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How to make your home more energy efficient

Easy ways to cut your fuel bills

With fears for global warming growing it makes sense for each household to do what they can to help contribute to the fight the problem. And it makes even more sense because if you make your home more energy efficient it will save you money.

The average UK household is paying around £305 a year for gas and £260 for electricity - and the typical household can cut between £100-£200 a year off their fuel bills without losing either warmth or comfort by simply using energy efficiently and effectively.

Our top tips for cutting your fuel bills.

1. Check that you are using the cheapest supplier.
It is easy to do this at Tiscali by using our cut your bills calculator, which is supplied by uswitch, and offers free, independent, impartial advice. The site calculates how much you can save - based on your current bills. So, in the comfort of your own home or at your desk you can find out how much better off you would be if you changed suppliers.

2. Switch off unnecessary lights.
A simple, straightforward tip - but difficult for families with teenagers! In a typical home, lighting accounts for 20% of the electricity bill so if you can cut back here you will save money. 3) Only boil as much water as you need Only boil as much water as you need (but remember to cover the element if you're using an electric kettle). If we all did this we'd save enough electivity to power two thirds of the street lighting in the UK.

3. Change to energy saving bulbs.
By buying an energy efficient light bulb rather than the other alternatives you can cut energy wastage by over 75 per cent. They cost a bit more than ordinary light bulbs (about £3.50 each) but they last 12 times longer could save up to £9 on your annual electricity bill or £100 over the bulb's lifetimeover the bulb's lifetime.

4. Only boil as much water as you need
Only boil as much water as you need (but remember to cover the element if you're using an electric kettle). If we all did this we’d save enough electivity to power two thirds of the street lighting in the UK.

5. Turn your central heating thermostat down.
Just turning it down by 1 degree it could save you up to 10% of your heating bill

6. Close your curtains at dusk.
This helps cut down heat loss.

7. Forget standby.
Only use the heat and light appliances you really need - don't leave TVs or videos on standby. Also switch off this PC screen when it's not being used!

8. Wash your laundry at 30C
Washing at 30C rather than normal temperatures means you use 40% less electricity.

9. Upgrade your boiler
If your boiler is over 15 years old, it's probably time to replace it. By law, new boilers must now be of the high-efficiency condensing type. They can help you save up to a third on your heating bills and even more if you upgrade to modern controls.

10. Improve your insulation.
More than 40 per cent of all heat lost in the average home is through loft space and walls. As much as 20% of your energy bill can be saved by good loft insulation. Lofts should be insulated to a minimum depth of 150mm (6 inches) - preferably 200mm (8 inches) - and this can be done by either a contractor or DIY. Mineral wool, fibreglass and recycled paper products all work well. Remember to wear a facemask, goggles and protective clothing if you do it yourself, and leave sufficient gaps around the eaves to avoid condensation. Do not insulate under water tanks that may freeze and ensure all pipework and the loft hatch are insulated. This will cost around £300 but will save around £60-£70 a year.

Consider installing cavity wall insulation. Most heat from your home is lost through the walls. Cavity wall insulation can be installed in under three hours and will help keep your home warm in winter and cooler in summer. Money spent on cavity wall insulation would be recovered within three to five years and there are no ongoing maintenance costs. If every household in the UK, that could installed cavity wall insulation, together we'd save over £962 million of energy every year

11. Buy energy efficient appliances
When replacing appliances, consider their energy efficiency rating. Look for the Energy Efficiency Recommended Logo as a guide to help you choose the most suitable product. And choose a high efficiency condensing boiler. If your boiler needs to be replaced, then make sure you replace it with a high-efficiency condensing boiler - from April 2005 this will be law. This could save you around a third on your bills - that's over 10 percent more than replacing with a conventional boiler.

12. Draughtproof windows and doors.
Draughts are the most uncomfortable and obvious signs of a badly insulated house and can be fixed easily with minimal DIY skills. This will cost around £45-£60 saving roughly £10-£20 a year.

13. Insulate your immersion.
Fit a good insulating jacket to your hot water tank if it does not have sprayed foam on the outside. The cost of around £10 will soon be met via savings of around £10-£15. This can reduce heat loss by around 75%.

14. Put aluminium foil behind any radiators fitted to outside walls.
Ordinary kitchen foil will do, or you can buy specially designed panels from DIY stores Cost: up to £10 Saving: Around £5-£10.

15. Think solar
Solar panels look great, generate electricity for your home and you could qualify for a grant to contribute to the cost. They are beginning to come down in cost - so if you are re-roofing then they are worth considering.

Some facts

  • A forest approximately three and a half times the size of Greater London would need to be planted to absorb the CO2 emitted annually from UK housing.
  • If every household in the UK installed three energy saving light bulbs, electricity equivalent to the output of a typical power station would be saved each year.
  • If every household in the UK replaced their old fridge freezer with an Energy Efficiency Recommended one, electricity equivalent to the output of two typical power stations would be saved each year.


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