A very happy New Year to you! I hope you had a relaxing festive season and got to recharge your batteries over the break. How exciting that we are entering not only a fresh year but also a new decade. Perhaps you’re already busy thinking of New Year’s resolutions or what you’d like to do differently in the next ten years. Recently I’ve found myself looking back over the past few years and wondering what I’d like to do in the next ten.
That said – I know how tedious it can be to write New Year’s resolutions. Sometimes you wonder what the point is when you wind up breaking them in the first week anyway! So this year I’m only making one or two. But if you can’t think of any, I’ve got a suggestion for you. Why not resolve to insulate your home? OK, so maybe it’s not as exciting as resolving to become a millionaire or move to Australia. However, it should keep you warmer in what doomsayers reckon is turning out to be one of the coldest winters for 20 years – there are gloomy estimates of temperatures as low as -18 degrees c – and save you some much needed cash.
Just before the Christmas holidays we held an insulation event with the Energy Saving Trust in our home in Essex to try to encourage other residents to get cavity wall and loft insulation. According to the Trust, 50 per cent of heat is lost through the roof and walls of our homes, so insulating lofts and having cavity wall insulation done, if possible, is worth doing. Not everybody realises that it’s possible to secure grants from your energy supplier to help pay for insulation and you don’t have to be on benefits to qualify. Typically cavity wall will set you back about £500, but a grant from your energy company should halve the cost to around £250, while loft insulation generally costs around £250 to do from scratch.
The payback is fast, too. Cavity wall should save you around £115 a year in heating costs and, with an energy company grant, typically pays for itself in two years. If you have no roof insulation at all, getting your roof insulated will save you an estimated £150 on your bills each year and pay for itself within around two years. Unfortunately there are currently no grants available for solid wall insulation, although getting it done could save you around £400 a year on your energy bills. If you’re concerned that cavity wall insulation is messy and annoying to install, then don’t be. We had it done a few years ago. It’s a bit noisy – the installers show up with big hoses – and you might have to paint over the marks on your outside wall, but beyond that it’s relatively quick and painless to have done and you’ll feel the difference almost immediately. Make sure you get a properly qualified installer to work on your home.
The Energy Saving Trust reckons that there are 13 million homes in the UK which could benefit from loft insulation and 6.3 million which need cavity wall. If everybody in the UK insulated their lofts, we could save enough money to pay the gas bills of 770,000 families a year. Pretty staggering stuff!
Here are five other tips courtesy of the EST to help you heat your home more effectively:
– Close your curtains at dusk to cut the amount of heat escaping through your windows. Draught-proof your windows and doors.
– Set your thermostat at the lowest comfortable level (if you’re a pensioner or ill, make sure you’re not putting your health at risk).
– Use a timer so that your water and heating only come on when required. Set them to go off 20 minutes before you leave the house in the morning to avoid wastage.
– Insulate your hot water tank with a BS kite-marked jacket which should be 75mm thick. This should save you around £35 a year. Insulate your hot water pipes too.
– Bleed radiators regularly to removed unwanted air from the system and ensure its working effectively.
Are you making any frugal New Year’s resolutions? Leave a message and let me know.
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