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5 top energy saving tips

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As the winter rolls in, and electricity and gas prices continue to rise, now is a great time to change your habits and save yourself some money.

There are many things you can do to avoid wasting energy. Also, an added benefit is that it is good for the environment too.

What can you do to save money?

We have compiled a list of the 5 most effective things you can do to save energy and reduce your costs:

  1. Don’t leave appliances on standby
  2. Don’t just have a shower – have the right kind of shower
  3. Change to low energy light bulbs
  4. Insulate your loft
  5. Wash your clothes at 30 degrees and don’t use a tumble drier

Tip 1: Don’t leave appliances on standby

Televisions, dvd players, computers, and many other household appliances are often left on standby for convenience. However, did you know that not properly turning off these devices can account for up to 15% of your annual electricity bill. This could be up to around £100 a year. So, if you want to stop literally losing money while you sleep, then just make an effort to turn off these devices at the wall socket.

Tip 2: Don’t just have a shower – have the right kind of shower

Everyone knows that having a shower instead of a bath saves a lot of water (around 70%) and can be a real money saver. However, did you know that you can fit a special shower head and make even bigger savings on your gas and water bills? The water efficient shower heads only work with showers which get a supply of water directly from the boiler/hot water tank. They can save you around £150 per year across your water and gas bills.

Tip 3: Change to low energy light bulbs

LED technology has come a long way in the last few years, and LED lights in the home are now a viable option. They offer significant energy saving potential versus halogen lights. Also, if you still have traditional filament bulbs then you can replace these with CFLs, which are also more energy efficient. The initial cost of replacing these bulbs will take around 1.5 years to earn back in electricity bill reductions, but they are designed to last years, so you’ll be reaping the rewards from year 2 onwards.

clothes_lineTip 4: Insulate your loft

If you live in a house with a loft, then you’ve probably noticed how cold it gets up there in the winter. Just like you wear a coat to keep out the cold, you can effectively give your house a coat, by putting insulation in the loft. If you were to lay around 10 inches of insulation, you could save between £100 and £200 on your heating bill.

Tip 5: Wash your clothes at 30 degrees centigrade and don’t use a tumble drier

Just by turning the temperature dial down on your washing machine from 40 to 30 degrees, you could save around £15 per year. Your clothes will still be clean and fresh, but you’ll have a bit more money in your pocket – don’t put it in the wash though! Also, rather than use a tumble drier to dry the washing, you can dry it for free by hanging it out. Having a little more patience like this could save you another  £40 per year

So, there you have it, a short list of highly effective energy saving tips, which you can put in to practice straight away to bring down your bills.

Happy saving!

Charles

 

Lightbulbs mage courtesy of domdeen / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Washing line image courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Home Electricity Saving Tips

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There is wisdom in implementing ways to save on your power use at home. Aside from the obvious reason of saving more money, there is also the aspect of environment protection that you address when you are wise in the way you consume electricity. You do not have to spend a lot with all the gadgets and devices that are being marketed as energy-saving accessories today. You only have to make some changes in the way you use electricity in your own household.

Here are some simple and practical tips that you can do to save home electricity:

  • Do not use anything that consumes electricity unless you have to. In the modern household, it is unavoidable to use electric appliances and fixtures. More prudent use of these items will have to be practiced.
    • Start with the lights. Always turn them off when they are not in use. You can also consider going for new CFL or LED bulbs instead of using the old incandescent bulbs and fluorescent lamps.
    • Shorten computer usage time. You might consider using your computer for a limited amount of time and then turning it off afterwards. This applies whether you are using it for business or for personal purposes. Keeping it on to play games for hours or while you sleep is not wise at all.
    • Check your heating or cooling systems. Make sure that these are running optimally. Ill maintained air conditioners would cause the motor to work harder and consume more energy. The same goes for heaters. With poor insulation, your heater would have to work harder to keep your home warm and cozy.
    • Avoid using unnecessary electrical appliances. A hair dryer, for example, might not be necessary when you can air dry your hair. Similarly, hanging your clothes out to dry in a clothes line will save you from the electricity that running the laundry dryer will use up.
    • Wash clothes in bulk so you don’t have to run as many loads in your washing machine. Do not use warm water; use tap water instead. The heating system will use up home electricity that will increase your bills.
    • Regulate your fridge temperature. Turn it down to the lowest possible temperature. Note that your fridge is responsible for the 20% of your electricity bill.

 

Save Energy - Switch Off Lights

Save energy with simple things

  • Consider using solar power or any other alternative power source. There are many benefits that you can enjoy by doing this. You can explore the available options in your state. It would also be a good idea to see if your state offers incentives for homeowners who use alternative power sources.

