in temperature)
    Heating our homes is one of the biggest uses of energy in our country. By simply lowering the temperature by 1°c in your own home you can save £75 per year. Lowering it by 2°c can result in a saving of £150 per year, and so on.

    Reducing the temperate may mean you have to wear a jumper instead of just a t-shirt, but we believe it is worth it due to the potential savings

  3. Low temperature washes (potential saving: £13 per year)
    Washing machines often have multiple cycle settings and the ability to change the temperature of washes. Lowering these settings will result in less energy being used per wash. Combine this with the fact that modern detergents can produce similar results at lower washes and there really is no reason not to do this!
  4. Boil only the amount of water you’ll use (potential saving: £26 a year)
    A kettle can use a considerable amount of energy to boil water and the longer it takes to boil, the more energy it uses. Only boil the amount of water you’re going to use to save money (e.g. don’t boil a full kettle for two cups of tea).
  5. Take showers over baths/keep shower to under 5 mins (potential saving: £35 a year/per person)
    The average bath holds 80 litres of water and this must be heated higher than the desired temperature to ensure it does not cool down too much during the process of filling the bath.

    This is the equivalent of 10 minutes in an electric shower on the highest setting, which would use approximately 8 litres of water per minute. In general, showers use less water and energy. This is particularly the case if you use a low-flow showerhead.

  6. Turn off lights when not needed/in use (potential saving: £28 a year/per incandescent bulb replaced)
    Turning off lights when you are not in a room or using less lights can significantly cut energy bills.If you insist on having certain lights on all the time, as some do, ensure they are energy efficient.
  7. Fridge/freezer temperature (potential saving: £25 – £45 a year depending on fridge/freezer)
    Keeping your fridge/freezer cold uses energy. the colder you keep it the more energy you use, and this ultimately costs you money.

    Your fridge should be set between 2.8-4.4°C and your freezer should be set at -15°C or -18°C for long storage freezers. So why do fridges/freezers have an adjustable temp setting? This is to allow you adjust the appliance to meet the conditions of your home and to maintain a safe temperature throughout the year.

  8. Use your microwave (potential saving: £60 per year instead of using a hob)
    Microwaves not only allow you to cook food much faster, they can also save you money as they use much less energy than an oven.

    Whenever you’re cooking a meal, look at whether it can be heated, or at least partially, in a microwave. For example, you can steam vegetables in a microwave as opposed to using a hob.

  9. Air dry your clothes whenever possible (potential saving: £85 per year)
    Tumble dryers use a lot of energy and can be a life saver when the weather is bad for prolonged periods of time.

    But they are extremely power hungry and can cost between £85-120 a year to run. Furthermore, the tumble action can reduce the lifespan of your clothes through friction which wears down the fibres.

    Air drying is free and it is better for the long-term life of your clothes. In this sense air drying saves you on both energy and the cost of replacing worn out clothes.

  10. Remove radiator covers (potential saving: £20 per year)
    Radiator covers are favoured by some as they can make a radiator look nicer or help avoid people getting burned.

    However, there is a huge downside to them. The covers are also trap and absorb a lot of the heat. Removing them will make your home heat up much quicker

  11. Don’t charge overnight (potential saving: £7 per year, per device)
    Charging devices overnight that have a full battery is a complete waste of energy. Over a sustained period, it can lead to your device becoming damaged. Instead, consciously remember to charge your device whenever you’re at home or in the office and once it is charged, unplug it.
  12. Keep your fridge/freezer clean and frost free (potential saving: £15 – £30 per year)
    The coils on the back of your fridge are used in cooling your fridge, if they are covered in dust, they struggle to release heat.

    The coils on the back of your fridge are there for cooling purposes. If they are covered in dust, it can lead to them not being as efficient as possible. Cleaning them a few times a year will increase the lifespan of your fridge and help keep it as efficient as possible.

    In addition to the above, frost build-up on the inside of your fridge can also make it difficult for your fridge to work efficiently. Keep a check on any build-up.

