Why waste energy? Insulate to keep bills down

With energy bills at record levels, the Heating Helpline issues some important energy saving advice on some simple steps homeowners and tenants can take to improve insulation and help keep bills down.

60% of the energy used in the home is for heating – for most households that’s many hundreds of pounds spent per year just to keep it warm.

B&ES, the Building & Energy Services Association, who operate the free consumer advice service the Heating Helpline, say that too few households take sufficient measures to fully insulate their homes. This means a lot of energy – and money – is simply wasted. Yet there are simple steps to take, some costing very little, that can help keep the warmth in, so there is much less need to crank up the thermostat.

Here are the Heating Helpline’s top insulation tips:

  • If you have less than 10cm of insulation in your loft you’ll be wasting energy. Top the insulation up to 27cm and you could save over £150 a year.
  • Since the 1930s, most houses have been built with an air cavity between two outer walls. Get this gap filled with insulating foam and you could save up to £200 a year on bills.
  • Floorboards lose a lot of heat – insulation seal between the gaps can save you about £25 per year.
  • Insulate your hot water cylinder – fitting a British Standard jacket around your cylinder will cut heat loss by over 75% and save you around £40 a year – more than the cost of the jacket.
  • Lagging all your hot water pipes could also save you over £25 a year.
  • Badly fitted doors and windows mean avoidable heat loss. Draught proofing doors and windows by sealing gaps will help save energy. Similarly, a curtain at the front door and heavy, well-fitted curtains at the windows provide insulation and reduce draughts. To track down the source of draughts take a lit candle and see where it flickers.
  • Keep your doors and windows closed when the heating is on and save £15 a year.
  • Thermal blinds, which stay flush to the window frame using magnets, are a good alternative to heavy lined curtains. They cost about £145 per sq m.
  • Draw your curtains at dusk to help keep the heat generated inside your rooms.
  • Unused fireplaces are one of the biggest causes of lost heat – if you’re not using your chimney but don’t want to board it up try a chimney balloon – they’re easy to inflate and last for years.

Under the Government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) programme participating energy companies will help pay for all or part of the cost of installing different home insulation measures and even a new boiler. To find out more contact the independent Energy Saving Advice Service on: 0300 123 1234.

The Heating Helpline provides essential information on energy saving in the home and the importance of regular heating maintenance, and also offers dozens of money-saving solutions for homeowners. Contact them free on 0800 810 8303 or visit the website at www.heatinghelpline.org.uk.