By ensuring that your household makes wise use of electricity, you are doing yourself and the environment a huge favor. If you would like to have a more in-depth look at some great ideas for saving energy, check out the official UK governments website for more suggestions. If you are serious on saving your home electricity, these are just simple things that you can do at home that will give you the savings that you can enjoy. Try these things and you will surely be amazed with the savings that you will have with a lower electricity consumption in your home.

Home Insulation

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In this post I would like to take a look at insulating your home, which materials to use and what is the most cost-effective way of achieving maximum heat retention this winter.

What to Insulate

There are many areas of your home which could be insulated but not all of them will give you the best return for your investment. Here are a list of the top 4 areas of your home you should insulate listed in order of importance by the level of heat that will be lost from each of them:

  1. Walls – 35% heat loss
  2. Roof – 25% lost
  3. Floor – 15% heat escapes
  4. Windows and Doors – 15% loss
foam insulation for the loft

Foam insulation for the loft

As you can see it’s the walls in the majority of cases that are going to be losing you the most heat. This would most definitely be true for a detached home but if you live in a terraced home it could be that the roof or windows and doors pose more of a problem because two side of your home are already joined to other homes.

The first thing to do is check what kind of insulation you already have in the roof and walls and if you have double glazing.

How Much Insulation

It’s best to leave this up to the experts because they will need to look at a few factors to determine how much insulation material to use and where to give you the best value. If you are doing it yourself you could buy some rolls of insulation material from somewhere like Wickes or Homebase and cover the floor in your loft with it. That’s an easy first step to take in insulation.

If there were no space or budget limits then you would have as much insulation as possible because the more you have the better. It’s like wearing a thin coat compared to wearing a thicker coat. The thicker one is always going to provide much more insulation and keep you warmer but sometimes you can’t afford the larger one or fit it in your bag.

If you want more details and to look at options available to you head over to this place and check out what they have on offer.

Cost of Insulation

If you look at the cost of some forms of insulation you will soon find out that it isn’t cheap. From my research I have found that there are a few which are the best value for money, which I have listed below. The best news about this is that the cheapest one is also actually the best for the environment and your health. It isn’t going to be releasing any bad health causing fumes so should be a bet for use in your loft insulation.

Product Name Cost per Sq M
Loose cellulose (recycled) AKA Warmcel £12
Polystyrene Board £14
Wood wool (NOVOLIT) £33
Black Mountain sheep wool £46

Conclusion

Getting your home insulated will definitely help you save money on your heating bill this winter. Just how much depends mainly on how badly your home is insulated at the moment. You can save a lot of money if you have a poorly insulated home by just implementing a few ideas yourself, very quickly.

Images courtesy of John Kasawa and xedos4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Could a halogen heater reduce your energy bills?

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As winter draws in there’s a couple of things that you start to miss. Firstly there’s the warmth, and then there’s the sun.

Luckily there’s something you can do.

Firstly, if you’re in a house, you can turn on your central heating, right? Only, then you’re heating the whole house racking up huge electricity or gas bills in the process. And you might only be in one room. It’s all a bit of a waste.

Or, if you’re not in the main house, you might be in the conservatory, or garage, or shed, or maybe even outside.

So, you can get a heater. Maybe a fan one. But they’re a bit noisy. So, no, scrap that. What about a gas one? Kind of heavy, kind of unnecessary?

In fact you should probably consider getting a halogen heater. Here’s why:

  • lower running costs (about 10% of a gas heater)
  • near silent operation
  • no harmful emissions
  • instant heat
  • no flammable fuel sources

That’s the warmth covered, then. But what about the sunshine. You miss that too. Luckily many halogen heaters act as a light source too and can output 10,000 lux, which is equivalent to daylight. So, you might even feel happier too!

Prem-I-Air halogen heater

Using a halogen heater could help reduce your heating bill

Which halogen heater should I choose?

Ok, you’re starting to see this makes sense, but which one?

A small one, big one, somewhere in between?

Well, it depends – basically on these factors:

  • Location (is this a room in the house, outside, or a shed?)
  • Size of the room/area (A small room, big room?)
  • Number of people (Is it just you, or a larger group – if so, the heater might need to rotate or pump out more heat across wider area)
  • How much you are willing to pay (upfront and ongoing) – the more power generally the more expensive the heater is to buy, and then to run as well.

So, let’s say you work in the garage, which is about 3 metres by 5 metres, and it’s just you, but you move around a lot. You probably want to consider a fairly powerful oscillator, something like the Prem-I-Air which offers 1600W and costs around £30.

