Keeping your home Energy Efficient this Winter

News at Kerr & Co | 24/10/2022

Keeping your home Energy Efficient this Winter
In most homes the boiler is probably the most important and the biggest portion of your annual energy bill. There's a lot you can do now to ensure your heating system keeps your home warm and running effectively over the winter months - now is time to be prepared and get those jobs done

Get your boiler serviced
A well-maintained central heating system will run more efficiently, If you rent, your landlord should have it checked every year and issue a gas safety certificate .
Bleed your radiators or ask an engineer to do it and install thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) on to them so you can turn radiators off in rooms you don't often use.

Adjust your combi boiler's flow temperature
Combi boiler owners should look at their flow temperature. You can save up to 8% on your heating bill by turning down the temperature of the water that circulates around your radiators. If your boiler heats this water to its max, your boiler won't even condense, which means it's running inefficiently.

The Heating & Hot water Industry Council (HHIC) recommends to adapt boiler settings with the advice of a boiler engineer. This is particularly true if you have a system or regular boiler that keeps water stored in a tank. This is due to the fact water needs to be heated a certain amount to avoid Legionella bacteria, you should only change settings with professional advice if you have one of these.

Insulate your boiler's hot water cylinder and pipes
Make sure the cylinder itself is well insulated. This can be as easy as buying a jacket for about £20. It should be no less than 75mm thick according to industry standards.  You can also lag the pipes that carry water around your home where heat is lost in transit. It's particularly useful to do it for the pipes coming in and out of the cylinder. Lagging pipes will also reduce the risk of them freezing in a cold spell, which can be costly to repair.

Automate your heating with smart thermostats
A smart thermostat will give you easy and precise control over your central heating and can be controlled on your phone or tablet.
Since the introduction of new legislation in 2018, new gas boilers need to come with one of four energy-saving add-ons. Smart heating controls are one of them. But if you have an older boiler you can still buy and install a smart thermostat separately.

Use thermostatic radiator valves
If smart tech isn't for you, you can still make significant improvements by installing manually operated thermostatic radiator valves, or TRVs. They control the heat of your home by adjusting how much hot water flows through the radiator they're fitted to, so you can make sure each room of your house is only ever as warm as you need it to be. It works by sensing the room temperature and opening or closing the valve as needed .

0 Off * (the maintenance setting)
The radiator will turn on as a protective measure when the temperature nears 0°C.
Approximately 12°C, a low room temperature for an unoccupied room
Approximately 16°C, a lukewarm heat for an occupied room.

Approximately 20°C, a comfortable heat for an occupied room.
Approximately 24°C, a warm heat for an occupied room.
The valve is fully open.  Radiator is at the maximum heating temperature.

Turn your thermostat down a little
Each degree you turn your thermostat down is energy saved. According to the NHS, temperatures as low as 18°C are healthy for most peopl
The Energy Saving Trust claims that turning your thermostat down by one degree can save you up to 10% off your heating bill depending of course of each variable in a room

For older people, Age UK reminds that very low temperatures can increase your risk of flu or other breathing problems and can raise your blood pressure. When you’re older. Try to make sure you're keeping at least one room at a comfortable temperature for you, keep the doors closed as much as you can to keep that room as warm as possible.

Only use electric heaters sparingly
They're great at providing a quick heating fix for a short period of time, such as for a 10-minute blast on a particularly freezing morning. And if your central heating system isn't working, they're reliable back-ups.
It will take a portable heater between 15 and 30 minutes to raise the temperature of a medium-sized room by 10ºC at full blast.

Remember that you pay for energy by the unit. With the current price cap, electricity is much more expensive than gas. So be prudent when you use your electric heater in place of gas.

Draught-proof for a quick, cheap fix
You can draught proof any gaps in your home, whether that's keyholes, post boxes, door cracks, cavities near doors and windows or gaps around electrical outlets and pipes. Just remember that homes do need some ventilation, so make sure you leave any purpose-built vents clear, such as window trickle vents or grills in wooden flooring.

Invest in insulation

Loft and roof insulation.
Heat rises, so trapping it from above is crucial.
Floor insulation usually comes next, and it can reportedly reduce heat loss by 15%
Cavity wall insulation is useful for properties built in the last century. It's injected into the gap between your outer and inner walls.
Solid wall insulation can be placed within or outside a wall that's not eligible for cavity wall insulation which is also a worthwhile longer-term investment.

Installing roof insulation
If you have the money to do it, insulation is a great long-term investment. As energy bills go up, the time it takes to see a return on your investment becomes shorter.

The Energy Saving Trust estimates that having a professional install loft insulation in a typical semi-detached home would cost around £480 in October 2022, but once it's done you'd save £355 a year on your energy bills. So in less than 18 months you'd be making a saving.    Professional installation in a detached home would cost more – around £630 – but the savings are as much as £590 a year.

Update windows with double glazing or alternatives
Windows are a source of heat loss in any home, if you have single glazing, you'll notice that you need much more energy to heat your home sufficiently. Double or even triple-glazing windows will reduce your heating needs dramatically.
Thick curtains across windows can make a big difference, too. Drawing them creates a barrier between your room and the elements, and keeps heat inside.

Explore home grants :

The government is providing grants to encourage property owners to install low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps, through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS).  These grants can help property owners overcome the upfront cost of low carbon heating technologies.

The scheme is open to domestic and small non-domestic properties in England and Wales  It runs from 2022 to 2025.

£5,000 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump
£5,000 off the cost and installation of a biomass boiler
£6,000 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump
Find out more : Boiler Upgrade scheme
Find out everything you need to know about the government's winter 2022 cost of living support and how it will be paid to you.

Advice and help for households on Energy Costs


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