  13. Use pan lids (potential saving: £15 per year)
    Pan lids trap heat inside the pan, helping it boil and cook whatever is inside the pan much faster.
  14. Use the right size pans (potential saving: £10 per year)
    Smaller pans heat up and cook whatever is inside them much quicker. Using a bigger pan for the same task is a waste.
  15. Use the right size hob (potential saving: £20 per year)
    Like the last tip, a larger hob uses much more energy than a smaller hob. Use a hob suited to the pan you need to use.
  16. Turn off the tap (potential saving: £15 – 40 per year)
    Running the tap while you brush your teeth wastes wate. This adds up over the course of a year.
  17. Use one device (potential saving: average £5 – £10 per year per device)
    We are all guilty of turning on the tv then sitting back on our phones or laptop. Turning off as many devices as you can that you’re not using will save lots of money in the long run.
  18. Carpool (potential saving depends on distance travelled but averaged out it can be from around £150-£400 per year)
    Carpooling with one person cuts the energy usage by around half and could cut your commuting costs by a similar amount. Obviously, the more people you pool with, the greater the saving.
  19. Lower device brightness (potential saving: £15 – £100 per year per device)
    The brighter you have a screen on any device, the more energy it will use. Turning down energy on devices such as laptops or monitors can save you a good chunk of money over the course of a year. It could do wonders for your eyes too!
  20. Bleed radiators (potential saving: £30 per year)
    Bleeding radiators regularly ensures they are operating as effectively as possible as it removes air blockages, which ensures the flow of water in your radiators is optimal.
  21. Walk/cycle more (potential saving: £150 – £400 per year)
    Walking/cycling more means that you aren’t using public transport or your car, saving you money and saving the environment at the same time. Furthermore, it’s great for your body and mental health. Walking just 30 minutes a day could have a huge impact on your health.
  22. Low Cost Tricks

  23. Purchase new shower heads (potential saving: £35 per year)
    Modern shower heads (or specifically energy-saving shower heads) can help you save money by restricting water flow, meaning water is delivered at a higher pressure. This means you’ll get a similar result to what you’ve become accustomed to but will be using less water.
  24. Install tap aerators (potential saving: £13 per year, per tap)
    Aerators fit inside or onto your taps and limit the amount of water coming out of the tap but make the water that does pass through come at a higher pressure.

    By limiting the amount of water coming out of the tap and separating the flow of water with air you will use less water without noticing any difference.

  25. Install radiator reflectors (potential saving: £20 per year)
    Radiator reflectors go behind radiators and reflect heat into the room that would have otherwise been lost into the wall.

    By placing reflectors behind your radiator, you will heat up your rooms much quicker and use less energy to do so, this also means that regulating your room temperature is much easier.

  26. Read more (potential saving: £20 per year)
    Reading instead of watching TV means that your TV won’t be using energy. Over the course of a year this can save you a tidy sum off your energy bill.
  27. Rechargeable batteries (potential saving: £15 – £30 per year)
    Rechargeable batteries cost much less to recharge than it would cost to buy new batteries, and although they won’t save you energy, you will save by not having to buy new disposable batteries. You can also feel very smug that you’re helping to save the environment.
  28. Grow your own food (potential saving: approx. £1,352 per year, based on a family of four spending £26 a week on fresh veg)
    Growing your own things such as herbs and fresh veg can save you substantial money and stop you from needing to travel to the shop, again saving you on energy use.

    If you have unused garden space, this is a perfect way to utilize it and save you and your family money. You could even save substantial amounts by paying for an allotment and growing produce there. The national average rate for a 250sqm allotment is 35p/sqm, giving you a yearly cost of just £87.50; against the savings means you could still save £1,264.5 on average for a family of four, and its and activity you can all get involved with!

  29. Carry a reusable bottle (potential saving: £30-£50 per year)
    Carrying a bottle around means that you can grab a drink of water wherever you go so you are not wasting bottles or needing to buy a new drink whenever you are thirsty.

    Reusable bottles cost a little more than your average bottle, but they tend to save money in the long run by lasing longer. Most also have the added benefit of being BPA free, meaning chemicals in the plastic will not leach out over time onto the contents.

  30. Check and replace your fridge/freezer seals (potential saving: £10 – £20 per year per appliance)
    Your fridge and freezer needs to be able to keep the cold in to operate as efficiently as possible, if the seal is failing or broken then the unit will have to work harder to keep the temperature stable, using more energy and costing you more money.

    To test your seals, put a piece of paper between the door and close it, if the paper falls you need a new seal (it’s worth trying this in each corner and in the middle of all four sides of the door).

    New seals can range from £15 for universal ones that you measure and fit yourself, up to £80 for device/manufacturer specific ones than can simply be replaced.

  31. Fix drips and leaks (potential saving: £20 per year per leak/drip)
    Dripping taps or other leaks constantly let out water, by fixing the leak you are guaranteed to save money on your water bill. It’s also good to fix just for the environmental impact, as all domestic water is drinkable having gone through the treatment process to make it safe. Fix those leaks and drip and save that precious drinking water from being wasted and save yourself money in the process!
  32. Medium Cost Tricks

  33. Purchase a smart thermostat (potential saving: £86 per year)
    They allow you to control the time your heating turns on and off based upon several scenarios. For example, when you’re not at home, when your house reaches a certain temperature or during certain times.

    This management of the temperature in your home via a smart thermostat can help you reduce the amount of time your boiler is unnecessarily heating your home.