Or, let’s say you have a small balcony, and you want to be able to site out there and have a drink in the evening with a significant other. You could look at a wall mounted option like the one offered by alfresia.co.uk, which offers 1500W and costs around £80

These are just some options based on example scenarios, but if you are looking for some advice and reviews to help you decide which heater to buy, then head over to the ‘Best Halogen Heaters’ comparison site.

Good luck finding the right heater for your needs

Charles

Should you switch your home to solar energy?

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Over the last few years more and more solar panels have appeared on the roofs of UK houses. Around 25,000 homes are now harnessing the sun’s energy to heat their water and power their central heating.

The fact that it’s becoming more popular will naturally drive the prices down from suppliers of the panels. However, is now the time to jump on the bandwagon and invest in creating an eco-home? We’ve pulled out some of the key factors you need to consider when deciding whether or not to instal solar panels.

Is solar power right for your home?

Most properties can be fitted with solar panels. However, a large proportion of the roof needs to be south facing so that it captures as many of the sun’s rays as possible. If you live in a block of flats then solar panels are still an option, but the residents would need to get the agreement of the freehold owner before installing the panels.

How much does it cost?

It will likely cost between £10,000 and £15,000 to purchase and install  the panels. However, government grants can be obtained, which may reduce the cost by up to 50%. Once the panels are installed, you can expect a saving of around 50% on your water and heating bills.

Does it only work when it is hot outside?

The solar panels will still produce energy during the winter, and when there is partial cloud cover. The important factor is that it is bright, rather than hot Therefore, on an overcast day or during the night, the panels will not produce energy.

Will they look ugly?

The early solar panels produced in the 70s have dogged the industry due to their unsightly appearance. However, since then the appearance of the panels has improved dramatically. They are also now available in a range of different colours. Many people now recognise the solar panels as adding a touch of modern architecture to other wise dated houses.

house_and_car

You could lower your emissions by the equivalent of a car driving 70,000 miles a year

Do they really help save the environment?

A house with solar panels will produce approximately 40 tonnes less of CO2 emissions each year. For comparison, 40 tonnes of CO2 is roughly what is produced by a family car driven for 70,000 miles

Final thoughts

Although there has been a upward trend in the number of homes adopting solar energy in the last few years, the UK is still behind other countries. In Japan, there are approximately 500,000 homes with solar panels, but even this number only represents about 1.5% of the total number of homes.

Energy price rises

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It’s not secret that energy prices have been rising rapidly over recent months. Most of the companies known as the “big 6″ have increased their prices heavily, some by as much as 10%. So what is the reason for this sudden increase?

Politics

After Ed Miliband’s election promise was…

If Labour win the next election, we will freeze energy prices until 2017

That’s all well and good but this outburst could actually be the reason that all of the energy companies are raising their prices now. They don’t want to be caught out if there is a price freeze from 2015 until 2017 because of a government policy so they have no option but to increase the prices beforehand. They’ll then probably look to increase their prices afterwards, too!

They want to increase them sufficiently so that it doesn’t lose them any money over that two year period which means steep increases now. They have to take into consideration how much wholesale gas and electricity prices might increase over that period which is a complete shot in the dark but they’d rather charge too much than too little.

Shareholders

Another reason for the increase in prices of gas and electricity could simply be for increased profits. The shareholders of these large corporations want to make as much money as possible so increasing their revenue is one way to do it. They have tried to justify that their costs have increased and therefore they need to increase prices but in one report it was actually stated that over the past year wholesale prices have only risen by 2% whereas the costs to the consumer have risen by 9%, on average.

Green Taxes

The government impose additional taxes on energy bills because they need to raise money for investing in renewable energy sources

Green Taxes

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

and they also use the money to help those who are poorer insulate their homes in order to reduce their energy bills.

The government have stated that they are looking at ways to reduce the green taxes which would pass the savings onto customers throughout the UK. However, the energy companies are still free to raise the prices of energy as they see fit without any intervention from the government. This is why Labour’s election promise was so well received by a large number of people in the UK who are really feeling the squeeze this winter, and will shortly be feeling the freeze too!

Ways to Save

There are many ways to save on your energy costs, but some of the easiest to implement are listed below:

  • Insulating your hot water tank could save up to £60 per year
  • Have showers instead of baths to use less hot water
  • If you have an immersion heater don’t leave it on all the time
  • Switching halogen light bulbs to LED ones can save money
  • Using energy efficient light bulbs can save up to £55 a year
  • Turn all appliances off from the mains instead of leaving them on standby

Conclusion

If you are worried about soaring energy costs you have every right to be. These increases are set to make many households far worse off this winter. If you are able to switch energy suppliers now might be the time to do so if you can find a suitable tariff which suits your needs better. It’s best to look at a comparison site to see what is available.

*Image courtesy of pixtawan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net