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Winter Advice, Energy Efficiency

How to save energy and keep warm this winter

Top tips for energy saving in the home

As the winter weather arrives and shorter, darker days make staying warm and cosy even more appealing, it’s the time of year when energy bills naturally increase, thanks to living in our homes that little bit more.

From turning the heating up to lighting rooms for longer when the daylight disappears, small increases, combined with rising energy tariffs, can have a significant impact on monthly costs.

While no one wants to pay more for the basic comfort of heating, hot water and light, the good news is there are a number of steps that can be taken to control energy use and save money during one of the costliest times of the year.

By following Baxi’s top tips for reducing energy consumption, it’s possible to protect pockets and make our homes more efficient in the process. Here are just some of the ways to make a difference:

  • Have an annual boiler service: To help keep domestic heating systems running as efficiently as possible, there is no substitute for booking a service every 12 months to minimise the risk of breakdowns. One of the best ways to avoid being without heating and hot water this winter, is to book a visit from a Gas Safe Registered heating engineer, who will give your boiler a thorough MOT for extra peace of mind.

  • Invest in a more efficient boiler: If your boiler is more than 10 years old, it may be time to replace it with a more efficient one. Although this will involve an initial outlay, the long-term financial benefits of cost savings on energy bills will balance out the up-front expenditure.

  • Keep your heating system insulated: Making sure hot water pipes are properly insulated is a relatively quick and easy way to reduce heat loss and avoid energy wastage. Protecting pipes with a layer of insulation will also help prevent them from getting too cold, and even freezing when temperatures plummet. Failure to do this could result in a burst pipe, leading to costly water damage. Likewise, if you have a hot water cylinder, it pays to make sure that has proper insulation too.

  • Install a smart meter: Speak to your energy provider about having a smart meter fitted. Most are simple to use and can help reduce energy consumption, as it is much easier to see how and where energy is being used in the home, on a daily basis.

  • Bleed radiators to remove unwanted air: If your radiator has cold patches, this could be due to air being trapped in the central heating system. The problem can be tackled at home by using a radiator key, which will help remove air and allow hot water to flow more freely. Alternatively, ask your heating engineer to carry out checks and bleed radiators for you, at the same time as carrying out servicing or repair work.

  • Turn your thermostat down: The recommended temperature for a domestic thermostat is 21oC, if you are mainly sitting, or around 18oC when you are being more active and moving around the home. Amazingly, turning the thermostat down by just one degree could save around £55 on heating bills per year, according to the Energy Savings Trust.

  • Turn down radiators in unused rooms: If you have rooms you don’t use, turning radiators off in these spaces can avoid heating uninhabited spaces. Better still, if you have thermostatic radiator valves fitted, it pays to turn them right down so that no heat is lost.

  • Fit loft insulation: With a recommended depth of 207mm, fitting loft insulation is a means of reducing energy consumption in the home, simply by stopping heat going through the roof. According to Which?, a properly insulated loft cavity could save a whopping £315 a year on household energy bills. Furthermore, some properties are entitled to free insulation if they fall into certain categories, so it’s worth investigating if you think you or a family member may be entitled.

  • Install draft exclusion measures: There are many ways cold air can get into the home. To stop heat escaping, draft proofing can be installed to external doors and openable windows, as well as to unused chimneys that are open to the elements. The Energy Savings Trust has worked out that by treating problem areas in the home, the average household could expect to save around £43 per year.

  • Decorate and add soft furnishings to block out the cold: Choosing thicker curtains to keep out the cold and investing in rugs to cover gaps in floorboards, are simple ways to add further insulation to any home. It’s also a good idea to check that furniture is correctly placed from room to room, remembering that blocking radiators with sofas and cupboards could prevent heat from circulating. Ensuring radiators are uncovered will allow heat to travel freely, rather than being absorbed by furnishings.

  • Cut back on wash cycles: Using dishwashers, washing machines and dryers less is another good way to reduce energy bills and save money. Always ensuring they are full before switching them on can help reduce the number of cycles required per week, avoiding both costly energy and water wastage in the process.

  • Choose efficient appliances: If your household appliances are old and out of date, chances are they costing more than necessary to run. By opting for water efficient shower heads, LED bulbs to replace old halogen ones, and using A-rated efficiency appliances, you could save money on bills. Making sure appliances are completely turned off when possible - and not left on standby - is another good tip for making even greater savings.

  • Use smart controls: Heating controls have come a long way in terms of development over the years. Smart controls, like Baxi’s uSense, use intelligent technology to regulate heating in a more energy efficient way. The Energy Savings Trust estimates that smart controls could help reduce annual bills by £70 - an investment worth making for long-term savings, which add up over time.

  • And finally, layer up!: Wearing a few extra layers of clothing, using blankets and throws, and opting for a higher tog duvet have to be some of the easiest ways to keep cosy this winter. A nice warm cup of tea can help too, however filling the kettle with just enough water to make a drink, and using any leftover water for washing up or a hot water bottle, can also help save approximately £6 per year on energy costs.

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