  34. Draught proofing (potential saving: £50+ per year)
    It is the process of sealing up cracks, holes or gaps that let cold air into your home. By doing this you will require less from your boiler as it will work less to help your home reach the desired temperature.
  35. Roof/loft insulation (potential saving: £150 per year)
    This involves lining the floor of your loft with thick layers of thermal wool insulation to stop heat rising and escaping through your loft. 
  36. Switch to LED Light bulbs (potential saving: £240 per year (source))
    Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs use up 90% less energy, much of which is saved in the form of drastically less heat being lost compared to traditional (incandescent) bulbs. LED bulbs are available in brightness’ comparable to incandescent, with many manufacturers now offering dimmable LEDs, so you can keep the feel of your home the same whilst saving money and the environment.

    Whilst the initial cost of LEDs can be slightly more than traditional bulbs, the energy savings quickly make up for this extra cost, and in addition, the average life expectancy of a LED bulb is 10,000hrs so if you used the light for 10hrs every day you can expect to get 2.7 years out of a single bulb. Compare this to incandescent bulbs where the average life expectancy is 2,000hrs, that gives you just over half a year in the same scenario.

  37. Heavy curtains (potential saving: £40 – £110 per year, depending on your windows and if you don’t shut the curtains at night already)
    Heavy (thick) curtains can dramatically alter the temperature in a room.Curtains aren’t only used for blocking out light, as they have the potential to reduce the heat loss from your room by 17%. So, by ensuring curtains in your house are shut, you can save a surprising amount of money every year.
  38. Insulate pipe work (potential saving: £12 per year)
    It is a layer of insulation that goes over your water and heating pipes. This means the water that enters your radiators is warmer and you also won’t have to run taps for as long to get hot water, as it retains the heat for much longer due to the insulation.

    Pipe insulation won’t save you a fortune, but it is cheap to purchase (though it can get slightly costly if you have a lot if pipes to insulate). It’s worth doing for the small cash saving and knowing that you’re helping the environment. 

  39. High Cost Tricks

  40. Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances (potential saving: £85 per year)
    Every appliance sold in the UK has a rating between A and G. A-rated appliances uses the least amount of energy and G use the most.

    If you were to switch from using a freezer rated G to one rated A, you could save yourself £85 a year. After recouping the initial cost of an energy-efficient appliance over the first few years, you could effectively be profiting from upgrading.

  41. Replacing your boiler (potential saving: £340 per year compared to your old boiler)
    Boilers produce your hot water and heat your home. Due to technological advances over time, newer boilers are much more efficient. Although boilers can last 15 years, a newer one could save you a lot of money in running costs alone.
  42. Installing new windows (potential saving: £110 per year with B-rated double glazing)
    Modern double glazing (rated B) can help you save a surprising amount of money as part of their design is to keep heat in your home. This helps eliminate cold entering your home, so your boiler works less to regulate the temperature in your own home.
  43. Buy a dishwasher (potential saving: (potential saving: £60+ per year)
    While dishwashers do use power, they tend to be low consumption appliances and generally use much less water than someone washing pots by hand. In addition, and they also tend to do this at a lower temperature.

    These factors combined mean dishwashers save money on both energy and the amount of water they use.

How quickly can you save money after insulating your home?

Note: all costs and savings are estimates and are based upon a semi-detached home in the UK.

Insulating your home can save you money on your energy bills by lowering the amount of energy it takes to heat or cool your home. One question we’re often asked is how soon you are likely to see a financial benefit after installing insulation (e.g. loft or cavity wall insulation).

Below is a breakdown of the different types of insulation you can get for your home and how much you can expect to save each year on your energy bill. Although we’ve listed savings as annual figures, you can expect an immediate saving on your energy bill after installation if you are using a pay-as-you-go or smart meter. This is because you will be using less energy, and it’s worth noting that savings are cumulative each time energy prices increase.

1) Loft Insulation

Loft insulation involves placing sheets of insulation in your loft to stop heat rising and escaping. It’s usually installed to a thickness of 270mm and can be one of the cheapest forms of insulation if you have a typical loft that hasn’t been converted into an extra room.

In addition to being one of the cheapest forms of insulation, it can also offer one of the quickest returns. For example, a semi-detached home that requires £300-worth of 270mm insulation can expect to save £130 a year on their energy bill.

2) Cavity Wall Insulation

The vast majority of homes built since the 1920s in the UK have had space, or cavity, between external walls. Cavity wall insulation fills this space to reflect heat back into your home in the winter and reflect heat from outside in the summer to keep your house cool.

There are many different forms of cavity wall insulation, as you can see below. But the most important information you can know is how much it typically costs and the expected saving on your energy bill:

  • Average cost for a semi-detached house: £475
  • Expected saving: £145

Types of cavity wall insulation:

  • Blown Mineral Fibre: strands of fibreglass or mineral wool that is blown in with compressed air
  • Polystyrene Beads/Granules: small beads that are blown into the cavity of walls
  • Urea Formaldehyde Foam: foam that expands after being injected into cavities

Regardless of the above methods mentioned, all of them are approved for use on UK homes and a competent installer will make sure the correct solution is applied.

