Savings are in the air this month. From home energy audits, reducing our energy usage and ways to save; we’re lifting the lid on as many boxes as we can. Boxes that we can tick (mostly) ourselves, at home with some time and patience.
We are seeing a change in weather, with blue skies peeking through and lightness creeping in. This usually goes hand in hand with reduced bills but unfortunately, with the huge jumps we’re seeing in energy costs that’s not the case. It is now even more important to learn how to manage and sustain good home energy practices. Good practice pays.
While we would normally be in a position to say that natural gas is an efficient and reliable energy source, recent geopolitical situations are causing increasing levels of concern across Europe. If you rely on a gas system to heat your home, this is the blog for you.
So, how do we lower our gas bills and our carbon footprint?
Drying Your Clothes On Radiators
With better weather coming in, we can start to dry our washing outside. No matter what the time of year, try and avoid where possible, covering up your radiators with damp clothes. Their purpose is to heat your home and you’re making it much harder for them to do so. An air dryer is a far more sustainable tool.
Overusing Your Tumble Dryer
That’s an energy monster that both costs a lot while also compromising your clothes’ life span. We know that in Ireland, drying clothes is a task and a half during the winter months, but as soon as light and warmth allows, make that move swiftly. In fact, stop keeping any appliances on standby. This is sneaky energy usage or what can be termed as vampire power.
Letting Heat Escape
We spoke about this in our energy auditing blog but we’ll repeat it here for good measure. Would you open the door to let that hard working heat out with a smile and a wave? No? Then stop it in its tracks when it tries to escape under the door, through the keyhole or out the windows. Plug up those abetting suspects “chimney balloons, draught excluders and heavy curtains are everyday heroes when it comes to tackling draughts.”
A not so fun fact – an open fireplace damper lets the same amount of heated air escape as a wide-open 48-inch window.
Wasting your Solar Gains
Energy is starting to stream in. Those blue skies we mentioned? They come with grade A solar power. Open those curtains, let that light work your windows to warm up rooms and do the work of your (hopefully) LED bulbs for as long as possible. You might be interested in learning a little more about how PV panels work in Ireland hand in hand with the energy that streams in freely. We’ve written about it here.
Wearing Summer Clothes before Summer
I have distinct memories of my parents telling me to put another layer on when any hint of complaining came knocking regarding the heating. It’s only now, I can fully appreciate their logic. We’re not suggesting that you wear a sleeping bag at home but we can certainly dress the part a little more if bills are a concern.
Moving Furniture Away From Vents and Radiators
If air has trouble circulating, it’s possible a sofa or bed is causing issues with airflow. Blocking the flow of air through a room wastes money and makes it harder to heat cold rooms. Making small changes to layout can have a big impact on how your heating system works.
Improving your home’s insulation
Up to half of your home’s heat can escape through the roof, walls, windows and floor if it’s not properly insulated. If you’ve already made our suggested small amends, it might be time to dive a bit deeper. There are grants available for different forms of insulation which may also have the added benefit of improving your BER rating and value of your home. Having a ‘leaky’ home is both hard to get warm and hard to keep warm. If you can maximise the thermal performance of your home’s base structure, the roof, walls, floor, windows and doors, you will give your home the best possible foundation for becoming a low-energy household.
Getting Your Boiler Serviced and Replaced if needed
Get your boiler serviced every year. Every single year. An engineer will check, clean and replace parts in your system before it breaks down. A boiler that runs efficiently works to your advantage. One that doesn’t? Well, it does the opposite (as well as posing a safety risk). If it’s old, over 12-15 years, it may be costing you more money by wasting the energy it produces. Modern gas boilers are more advanced and more energy efficient. There will be a financial pain in the short term but it will be offset through savings on your bill. Replacing an old gas boiler with an efficient model will cut heating costs and reduce your carbon footprint.
Turning down the water temperature
Again, we touched off this point in our energy reducing blog but if you have the option on your boiler to lower the temperature of the hot water of your taps and showers you should do so. Turning it down a few degrees will save you gas and money.
Working with a Smart Thermostat
You could use a smart thermostat that would allow you to operate your heating system remotely. It might be that you save your daily routine or that you work out your best usage depending on the time of year. It will allow you to operate at an optimum efficiency.
Hopefully, you will find that you can employ a number of these tactics at home to improve the efficiency of the systems you have in place. If you have any energy related questions you would like to see answered over the course of our weekly blogs, please feel free to comment below or get in touch.
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