Your Co-op understands that this winter will put a squeeze on all home finances, though we have some tips and advice to ensure your home is energy efficient to save money. We have split our advice into different sections of your home, to make it as simple as possible.
Reduce the hot water temperature on a combi boiler
For a combi boiler, an installer often sets the hot water (the flow) to 80°C which will send heat to radiators to provide a 20°C temperature, leaving the returning water to the boiler (the return) at 60°C.
At the setting of 80°C/60°C, the combi boiler will struggle to meet its quoted efficiency score, so to improve energy efficiency, the flow and return temperatures should be set to 70°C/50°C. This will allow your combi boiler to operate in a condensing mode as regularly as possible, meaning it will recover lost heat which would have been wasted by the flue on an old-style boiler. Please remember, only when the flow temperature is between 60°C and 70°C will the highest level of energy efficiency be achieved.
It’s important to know that a combi boiler’s hot water should always be set to a minimum of 60°C, to prevent any build-up of Legionella or other bacteria.
What if I don’t have a combi boiler?
If your boiler contains a hot water cylinder, this means you either have a system or a conventional boiler, meaning it is for heat only and has a vented or unvented hot water cylinder. For these types of boilers, the flow temperature should be set at 70°C to account for any heat lost while transferring hot water to the cylinder. In most homes, a boiler may only supply one set temperature which needs to be a higher temperature like 70°C for water safety, which will heavily reduce energy efficiency.
To increase the efficiency of your boiler, it needs to be set up with separate temperatures for heating and hot water. This would mean a lower and more efficient temperature for heating and a higher, safe temperature for hot water. However, adapting your boiler to improve your efficiency and achieve this, would require some minor work to be carried out on your boiler system.
Use timers for your heating
A quick and certain way of saving money is by only using heating your home when is necessary. The best thing to do is to set the heating to come on 30 minutes before the warmth is needed, and turn it off 30 minutes early as well as the residual heat will last for a while.
Check your radiators and don’t heat unused rooms
Try to remember to turn off all radiators in unused rooms, as you are wasting energy and money. It’s also important to shut these doors so heat isn’t being carried into these rooms and the cold is kept out, a draught excluder can be very effective.
It is advised to bleed all your radiators as trapped air may be stuck inside, preventing them from efficiently heating your home. Please follow this tutorial if you are unsure. Clean your radiators for dust as this can disrupt the heat reaching the rest of the room, decreasing the efficiency. To amplify the heat of a radiator, you need to ensure no furniture is blocking it or is too close and you could then place a reflective sheet of silver material between the radiator and the wall to reflect more heat out into the room.
Use a water meter
A water meter is the only way to pay for the actual amount of water you use. Your water supplier can fit your water meter and even if you rent your home, a tenancy of over 6 months entitles you to a water meter fitting.
Try shorter showers and limit baths
By showering for 4 minutes instead of a weekly bath, you could save £12 a year on your energy bills.
Don’t leave the water running
You may be wasting up to 5,000 litres of water a year by leaving taps running or dripping when washing dishes, brushing teeth or by flushing the toilet too often. A running tap amounts to roughly 6 litres of water a minute, an amount that could hydrate a family for a day.
Try a heated blanket
Heating the average UK home costs between £2-4 a day, though can be considerably higher in winter. However, by heating individuals instead of each room, you could find huge savings. A person could be heated during the day or by night with an energy-efficient electric blanket, for only 4p an hour. Combining this with a lower heating temperature at certain times would result in a far more cost-efficient way of keeping warm, particularly for those who have mobility issues or are sedentary for large parts of the day.
Energy-efficient light bulbs are a must
The average electricity consumption made up by a UK home is made up by 11%, meaning using energy-efficient bulbs can save you money and cut your carbon emissions. To learn which light bulbs will work best for you, please see here.
Only use the necessary lights
By only using lights in rooms you are using, you could save as much as £20 a year in energy.
Close the oven door
Each time the oven door is opened whilst in use, you are releasing a vast amount of heat that then requires more electricity to restore the previous temperature. Please refrain from peaking inside and use the window.
It also pays to ensure the oven door is well sealed when closed so that no heat is escaping, reducing the oven temperature and efficiency.
Check the time
The timing of when you use your appliances will affect your electricity bill, for instance using your dishwasher overnight is more cost-effective than during the day. During the night and early morning, there is more electricity being generated from renewable sources, resulting in fewer carbon emissions. So if you can select your tariff type, opting for nighttime rates will be cheaper.
Don’t run a half-empty dishwasher
If your home could ensure the dishwasher is full for each use and therefore run fewer washes, you could save on your energy bills and cut your home’s carbon emissions.
Use a heat pump instead of a boiler
A heat pump is designed to use lower amounts of electricity, taking natural heat from outside and condensing the air to generate heat for your home. The result is a 4x more efficient heating system for your home.
By thoroughly draught-proofing your home, you could save as much as £45 a year, this is because cold draughts force your heating system to use more energy to maintain the set temperature. Resulting in a higher energy bill and more carbon emissions produced.
However, to have this service carried out by a professional, could cost you more than the potential saving on your energy bill. Alternatively, you can buy relatively cheap materials and carry out the draught-proofing yourself. To do this successfully, you must ensure there are no gaps between any internal or external doors, windows, loft hatches, floorboards, skirting boards or any other vulnerable points of your home. The key is to eliminate any points of entrance for outside air to get into your home, meaning you have greater control of the internal temperature.
We hope our advice and tips for making your home energy efficient are useful and can help make a positive difference to your bills this winter.
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