3) Draught Proofing

Small draughts coming into your home from unwanted gaps or holes will not save you an eyewatering amount of money, but every little helps. If you were to spend around £200 on draught proofing, you could expect an approximate saving of £20 per year on your energy bill. Furthermore, if you have open chimneys that are unused, closing each one could save you an extra £15 per year.

4) Solid Wall Insulation

More often referred to as external or internal wall insulation, it is for homes that do not have walls with cavities. It is the most expensive form of insulation on this list as it involves adding an extra layer to your wall. Costs can vary from £7,500 to £13,000 on a standard semi-detached home, but it has other benefits too.

If you were to opt for external wall insulation, the process involves cladding your home. This can give an old house a refreshing new look as tired paintwork or brickwork is covered up. The average saving energy bills is typically around £245 as a result of this work.

Undocumented Savings

In addition to saving on your energy bill, you can often expect the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of your home to increase. We’ve written an article on how much more your house could be worth if you improve your EPC rating.

Landlord EPC obligations: what you need to know

Introduction

By reading this article you will understand what an energy performance certificate (EPC) is and why every rented property must have one. Furthermore, you will also learn what the penalties are if you are found to not be meeting regulations relating to EPCs.

What is an energy performance certificate?

The certificate shows how energy efficient a building is on a scale from A to G, with A being the best and G being the worst. They also identify changes that can be made to improve the energy efficiency of a building. They are required for selling or renting any commercial or domestic properties in England and Wales.

EPC Rating explained

What do landlords need to know?

Every landlord must adhere to the following (last updated: April 2019):

  • A valid energy performance certificate
    Since April 2008 every property must have a valid certificate.
  • Minimum rating
    From April 2018 onwards, rental properties must have a rating of E or higher, unless the property qualifies for exemption. A property is exempt if the landlord has spent up to £3,500 and the property still doesn’t meet the minimum rating. This came into force in April 2019 and is considered a ‘soft cap’.
  • Section 21 compliance
    Landlords in England from October 2015 must show potential or existing tenants a valid energy performance certificate. Failing to comply to this means that a valid Section 21 eviction notice cannot be served legally. This makes compliance a crucial element of every tenancy agreement.

When must a landlord renew an EPC?

Energy performance certificates last for 10 years unless major work has been undertaken on a property. However, if you undertake any work that is likely to change the EPC rating, it is recommended you apply for a new one.

Are there any penalties if you do not have EPC for a rented property?

Trading Standards is responsible for enforcing relevant regulations and they can fine landlords £200 for every breach of the regulations in-place. Furthermore, failing to meet minimum rating standards could result in a penalty of up to £4,000.

Can an EPC rating improve the value of a property?

According to research undertaken in the UK, the value of a home can be improved by increasing the EPC rating. For more information, see our dedicated article title ‘what is the value of improving your home’s EPC rating?’

How do I get an EPC?

Get an EPC Rating for your home:

Get in touch using our contact form for more information. We are certified assessors and can provide you with a valid EPC certificate.

How much wind power does the UK generate?

Off-shore wind power

In 2017, the UK was accountable for creating more than half of Europe’s off-shore wind power, but the UK wants to build more to meet its commitment to reducing CO2 emissions as part of the United Nation’s Paris Agreement.

Renewable Energy

Power stations, such as coal-fired plants, are becoming a thing of the past as they are being replaced with renewable energy sources such as off-shore windfarms. Renewable energy means that it is naturally replenished over time. Wind farms generate energy by harnessing the wind to spin a giant ‘fan’ using a generator to convert each rotation into power.

Offshore Wind Farms

As stated earlier, the UK are clearly leading the way in terms of off-shore wind farms. This is because the country is home to 6 of the 10 biggest windfarms in the world. The UK houses the two largest off-shore windfarms in the world, producing a combined capacity of 1,289MW. These two farms alone produce more than the total off-shore wind farm production of Denmark, who are currently 4th in the world’s off-shore windfarm energy production.

Largest off-shore windfarms by capacity:

CountryWind Farm NameCapacity (MW)Year Built
UKWalney6592012
UKLondon Array6302013
NetherlandsGemini Wind Farm6002017
UKGreater Gabbard Wind Farm5042012
DenmarkAnholt4002013
BelgiumBARD offshore 14002013
UKRampion Wind Farm4002018
BelgiumThontonbank3252013
UKSherringham Shaol3152012
UKThanet3002010



Total off-shore wind farm capacity by country

As you can see, the UK are ahead of the competition and they don’t appear to be slowing anytime soon, with plans for two new farms already under construction. (Beatrice extension and Hornsea One).

