With the clocks going back at the weekend, many of us our now turning our attention to winter. If last year you struggled with the cold or found that your energy bills were too expensive, then hopefully we can assist you in making life a little more comfortable this winter. In Part 1 of this blog series, we will look at potential ways that you can make your home more energy efficient with just a budget of £100.
For you to get the most out of your money, you will be required to partake in some DIY. You will be able to save a substantial amount of money and it is certainly well worth doing. If you think that you may struggle with this due to ill health or old age, try to see whether you could ask a friend or neighbour to help out.
So what can £100 actually get you?
Surprisingly you can reallt do a fair amount. Obviously what is achievable with £100 will vary from house to house. Some homes will require more work than others.
My advice to you when it comes to making energy efficiency improvements would be to focus on the rooms that you spend the most time in. Typically this would be your bedroom or lounge, and I would focus on making sure both rooms are as free from draughts as possible.
Firstly you should walk around the house or the room you would like to improve, and try and find potential gaps in your floors, windows, cracks in walls or gaps between doors where you can feel cold air coming in.
Once you have identified where cold air is coming in from, you can begin to start thinking about which areas to draught proof. It is important that there is some good ventilation so that a good supply of fresh air can come in.
If you are draught proofing rooms where there is likely to be a build-up of excess moisture however, such as in kitchens or bathrooms, you will want some more ventilation than say your bedroom so that the moist air can be removed.
What materials should you buy?
To block gaps to the outside around your windows you should use a Caulking gun. You can buy a gun with two tubes for a combined price of £16. You can find plenty of advise on how to use a caulking gun by searching online. Draft proofing foam strips are also a cheap DIY fix to small drafts around windows. To cover gaps from underneath doors you could either buy a door snake or some weather seals. I personally prefer door snakes as you can remove them as and when you want depending on if you want more ventilation coming into the room or not. You can buy door snakes for around £5 and the price of weather seals will vary depending on size. These should be between £8-£20.
Draught proofing your windows and doors could save you around £20 per year.
If you have a fireplace, often air will come in through the chimney. You can buy a chimney balloon to prevent cold air coming in when the fire is not in use. You can get these for £10-£20. However, if you are to light a fire remember to remove the balloon before doing so!
Draught proofing your chimney could save you around £15 per year.
If you have single glazed windows, it is very worthwhile investing in some thick curtains. These will also vary in price depending on the size of your windows but you should be able to get some for £20-£40.
Without adequate curtains it’s likely that you are losing up to 25 percent of your heated air, which forces your heating system to continue using energy when it shouldn’t have to. It is very worthwhile to invest in curtains therefore if you haven’t got any or if you have really thin ones.
You should be able to buy all of the above items for a total cost of below £100 and the savings you make in the long run are certainly worth it!
Now we have talked about how you can make energy efficiency improvements to your home and how this can lead to savings off your winter bills, but you can save much more by making some behavioural changes.
By turning your thermostat down just 1 degree you can save up to £90 per year.
You can also invest in a big warm cosy blanket for use on the couch whilst you watch TV. A blanket like this could mean that you can lower your heating by a degree or two, saving you a significant amount off your energy bills annually.
Washing clothes at 30 degrees rather than 40 degrees can also make a big difference. This could save you over £50 per year off your bills but make sure you have the right detergent for this.
Your home may also be using energy inefficient lightbulbs. Make sure to invest in energy-saving lightbulbs. These will also knock off a few quid off your energy bills.
Finally, you should make sure that you switch off any unused plugs or switches. Turning things off at the plug can save you an average of £30 per year but households with more gadgets could save between £50 and £80 per year according to MoneySuperMarket.
In Part 2 of this blog series, we will look at what you can do with £1000.
If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.