June 21st marks the first official day of Summer in the U.K and with a heatwave predicted once it finally does start, we thought we’d look at ten top tips for saving money on energy. There are many good ways to save energy but it may be worth mentioning before we get into it, that replacing your boiler in the Summer is definitely a good idea.
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, there are a number of reasons why it’s a smart move. Firstly, heating engineers tend to be quieter during the Summer and offer highly reduced rates.
Secondly, you won’t miss the home heating while your old boiler is disconnected and taken away, which can be disruptive during cold Winter months. You’ll also avoid the common boiler failure which occurs during the switch on after the Summer months when heating engineers are at their busiest and waiting times at their longest. Replacing your boiler in the Summer also gives you plenty of time to research and get the best price on your new boiler without the intense pressure that comes with a boiler breakdown in the colder seasons.
Some of the following tips are more expensive than others but we’re sure there’s something here that you can implement and start saving on your energy bills during the Summer months.
1. Seal Draughts & Insulate
The idea here is to keep the cool air indoors and the hot air outdoors. Check your home for draughty areas and seal them up, this is best done in the Winter months where the draughts are colder and more noticeable.
If you want to get serious with draught detection then you can purchase a thermal leak detector which will show you a heat map of your home so you can identify problem areas. Thermal leak detectors can provide a cost-effective way to reduce energy bills and with so many on the market, they don’t have to break the bank either.
In the Winter you want to insulate your home to ensure the heat stays in by putting lagging in the loft and wall cavities. It’s exactly the same principle during the Summer months, a well-insulated home will ensure that cool air stays inside and warm air stays outside. A well-insulated home will save you money all year round so it’s definitely something worth looking into it.
2. Block out the sun
Unleash your inner goth and cover up windows by closing blinds or drawing curtains to stop the sun from heating your home. This is an especially good tactic during peak sunny periods or if you’re going out, keep the heat out and the cool in.
Reflective shades, blackout drapes, and honeycomb blinds are particularly effective for keeping the heat from the sun out.
3. Use portable fans
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one (and the cheapest). Buying a few portable fans for the home is vastly cheaper than installing air conditioning which will be gathering dust for the majority of the year and you can just put them in a cupboard when the weather starts to get cooler.
Portable fans won’t cool the air in your home but it will keep you cool, so don’t leave them running if they aren’t pointed at someone as they won’t be doing much.
4. Smart thermostats
While we’d love to believe that the Summer will last for months, with each day being balmier than the next, the truth is that there are still some chilly days with even chillier evenings. A smart thermostat will adapt to the external temperature and ensure that your house is kept at just the right temperature. A smart thermostat will also adapt to your habits and adjust itself accordingly as well as offering energy-saving settings.
Another benefit of some smart thermostats is a geo-fencing capability, in English, this means that the thermostat knows where you are from an app installed on your phone. If you aren’t at home then it won’t waste energy heating it up. If it detects you’re on your way home then it will switch on so that the temperature is optimal by the time you get there.
5. Don’t fire up the oven
This might be one you wouldn’t necessarily think of, but using an oven or stove in the kitchen can increase the temperature by 10 degrees. If the weather is nice, why not spark up the barbie or fire pit and cook your food outdoors for that flame-grilled goodness. Alternatively, you could use the microwave as it uses a third of the energy of an oven and produces less heat but the downside is, well, the taste.
6. Minimise appliance usage
Cut down on appliance usage during the Summer and save more energy, not just on the electricity they use to run but the heat output active devices kick out. Let the clothes dryer have a well-earned rest and hang your washing out on the line or on a clothes horse. Don’t use the dishwasher, wash the dishes by hand as you stare out on beautiful summer scenes of horses frolicking playfully in meadows, or something like that.
You can also turn down the temperature on your water heater, there’s no point wasting energy on keeping the water piping hot all the time when you probably won’t use it anyway. Water heating accounts for 18% of the energy consumed in your home. Showers are a much more energy-efficient way of keeping clean anyway.
7. Use LED bulbs
Most households will have upgraded to LED bulbs by now – they’re better for the environment, they last longer and they are more energy efficient. It’s worth having a look round your home at all the light fittings to make sure there are no incandescent bulbs hanging on and wasting your precious money.
Not only do LED bulbs use a fraction of the electricity of incandescent bulbs but they have very little heat output when they are on, unlike incandescent bulbs which release 90% of their energy as heat.
8. Upgrade your windows
Upgrading your windows is an expensive proposition, but one that will save you money all year round by increasing the energy efficiency of your home, keeping it cooler in the Summer and warmer in the Winter. There is also the added benefit of better noise reduction than older single-pane style windows.
Making sure that your windows don’t have any draughts around them by using silicone to block up any areas that may be letting heat in.
If you can’t afford to upgrade your windows then you can purchase solar control window film at a reasonable price to help reflect some of the sunlight away. Another solution is to open your windows during the night when the air is cooler and then shut your windows in the morning when you get up, free air-conditioning!
9. Switch your tariff up
Summer is a good time to change your energy provider as energy providers can be a little sneaky – introducing price hikes just before Winter. So a Summer switch could see you build up a bit of credit as your usage will be low.
If you’ve been on the same tariff for a while it could also be worth switching as introductory offers are usually quite keen to entice people in but once they’ve got you, they won’t look after you. This is similar to car insurance, where the renewal quote is overpriced because they know people are lazy and don’t want the hassle of getting quotes and finding a new provider.
Sign up to u-switch and you’ll be informed when a better deal comes along and once you’ve input your details, switching suppliers is pretty straight forward and pain-free.
10. Go wireless
Unplug, unwind and connect in a more meaningful way with your friends or family. Detach yourself from your devices, get some people over and enjoy the British sunshine while you can by spending some time outdoors, either in the garden or go for a walk in the beautiful British countryside.
Alternatively, you can start a project in the garden – grow some veg, build some decking, touch up the painting – the important thing is to spend some time outdoors, away from social media and the constant demand from your phone for more attention.
You will save money on energy consumption and hopefully gain some energy for yourself in today’s fast-paced world.
Even if 2019 turns out to be a hot one as predicted, with these energy saving tips, you can beat the heat without breaking the bank.