Hornsea One

Hornsea is intended to become the world’s biggest offshore windfarm on completion in 2020, by supplying over 1200MW. This will dwarf the current leader by almost double. Hornsea One, once completed, will be 5 times the size of the city Hull, where the turbines are being manufactured.

The turbines being used will stand 190 metres tall, which makes them 10 metres taller than ‘The Gherkin’ building in London. The first of these turbines is now in-place and began producing electricity for the national grid for the first time in February. This giant turbine is the first of 174 turbines expected to be completed in 2020 and will supply power to more than a million homes.

comparison of the size of wind turbines

Why ‘Clean’ Energy? Renewable Vs. Non-Renewable

The UK, as part of its commitment to the Paris Agreement, which gives member states the objective of reducing the amount of CO2 they produce, is one of the primary motivations for moving to renewable energy production. In the past, coal power stations were the go-to for energy production. However, these are believed to be one of the worst producers of carbon dioxide. Because of this, the UK is aiming to shut down all coal-fired power stations by 2025. As of early-2019, only 7 coal power plants remain and plans for a further three to be shut this year are in-motion.

Breakdown of energy production in the UK between July and September 2018:

Non-Renewable (66.8%):

  • Gas Power 38.7%
  • Nuclear 23%
  • Coal 2.5%
  • Other 2.6%

Renewable (33.2%):

  • Onshore Wind 7.4%
  • Offshore Wind 6.6%
  • Hydro 1.1%
  • Solar 6.1%
  • Bio 12%

Should The Public Be Doing More?

We think it’s clear that the government is trying to do their bit to make use of renewable energy where possible, so that leaves us with a question… Is there more we, the public, can do? The government and local councils believe so. In many counties, it is possible for homeowners to get funding to improve the energy efficiency of their home.

This is part of the governments commitment to reducing our CO2 emissions and is a full-cycle approach. Not only are they trying to harness clean energy, they are trying to reduce the amount of waste from each home. This is done through offering funding for cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation, draught proofing and loft insulation.

If you’d like to know whether you can get funding for insulating your property, get in touch with us. We can check, with no obligation, to see if you can benefit from free insulation.

The worst and best home improvements to keep your neighbours on side

Imagine this: you have an idea that you genuinely believe is amazing, only for others to swiftly shoot it down. That can happen a lot, but sometimes we are able to implement our ideas before they are shot down. In some cases, this may lead to others being annoyed at what you’ve done as it impacts them too.

With the above in mind, we’ve compiled two lists of the worst and best changes you can make to your home based upon the impact the changes have on your neighbours. This is a highly subjective topic, but when you see some of the worst changes people have made, we think you’ll see why we created this article…

Without further ado, here are three of the worst changes you could make to your home that may upset your neighbours:

  1. Garish colours
    Adding a personal touch to the exterior of your home could make your return every day that little bit more enjoyable, but at what cost to your neighbours? Painting your house or fence bright pink or blue when every other house is very similar may not appeal to everyone. In fact, some people have been forced to revert their personal touch by local councils.

    Multi-coloured House in Garish Colours

    The above is a property in Sunderland that lies within a genteel conservation area. Neighbours returned one day to find the changes were made without any consultation. It upset quite a few people living on the street who subsequently logged complaints with the local council.

  2. An extension that blocks sunlight
    One homeowner believes roughly £100,000 was wiped off the value of her home in 2014 when her neighbour built an extension that blocked one of her windows. The wall was built just 24 inches from the window and was different to the plan submitted to the council.

    Extension blocking sunlight

    It goes without saying that this impacted the relationship between the two neighbours, and we suspect other surrounding properties were impacted by this conflict too.

  3. Poorly directed outdoor lighting
    Did you know that councils have the power to make you turn off or restrict a light on your property if it is a nuisance to your neighbours. This can range from a security light through to decorative lights at Christmas time (although you’d have to be Ebenezer Scrooge to complain).

    Imagine you have a security light on the outside of your house that activates whenever someone walks past on the pavement and the light shines into the house across the road. This may be considered a nuisance. Councils assess this based upon one or more of the following:

    • Whether it interferes with the use of a property
    • Whether it impacts health
    • How it will impact others
    • How often it happens
    • How long the light stays on for
    • At what time of day does it happen
    • Whether or not it’s in the countryside or a built-up area.

Without further ado, here are three of the worst changes you could make to your home that may upset your neighbours:

  1. Soundproofing insulation
    If you live in a terrace or semi-detached property and have a young family, it goes without saying that there will be noise. There is absolutely nothing wrong with noise, as it is how memories are created, but does this affect your neighbours? Simply asking them to tell you honestly is a great place to start. Installing soundproofing might be a blessing for them or for you, if it is the other way around.

