With massive rises in the price of energy and the emergence of some of the real effects of climate change in our everyday lives, we are becoming increasingly concerned about the amount of energy that we are using (and wasting) in our homes. Ensuring that we save energy in our homes is important, not just for the planet, but also for our pockets – especially as we head into the winter.
When it comes to understanding the energy efficiency of your property, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) assessment is an effective way to find out how energy efficient your property is. In the assessment, several factors are examined to give the property an energy efficiency rating, and suggestions are given as to how this rating can be improved.
Over the years, many households have also devised their own energy-saving strategies, many of which can be effective in reducing the amount of energy that is used in the home, but some of which are complete myths. In this article, we look to discover which of these common strategies actually make a difference and should be adopted by everyone – and which belong in a land of unicorns and gremlins.
Reflective Panels Behind the Radiator
Some households have reflective panels fitted behind their radiators in the hope that they reflect the heat back into the room.
To an extent these can be helpful, but only if you are putting them behind a radiator that is on an outside wall, as it will help to prevent the heat from escaping outside the property. If you are using them on an inside wall, they will make no difference at all.
If you decide to add reflective panels behind your radiator, it is important that you buy panels that have been specifically designed for this purpose. Other materials could potentially be a fire hazard or at risk of melting.
Turning off Hot Water When Not in Use
Some households ensure that their hot water is turned off when they are not using it.
Generally speaking, this will not save you any more energy. It is more important to ensure that your hot water tank has been fitted with a good quality hot water tank jacket that will insulate it and prevent the heat from escaping.
If, however, you use an Economy 7 energy tariff – where energy is cheaper at night than during the day, it is recommended that you heat your water at night when it is cheaper.
Fitting Carpets and Closing Curtains
Some households ensure that carpets are fitted in every room, and curtains are drawn as much as possible to save energy.
It is true to say that carpeted floors and closed curtains can add an extra layer of insulation to the home. Carpets can help to insulate the floor and curtains can help to prevent heat from escaping through windowpanes as well as aiding in reducing draughts.
If you are planning on carpeting your whole house, it is best to start off with the rooms that you spend most of your time in to make it as cost-effective as possible.
Wedging a Sponge in the Letterbox or Cling Film Around the Windows
Some households wedge a sponge in the letterbox or put cling film around their windows in the hope that they will reduce the draughts in the property.
Draughts can make homes chilly and it can make a huge difference if they are excluded. Any measures that are going to reduce draughts – such as putting a sponge in the letterbox or cling film around the windows can help. When it comes to doors and windows, however, there are specific draught-proofing materials available that can be extremely effective. If it is possible, double (or triple) glazing your windows and doors can be even more beneficial.
Getting Smart Technology
Some households believe that getting smart technology such as a smart meter or smart thermostat will save them energy in their home.
This is both true and untrue. The smart technology itself will not save you energy. However, having this technology enables you to have more information and control over your home’s energy use. A smart meter will give you information about how much energy you are using, when. With this additional information, you can be more focused on energy saving and see the impact of different appliances on your energy bills.
A smart thermostat gives you better control over where and when you are heating. It can allow to you heat only the rooms that you are using when you are using them. This means that you can not heat the bedrooms unnecessarily during the day, or just turn the heating on when you are on your way home from a night out, for example.