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What you can do to make your home more energy efficient

Updated: Mar 20

Onto a more serious subject. In the wake of the energy crisis, homeowners are doing everything they can to bring their bills down. Despite energy costs reported to come down this April, the cost-of-living crisis is still adding to the pressure many of us are feeling. It is therefore important to find solutions at home to give us some breathing room.

 

A heat pump is the most energy efficient way to heat your home, using 1kW of energy on average for every 3kW of heat that comes out. Because of the way that gas and electricity are priced, heat pumps will only save a significant amount from your bills if coupled with a battery and solar PV panels. If you already have solar panels and would like to explore heat pumps, please get in touch and we can estimate your home heating costs with a heat pump.

 

Draught proofing is not often talked about, but it is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy. And did you know that the thermostat can be at 20 degrees in a draughty house and it will feel colder than 20 degrees in an air tight house?

 

Draughts happen where there are unwanted gaps in the fabric of your home or uncovered openings. Think of windows, doors, chimney, loft hatches, floorboards, pipework behind sinks and baths and even the keyhole of your front door! Lots of these issues are cheap and straight forward to fix. Try going round your house on a really windy day and use your hand to feel for draughts.

 

If you are thinking of having a heat pump installed and you have an older home, it may be prudent to have an air pressure test, which we can organise as part of the survey. This test will calculate the air tightness of your home, also known as the ‘leakage rate’. Air leakage is the air that escapes through gaps and cracks in the fabric of your building. It can be very instructive to see where the air rushes back in once the fan sucks some of the air out of the house.



Fix the draughts and you may be able to turn down your thermostat, saving you some money on your energy bills.

 

Ever wondered how you can have your loft boarded and insulate it at the same time?

 

If you just added the recommended amount of 300mm of loft insulation and then squashed it down by placing boards on top, it would not only reduce the effectiveness of the insulation, but there is a chance that your insulation would get damp and mouldy. Not good! The solution to that problem is loft legs, also known as loft pillars.


The loft pillars are attached to the joists or roof trusses, about 1 metre apart and you can then install the loft boards directly onto the supports. This creates a raised loft floor that will not compress your insulation, allowing it to do its job properly.



Next think of wall insulation, as a home with poorly insulated walls can lose as much as 35% of heat.


There are two types of external walls - cavity walls, which are made of two layers of bricks and have a gap in the middle and solid walls, which have no internal gap.

How do you know what walls your home has?


If your house was constructed before 1920, then it is highly likely that the walls are solid. The pattern of bricks for solid walls is such that you may see bricks laid lengthways and bricks laid across with only the short end showing.


In cavity walls, you will see all the bricks lying lengthways.


You can also sometimes see the tops of the walls if you look in the loft.



Both types of walls can be insulated in most cases but be sure to find a specialist.  The Insulation Assurance Authority has a list of registered installers that have to meet scheme requirements Find your local installer | The IAA

 

Finally, floors.  Floors are the trickiest to insulate and solid floors are less of an issue than suspended floors.  You will know that you have a suspended floor because of the age of the house (pre-1920s) and if you can see air bricks near the bottom of the walls.  An exciting new way to insulate suspended floors is the QBot.




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