  2. Improving the curb appeal of your home
    Improving the visual appearance of your property from the outside can not only increase the value of your property, it can help make the area a much nicer place to live. We’re not saying you should go over-the-top to make your property look the best in the street. Think more along the lines of matching the standards of others or going slightly above that.

  3. Garden entertainment
    This may seem a little unorthodox at first but improving your garden (back/rear) and hosting a get-to-together for your neighbours may help bring people together and create a community of happy homeowners. Ok, so some may see this as a tad bit of gloating, but you can word it as if you’re letting everyone enjoy the new features to your garden. For example, you could install a new patio area with a pizza oven or BBQ. If that’s not enough, you could even opt for a hot tub.

    We are not saying you should do this just for your neighbours enjoyment. It’s your garden so it’s about you. But there’s nothing wrong with making friends at the same time.

That’s it! You’ve reached the end of our list. Have you got any experience of the points we’ve listed or perhaps a neighbour of yours has made drastic changes to their home and annoyed you in the process? If so, contact us as we’d love to hear from you. If it’s good, we’ll update our list!

What is the value of improving your homes EPC rating?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) gives your home a rating (or score) from G to A, with G being the worst and A being the best. Every property must have one of these if it is sold or rented as they are a legal requirement and give potential buyers and tenants a guide on how energy efficient a property is.

Does a better EPC rating increase the value of your home?

According to research by Moneysupermarket.com, homeowners can boost the price of their property by as much as £24,000 by increasing their EPC rating. Going into more detail, the research suggested that moving from G to F could improve your property value by 6% and going from G to A could increase it by 14%:

Energy Rating BeforeEnergy RatingPotential Value Increase
EPC GEPC F6%
EPC E7%
EPC D8%
EPC C10%
EPC B14%
EPC A14%

 

What are the most efficient ways to improve your EPC rating?

Below are common methods undertaken by homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their home. If you want specific advice about your home, you can start by reviewing your existing EPC if you have one. This will list methods to improve your rating.

  1. Insulate your home
    There are many different types of insulation, from loft through to cavity wall insulation. It’s best to speak to an expert who will advice you at no cost. We offer this service, as do many others. If you’d like our opinion, please call us on 01482 588591.
  2. Use energy efficient light bulbs
    You can purchase LED bulbs for under £3-5 each and they can dramatically reduce your energy bill and make your home more efficient. This is one of the cheapest ways to improve the efficiency of your home.
  3. Upgrade your boiler
    This is one the most expensive item on the list, but sometimes it is necessary if you want to make a big improvement to your energy rating. When factoring in the potential increase in house value, replacing your boiler could be a very sensible investment.
  4. Draught proofing
    Controlling the ventilation of your home is important and so is keeping out draughts. Draughts let out the warm air in your home, which makes your heating source work harder. Draught-proofing doesn’t isn’t an overly expensive job, but it is recommended you seek professional help as you do not want to unsettle your controlled ventilation, as it could lead to damp issues.

There are many more ways you can improve the energy efficiency of your home, especially if you are not particularly interested in improving the EPC rating. Read our handy guide on the easiest ways to heat your home for more information.

How is an EPC rating calculated?

Every house that is listed for sale or to rent will have one of the following charts for you to review. ‘Current’ is self-explanatory, but ‘potential’ is what the assessor believes the house could achieve with work, which could draught proofing, heat insulation through to a new boiler.

EPC Rating explained

When must you renew an EPC certificate?

They are valid for up to 10 years. However, it is recommended you renew the certificate if you have made improvements to your property that are likely to improve its rating and you are looking to sell or rent.

Get an EPC Rating for your home:

Get in touch using our contact form for more information. We are certified assessors and can provide you with a valid EPC certificate.

Cavity Wall Insulation Damp Problems & How To Avoid It

Cavity wall insulation is an excellent solution to reducing your energy bills by making your home more energy efficient. This makes it very attractive to homeowners, especially considering there are a lot of grants that allow eligible homeowners to get the insulation for free. However, issues can arise and the biggest threat is damp.

Should you be concerned if you have or want to get cavity wall insulation?

If you’ve had cavity wall insulation installed for years and haven’t experienced any damp issues, then there is likely no reason for you to be concerned. However, there’s a simple list of points you can check yourself to ensure you’re not at risk. If you’re not sure about any of the questions or how to answer them, speak to a professional. If you’re in the process of looking into cavity wall insulation, this is also an excellent checklist to go through beforehand. 

  1. Is your house expoAreas of the UK exposed to wind and rainsed to severe levels of rain that is wind-driven? See zones three and four in the map.
  2. Is your house in an unsheltered position (e.g. with no other houses, structures or natural objects blocking the wind and rain).
  3. Are your external walls in poor condition (e.g. crumbling brickwork or mortar).
  4. Ensure you use a CIGA-approved installer
    See the below paragraph for more information.

