Improve your home

If you're doing some DIY or getting improvements made to your home, why not think about making energy efficiency improvements at the same time? It works out cheaper to do everything at once – and you'll save money on your energy bills too. Click on the room links on the left to see what you could do.

 

Don't know where to start?

 

Ask the right questions

Whether you're looking to buy a or rent a new home or wondering how to assess your own home, here's what to look out for to make sure your energy bills are as low as they can be.

 

Check the Energy Performance Certificate rating  

All domestic and commercial buildings in the UK available to buy or rent must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). If you own a home, getting an energy performance survey done could help you identify ways to save money on your energy bills.

Much like the multi-coloured sticker on new appliances, EPCs tell you how energy efficient a building is and give it a rating from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient): the lower the efficiency, the more the home will cost to run.

 

How is the home heated?  

Gas heating costs a lot less to run and is more energy efficient than electric alternatives. Ask the landlord or seller to leave behind any heating control instructions so you can set your controls to only heat the rooms you want to. If they can’t find them, you can download them from the manufacturers’ website.

Find out more about heating controls.

 

Is the loft insulated?  

Loft insulation is one of the most efficient ways to keep heat from escaping in a home. The thickness of the insulation plays an important role but it’s easy to top up if there’s some there but not enough. 270mm is the recommended depth. To give an idea of cost savings, topping up from 100mm to 270mm can save around £15 a year on heating bills.

Find out more about loft insulation.

 

What’s in the walls?  

A third of the heat in an un-insulated home is lost through the walls. There are two wall types – solid walls and cavity walls. Both can be insulated to improve the energy efficiency of a property. If the home was built from 1920 onwards there is a good chance it has cavity walls. A home with uninsulated cavity walls could cost up to £145 more to run each year than one with insulated cavities, so it’s worth finding out the state of play.

If you’ve fallen in love with a home with uninsulated cavity walls, it’s not difficult to get it fixed. Installation costs are about £450 to £500 but you should make this back in about four years.

Learn more about cavity wall insulation.

Homes built before 1920 are likely to have solid walls. Solid walls may sound like they should be better at keeping in heat but unfortunately the opposite is true. Uninsulated solid walls can lose heat twice as fast as uninsulated cavity walls, but insulating them could save around £270 year – so if you’re looking to move into an older build, make sure you ask about the insulation.

Get more information about solid wall insulation.

 

It’s good to see double  

A-rated double glazed windows can save between £90 - £120 on heating bills compared to a single-glazed property. Heavy lined curtains can help keep the heat in if double-glazing can’t be fitted.

Find out more about double-glazing.

 

The newer the boiler, the better  

The latest boilers are a lot more energy efficient than older models. Check the age of the boiler and if it is Energy Saving Trust recommended. If the landlord/seller doesn’t know, you can find out the energy efficiency of different boilers at the Boilers.org.uk website. Boilers have energy ratings, much in the same way as homes. Once again, A is the most energy efficient and G is the lowest. Replacing a G rated boiler could save around £305 a year on running costs.

Find out more about boilers.

 

Look out for draughts  

Check round windows and doors for gaps. If it’s a windy day and a home is particular draughty, you can often hear the whistle of wind as it sweeps through the property. It’s quite easy to draught proof homes and there are lots of DIY options available. Draught proofing can save between £20 - £30 a year on heating costs.

Learn more about draught proofing.

 

Save water, save money  

A water meter is a great way to keep in control of your water usage and stop you flushing money down the drain. Check the home for dripping taps, which can waste gallons of water a day. It’s also worth asking if the shower has an energy saving shower head. These save water and money but still give you a powerful shower experience.

Find out more about water saving in the home.

 

The lighter way to save energy  

Does the property have energy saving light bulbs or fittings? If so, will the landlord or seller be leaving these light bulbs behind? If not, invest in your own before you move in.

 

Check appliances  

Have a look at any the seller is offering, or ask your new landlord about the energy efficiency of appliances. Fridges and freezers should come with an energy rating from A to G, with A being the most energy efficient.

 

Planning a home improvement project?