HEATING UP: I’m a heating and loft insulation expert – a £7 tool can slash energy bills by £100s but millions miss out

A HANDY £7 tool could save you hundreds of pounds on your energy bills this winter.

It comes as bills and prices are still heavy on people’s minds so tips and tricks can come in handy when they weather gets colder.

With energy bills set to rise by £94 for the average household from the new year, we’re all looking for ways to save.

Research from LoftZone has found that 8 in 10 people are worried about heating their homes this winter. Plus, according to the government, eight million of the UK’s 25million lofts don’t have enough insulation – which is a key way to keep heat within your homes.

We spoke to home insulation and heating expert and LoftZone chief executive Dave Raval for his tips on how to keep energy bills low and house temperatures high this winter.

Dave said:

  • “There are lots of things everybody could do in their own homes that are quite easy and inexpensive to help save on your heating bills”.
  • “The best energy saving is the energy you don’t use, so looking at where heat may be escaping is key!
  • “You want to avoid paying to heat the air in your house and letting it go straight out.”

Check for draughts

“On a cold evening, go around with your hand across every window and across every door and feel for draughts,” Dave said.

That’s because older houses typically lose more heat through gaps in doors, floorboards, and windows, so it’s vital to plug them.  Just 13% of Brits have draught excluders to help keep their home warm.

He added: “These are a cost-effective solution. You can buy products online and solutions from DIY stores.”

Draught excluders don’t cost a lot, but can have a big impact – we found one at Dunelm for just £7.

It is worth checking windows and doors are sealed properly. Buy some cheap adhesive foam strips to block cold air, and tape around parts of your window can also help, Dave said.

You can pick up these foam strips on Amazon for just £12.99 for 50mm. Stick them around your windows to stop warm air escaping.

“Perhaps consider thicker curtains – door curtains used to be a popular thing which has gone out of fashion, but these are great for keeping in the heat too,” he said. You’d need to drill in a curtain rail above your door and hang the curtain as you would for windows, they add an added barrier between the cold outside and your home.

We found some for as little as £15 on the Dunelm website.

Research carried out by Essential Site Skills found that curtains alone have the potential to decrease your energy consumption by up to 15%.

That could lead to savings of up to £30 annually on your utility bills.

Invest in quality loft insulation 

Having a loft without insulation can mean that around 25% of your home’s heat is lost through the roof, according to Dave.

He says that in the current cost of living crisis, investing in efficient loft insulation is an “easy change” for homeowners to make.

Dave added: “It will make an enormous difference to energy bills.

“When installed correctly, the insulation should be able to pay for itself over and over again within its 40-plus year lifespan, creating an extra-strong storage solution whilst maintaining your energy bills.”

We found that you can expect to pay anything from £400 for traditional quilt insulation to £90 per square meter for certain types of spray foam insulation. So this is a hefty upfront cost but the Energy Saving Trust estimates that loft insulation can save you about £150 per year, as well as adding 16% to the value of the house.

However, it doesn’t stop at simply adding insulation to your loft. Most people don’t know that squashing insulation makes it 50% less efficient. We love to use our lofts for storage or to wander around them for access. However, Dave warned you to not put your boxes straight on the insulation or board down directly onto the joists.

Doing this will double the heat loss which has a big impact on your bills.

Consider a radiator fan

Another tip from Dave is to buy a radiator fan.

That’s because as heat rises, your ceiling gets warm first, then only afterwards does the lower part of the room start to warm up. To tackle this, he says you could consider a radiator fan that pops on top of radiator. It simply blows the heat on to you, rather than let it drift upwards, so you feel warmer, sooner.

Prices do vary from store to store, we found several radiator fan options for around £30. Figures from radiator fan provider, Radfan, suggest households could save up to £300 a year on their bills by installing these devices.

Save hot water

Saving hot water may sound pretty simple, but it’s something many of us forget about.

Dave said: “There are obvious things to save water, such as taking quicker showers and having fewer baths, but often people forget the water used whilst washing up.

“Use a bowl, or plug the sink, to avoid washing every item under the hot water tap, that is just heated water you’ve paid for that is going down the plughole!”

You can also rinse cleaned crockery etc with cold water, too.

Thermostatic radiator valves can make a big difference

If you have radiators, Dave says to make sure each one has a TRV – a thermostatic radiator valve.

Most homes have one single thermostat controlling your temperature, but many rooms need less heat.

Dave said: “Ask yourself – does your bedroom need to be hot at midday?

“Does your hall need to be as warm as your lounge?”

TRVs can be fitted without needing to do any plumbing.

They just screw on and allow you to turn down or up individual radiators – easy.

You can pick them up for as little as £13.99 on Amazon.

The average household can save up to £75 every year if they have thermostatic radiator valves fitted on all their radiators, according to British Gas.

More ways to save on your energy bills

Switch to solar lights outside

During sunnier days, switching off outdoor lighting and using solar lamps or lights will help cut energy bills.

Close curtains at night 

Close your curtains in the evening as temperatures drop to help insulate your home and stop heat from escaping.

This means you are less likely to need to turn the heating on.

Make sure you open the blinds in the morning, especially on sunny days, as the glass will act like a greenhouse to help warm your property.

Use residual oven heat to cook

Ovens remain hot immediately after you have turned them off.

This means you can actually turn them off up to 10 minutes before your food is due out to let the residual heat finish the job for you.

However, don’t take risks with food, and make sure it is piping hot and properly cooked all the way through before eating.

Don’t open the oven when in use

Once you have turned the oven on and put your food in, try not to open the door.

This reduces the temperature and prompts the appliance to use extra energy to bring the temperature back up, and also adds time on to cooking your meal costing you more.

Block draughts 

Stopping heat escaping through draughts can save £30 a year on your energy bill, according to Energy Saving Trust.

Draught excluders for under £5 are readily available on Amazon – especially the ones you attach to doors.

Or you can also get them to match your décor or style, we found a cute sausage dog excluder for £4 from Hobbycraft.

Let food cool down 

Putting hot food in the fridge can disrupt the temperature forcing the appliance to burn extra energy to cool the space back down.

It’s a similar story if you stand at the fridge with the door open wondering what to eat for longer periods of time.

Insulate your loft 

Loft insulation is an investment well worth making to prevent losing heat through your roof.

It is one of the more pricey changes to make but could save you around £300 a year, according to consumer campaign group Which?.

Ideally, you need rolls of insulation that is 270mm thick, according to the EnergyHelpline.

You are looking at paying around £30 for 200mm rolls of five metres – and don’t forget to insulate your loft hatch too.

Boil the kettle with the water you need 

The cost of running the kettle over a year mounts up making it one of the most expensive appliances.

Filling the kettle with more water than you need wastes energy and money.

Try using cups of water to fill the kettle so that you only boil what you need. 

Turn off devices

It’s estimated a sizeable chunk of electricity used in homes is from appliances that are sitting in standby mode

This equates to as much as £80 on a bill of £500.

Most people know about the TV but switching off your microwave when it’s not in use can make a big difference to bills.

We have rounded up some of the worst offenders to leave on standby.

Find this article published on The Sun

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