 

If you comfortably believe you do not suffer from any of the listed points, the next step is finding or ensuring your cavity wall installer is accredited by CIGA. This means you’re unlikely to fall foul of damp issues as it is an independent body that guarantees your cavity walls for 25 years. To ensure you’re not being fooled by a rogue trader, you can check the CIGA website for an up to date list of members.

What causes damp issues associated with cavity wall insulation?

The main reason is a poor installation process and a lack of checks beforehand to ensure there will be no issues. Cavity wall insulation fills the gaps between your bricks and ensures your home stays warm. However, if a gap is left, the cold air will remain there. These spaces are where the moisture builds up and over time it will move through your walls, potentially also bringing black mould with it.

Furthermore, the damp will also spread through the cavity wall insulation, which means it is likely to cool and draw heat from your property. The result of this is it does the complete opposite of what it is supposed to do – keep heat in your home.

Closing Notes:

By using a CIGA-approved installer, there is very little chance of you falling foul of the issues described in this article. We are CIGA-approved and if you are interested in learning more on how cavity wall insulation can help you reduce your energy bills and keep your house warm, please contact us.

Earth Overshoot Day – 1st August 2018

Each year humanity consumes natural resources produced by the Earth and the Earth Overshoot Day marks the point each year at which we consume more resources than the earth can regenerate.

Earth Overshoot Day - 1st August

In 1970, Earth Overshoot Day came on December 29th, in 2000 it came September 23rd, and this year, 2018, it came on August 1st. Everything after Overshoot Day will never be available again, like borrowing more money from a bank to cover the cost from the previous year. Only this deficit is paid by consuming more and more resources and producing waste such as pumping ever greater amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere beyond Earth’s ability to absorb it. This results in global warming as the extra CO2 is kept within the atmosphere around Earth.

Share of year remaining after Earth Overshoot Day by year

To combat the effects of global warming and climate change, world leaders gathered and ratified the Paris Climate Accord in 2015. 196 nations committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the average global temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the year 2020. In the UK the agreement spurred the creation of a series of initiatives aimed to tackle sources of CO2 emissions. Heating the existing UK housing stock accounts for 10% of the nation’s carbon footprint and tackling this waste can make a significant contribution to reducing our footprint and pushing Earth Overshoot Day back towards a state of equilibrium.

At Heat Insulation Ltd we are doing our part to reduce CO2 emissions by helping homeowners make their homes more energy efficient. We do this by providing a range of insulation that keeps the warm air in and the cold out, which results in you needing to use your heating less. Contact us for a no obligation discussion about how we can reduce the carbon footprint of your home and help the UK and the world save our planet.

You can read more about Earth overshoot day here (https://www.overshootday.org/about-earth-overshoot-day/) and more about the Paris Climate Accord here.

Greenhouse Gas and Emmisions: Are we doing enough?

The UK has an obligation to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and in particular CO2 emissions by 50% before 2025 and then 80% by 2050, but will we succeed?

 

What are greenhouse gasses?

Greenhouse gasses are compounds which keep the earth’s surface warmer than it would be if they were not present by trapping heat within the atmosphere, this causes what we call the greenhouse effect. The more of these gasses the stronger the greenhouse effect.

Without these gasses and the greenhouse effect, the earth average temperature would go from 14.4°C to around -18.1°C. If the earth were to be at this temperature then life as we know it would not be possible, meaning some greenhouse gasses are essential for life. However, it is getting to a point where the increase of the earth’s temperature is resulting in things such as melting ice caps, drastic changes in weather patterns, and shifts in habitat effecting biodiversity, all a cause for great concern.

 

What are we doing to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions?

One of the worst generators of CO2 is coal, however, the UK has been powered for over a thousand hours this year without coal. The UK government, within the ‘coal phase-out’ have laid out rules meaning all coal power stations will be forced to close by October 2025. One of the UK’s Eight remaining stations is expected to shut this year, following 3 other stations which shut in 2016.

UK emissions fells by 5% between 2015-2016 meaning the UK is leading the race to ‘beat’ emissions.

1990 has been used as a benchmark from which the UK has to improve from, and since that point, our greenhouse gas emissions have fallen a whopping 41% including the main cause (carbon dioxide) which has been reduced by 36%.

This reduction has largely been driven by energy suppliers. Within the first 3 months of 2018 over 30% of the energy supplied was by renewable energy sources, which has all allowed them to cut their emissions by 57%!

By comparison, the transport industry has only reduced their emissions by 2%, resulting in them, and other sectors, being condemned for not doing enough.

Housing is one of those sectors, where companies such as Persimmon have been ‘named and shamed, by giving a bonus of £110million to their CEO, yet not insulating their houses which would allow customers to both lower their energy usage and their bills.

