With heating bills going up quarterly, the energy efficient home isn’t just a dream for penny pinchers. It’s necessary for the homeowner who wants to stay warm through Britain’s increasingly cool winters, stay dry in the rainy summers.
While it’s true that a lot of home energy improvements are beyond the skill of a Do It Yourself enthusiast (many involve plumbing and gas engineering), there are things you can do to minimise your energy bills yourself. To start with you’ll need to understand how your home loses energy in the first place.
For the Do It Yourself enthusiast, the most important factor in the audit is how much cool air is entering your home from outside. US sources estimate that the combined total of holes and cracks in the average property are equal to the area of a whole window. So the chances are your home is already wasting heating efficiency to the tune of having one window open all year round – just by its normal wear and tear.
Locating and filling holes and cracks is something you can easily do yourself. For more information: the Ultimate Handyman has everything you need!
Insulating your loft can be another excellent way to lessen your energy consumption and increase the amount of heat in your home. If you insulate your loft to a thickness of 270mm, it’s estimated you can save as much as £200 per year on your heating costs.
Typically a loft is insulated with glass fibre, or more recently wool. Wool based loft insulation has the advantage of being energy efficient in its production as well as its effects. Producing wool loft insulation takes only 15% of the energy needed to produce glass fibre insulation.
First fill the spaces between the joists, up to a depth of 270mm. If you are topping up existing insulation you can top up until the whole depth is 270mm.
Then lay boards over the insulation, if you need the storage space. Be aware that the board must not compress the insulating material, or it won’t work. Insulation functions by trapping and warming air.
Be sure you don’t nail boards over wiring. And leave the space under the eaves free for ventilation. If in doubt you can consult the Building Regulations to find out exactly how you should specify the insulation project.
Insulating your home properly can help control condensation by making the heat levels in the house more standardised. Be aware though that increasing the overall energy efficiency of your home by sealing it from the outside – it’s the heat transfer between cold outside air and warm internal air that makes your heating work too hard – also has an effect on humidity.
The more energy efficient your home, the less fresh air enters. And that means there’s less ventilation to suck the moist air out. So be prepared to do humidity tests too.
For information about eco-friendly toys and games for the kids in your energy efficient home log on to: www.askgranny.com.