Smart Energy shares tips for reducing energy bills

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With energy bills costing double on average for British households compared with the same period last year, Britons are likely looking for every tip in the book to help cut back on costs. And as the increase to the energy price guarantee looms, which will see an extra £500 slapped on the bill for typical households when the £2,500 price cap rises to £3,000 for typical households, the looming change could leave many worried to switch on the heating to keep this winter. But experts have revealed how to make your heating system as efficient as possible if you do switch on your thermostat, to help make sure none of the pricey energy does not go to waste.

According to The Greenage, an energy-saving advice community, roughly 25 percent of the heat from your boiler escapes through the roof. Meanwhile, up to 35 percent of heat can escape through gaps in windows, doors and walls, The Mirror reports.

This is more likely if you have a certain type of insulation which has “degraded effectiveness and should be upgraded”, which can happen after many years.

The experts from The Greenage said: “You can check if you need extra insulation by selecting an electrical outlet on any exterior wall of your home.”

They note that you can check whether you need extra insulation by selecting an electrical outlet on any exterior wall of your home. They sat that all you need to do is simply turn off the outlet’s power and take the cover off the outlet, which will let see how much insulation there is and in some cases, what type.

They added: “Looking up your type of insulation will allow you to determine if it should be replaced or increased in its R value (a material’s resistance to heat flowing through it at a certain thickness.”

And to limit the loss of heat through walls, windows and doors, the areas where most heat escapes, they suggest sealing. the cracks with caulk or foam. Meanwhile, larger cracks might require insulation foam if they are to be effectively sealed. 

The experts said: “The biggest area for heat loss in most homes are drafts within the walls, windows and doors. It’s typical for these spots to be less noticeable than you’d think they would be. Just a single 1/8 inch gap under a standard 36-inch wide door will leak just as much cold heat out as an almost 2.5 inch hole through a wall.

“Also be aware that weather-stripping will eventually wear out over a few years, so sealing drafts and replacing older weather-stripping can help keep heat in the house where it belongs.”

The experts warned that heat could also be escaping through the floor if the quality of your flooring is poor. If this is the case, up to 10 percent of your heating could be escaping right beneath your feet. 

They said: “Homes can lose around 10 percent of their heat through the floor. Well-insulated underfloor heating is a great alternative. Underfloor heating is an added heat source that comes from the floor rather than usual radiators, meaning less energy could be required to warm your home.”

However, underfloor heating can be very costly to install and run, and could see you fork out up to four times the price compared with a wet underfloor system. Meanwhile, using underfloor heating for around six hours can even slap on an extra 1- percent per metre square to a household’s energy bills, meaning this is likely not the best choice if you are trying to save cash. 

But while the heat may be escaping from across various parts of your home, experts say new insulation could prove vital at keeping bills down. Now, the Government has unveiled a new scheme to help households insulate their homes, known as the ECO+ scheme. 

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This will see the Government give up to £1billion to middle-income households across the UK to help improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Business Secretary Grant Shapps said the programme is “another part of an overall package to help people during this difficult time”, claiming that – without Government support – bills would have been “absolutely sky high”.

He told GB News: “What we want to do is make sure people can take their homes, if they’re not as energy efficient – technically that means an energy certificate of D or below – and improve the efficiency of it. That just means obvious things like insulation, wall cavity insulation. All of which cost money, of course.

“This £1billion – which is in addition to a lot more money that’s been provided previously – is to allow anyone in any type of housing – it could be privately rented, it could be their own home or social housing – to improve the property in order to make sure that it meets those higher standards. And that will save people quite a lot of money – over £300 per year. And this is the Government really doing more to help out.”

But fuel poverty charities have warned that from next year, with the £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) ending and be targeted to help the most vulnerable and the price cap changing, there will be a 40 percent increase on current prices and means prices will have more than doubled in 18 months.

Adam Scorer, chief executive of National Energy Action (NEA), warns: “This winter has already been bleak and next year is set to be even worse. With Government support being reduced and energy bills spiralling yet again in April, one in three households will be in fuel poverty.

“That means many of them will be forced to bed wearing coats, rationing showers and hot water, it means running up huge debts or self-disconnecting and going cold. Millions of the most vulnerable – carers, people with disabilities, those on low incomes and living in inefficient homes – are already bearing the brunt this winter.

“The situation will continue to get worse next year. The effects of this are devastating on both physical and mental health. Make no mistake, cold homes can kill. Government intervention must prioritise the most vulnerable in 2023 and beyond.”

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