The UKs Goals and Commitments

The UK government has made many promises around how it is going to combat greenhouse gas emissions, and with their legal obligation to reduce their 1990 CO2 equivalent emissions 50% by 2025, and then by 80% by 2050, they’re going to need to live up to them.

Many things such as insulation, changing the way people commute and energy production can help to reduce these emission. The UK has stated such, with ambitions to end sales of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040. It has also been said by rail minister Jo Johnson that they would like to see all diesel only trains off the tracks by 2040, to be replaced with alternatives such as hydrogen.

Overall, the government is doing a lot to help ensure our emissions go down such as phasing out coal and other fossil fuels, however, there are still big segments such as agriculture, public transport and home usage which need to be pushed harder.

 

Are we doing enough?

Although the UK has come leaps and bounds in reducing its carbon footprint, this is largely thanks to the suppliers. They have been pro-active in phasing out coal energy whilst increasing the use of renewable sources such as turbines.

It is other sectors that are hindering our progression, meaning as the energy suppliers advancements begin to plateau, the progress must be picked up and carried forward by other sectors, and the public.

One of the biggest impacts everyone can have to make a difference is to ensure our homes are as energy efficient as possible, and the biggest factor for most homes is energy waste through poor, or missing insulation

Cavity Wall Insulation Grants & How To Apply

There are many grants available for households throughout the UK to cover the cost of cavity wall insulation, but not enough has been done to promote their existence. Cavity wall insulation is an excellent way to prevent heat escaping from your home and will save you money as you require less energy to achieve the temperatures you desire.

It may seem like a magic fix that is too good to be true, but there has been extensive research on the subject that highlights the many benefits. For example, a government study found that around a third of all heat in an un-insulated home is lost through the walls.

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of cavity wall insulation and whether or not it’s right for your home, see our dedicated page on cavity wall insulation. From this point on we’re going to assume it’s right for you and tell you how to get the cost of it covered.

Cavity wall insulation grants

There are many different schemes available, both locally and nationally, from council-led initiatives through to grants from energy providers. The easiest way to find out whether you’re eligible for any of these is to speak to us or a similar company.

Many energy providers provide free cavity wall insulation regardless of the household income and situation. Others are more specific and may look at income or whether an occupant receives a certain benefit.

The great news is that many providers do not even require you to be a customer for you to benefit from their specific scheme as their objective is to simply reduce household emissions overall.

Tip:

Don’t forget to check local schemes that you may be eligible for (the easiest way is to let us check by phoning or using our contact form).

Sometimes these are much easier to apply for as they work with businesses, such as ourselves, who will handle all the entire process, from the initial assessment through to installing the cavity wall insulation.

Councils offering grants for cavity wall insulation –
Many councils throughout the UK provide some form of a grant for cavity wall insulation and it is recommended you look at your local council offering as well as looking elsewhere. Below is a selection of councils in the UK that offer grants. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it does show that many offer such schemes.

Council
East Riding of
Yorkshire Council
More Information
Manchester City
Council
More Information
Oxford City
Council
More Information
Sheffield City
Council
More Information

The ‘big’ energy providers offering free cavity wall insulation grants –
Below is a selection of some of the largest energy providers in the UK and their criteria for receiving free cavity wall insulation.

Energy
provider
Criteria
for free cavity wall insulation
NpowerNoneMore information
E.onNoneMore information
EDFScheme on holdMore information
SSEMust be receiving certain benefitsMore information

How do I apply for a cavity wall insulation grant?

The easiest way is to simply fill out our contact form and we will assess your situation and tell you what schemes are available to you. If you’re outside of our catchment area, we have an extensive list of third-parties that are trusted and we can refer you to.

How do I find out if I already have cavity wall insulation?

Most homes built within the last 20 years or so have cavity wall insulation. If you’re not sure, check the documentation you have for your home as there may be paperwork for it. You can also speak to a company such as ourselves and we can check to see whether you do have filled cavity walls.

Am I likely to be rejected free cavity wall insulation?

The following is a list of common reasons for rejection:

  • Your home is not eligible for cavity wall insulation (e.g. you have solid walls)
  • You live in a flat and other occupants do not want cavity wall insulation
  • You have on-going damp issues
  • Your cavities are too small (an assessment will identify this)
  • Your house does not rely on a steel or timber-frame

How much can cavity wall insulation save me on your energy bill?

The Energy Saving Trust, a not-for-profit organisation, estimates that a typical semi-detached home could save £145 per year on their energy bill after cavity wall insulation has been installed. This is by no means a small amount when you could get the insulation completely free of charge.

Type of homeSaving per year
Detached house (four bedrooms)£225
Semi-detached house (three bedrooms)£150
Terrace house (mid with three bedrooms)£95