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16 Energy Efficiency Tips that will save you money

Various cost effective energy saving opportunities exist which, through reducing fuel and electricity bills, can pay for themselves in a relatively short time. The implementation of energy conservation measures can also make the house warmer and eliminate cold draughts.

1. Turn down thermostats:

Turning down the room thermostat by one degree Celsius can reduce house heating energy consumption by 10%. Hot water cylinder thermostats can be turned down to 60 degrees Celsius, but should not be set at a temperature lower than 60 degrees Celsius in order to avoid bacterial growth.

2. Use timers:

Timers can be used to provide hot water home heating at specific times to avoid excess use of energy. Switch off lights and appliances when not needed: If leaving the room for more than a few minutes, lights should be switched off. Televisions, computers, CD players, etc. should not be left switched on when not needed.

3. Open fire and fuel-effect fires:

Open fires are wasteful of energy. An open fire has an efficiency of only about 15 to 30%, meaning that 70% to 85% of the energy content of the fuel goes up the chimney. By comparison, efficient heating systems have efficiencies of 70 to 90%.

4. Control Ventilation:

Houses need a certain amount of ventilation to provide sufficient fresh air and avoid the build-up of moisture and pollutants. However, excessive ventilation of the house in winter should be avoided.

5. Fix Leaking Taps:

Have leaking taps fixed quickly, especially if they are hot taps. Make sure to turn off water taps fully after use.

6. Fridges and Freezers:

These appliances should be positioned in a cool place, not next to the cooker or boiler. If possible, they should not be placed where they will be exposed to direct sunlight. Adequate ventilation space should be left between the coil at the back of the fridge and the wall, since if these coils overheat, the efficiency of the fridge will be reduced.

7. Insulate hot water cylinders:

Un-insulated hot water cylinders should be insulated with a properly secured lagging jacket. Also all pipe work coming out of the cylinder should be insulated.

Draught seal doors, windows and other gaps:

Doors and windows should be draught sealed. Other gaps in the building may exist, for example at letterboxes, between floorboards, around skirting boards, around attic hatches, where floor joists meet external walls and where pipe work penetrates external walls. These gaps should be sealed against draughts as far as practical.

Improve heating and hot water controls:

Fitting a timer to the hot water cylinder will allow water to be heated only at times when it is regularly needed.

8. Use Energy efficient lamps:

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLS) use only one fifth of the electricity of ordinary light bulbs.

9. Radiators:

Reflective foil, backed by insulation should be fixed behind radiators. A projecting window board or shelf will direct warm air into the room, reducing heat loss through the window.

10. Attic insulation:

When insulating attics, care should be taken to protect water tanks and pipes from freezing and to ensure adequate ventilation of the roof space.

11. Floor insulation:

With wooden floors, insulation may be installed between joists under the floorboards. With all floors, an insulating underlay under the carpet will reduce heat loss.

12. Central heating controls:

It may be worth replacing an old central heating control system with a completely new control system. The new system should include a programmer along with room and hot water cylinder thermostats.

13. Room heaters:

Make sure that they are the right size for the rooms they are to heat, and that they have thermostatic controls. Electric heaters consume electricity at the most expensive charge rate.

14. Block off Chimney:

In windy weather, air is drawn up through the chimney, and the air is replaced by draughts entering through the gaps around the doors, windows etc. Blocking off chimneys which are not used (while retaining a small vent) will reduce air leakage.

15. Energy Saving Tips and Carbon Footprint Reduction:

    1. Using energy more efficiently in your daily life comes easily once you get started.
    2. Unplug your phone charger as soon as it has finished charging, equipment on standby uses up to 20% of the energy it would use when fully on.
    3. Turn your heating down to a comfortable 20 degrees Celsius – lowering your thermostat by 1 degree will knock 10% off your heating bill.
    4. Buy ‘A’ rated kitchens appliances – they cost less to run and over time will give you considerable savings on your electricity bill.
    5. By installing 180mm thick loft insulation you could stop about 25% of your heating escaping through the roof.
      Avoid unnecessary electricity use between 5pm and 7pm – help reduce national CO2 emissions.

16. Energy Efficient Lighting:

Choose CFL’s instead of ordinary bulbs and save approximately 80% electricity on lighting. CFL’s also last 15 times longer than ordinary light bulbs, and can save you up to €170 over the life time of the bulb.

Using CFL’s for security lighting is a very cost effective choice. An 11 watt CFL running all night, every night costs less than €6.35 a year in electricity costs.

Lower wattage outside security lighting, combined with movement sensors, will further reduce the homes carbon footprint.

This information is intended as a basic guide, We recommend you consult a professional before starting any electrical, plumbing or structural work.

Finbar Hoare Electrical, Heathtown, Balcunnin, Skerries, Co Dublin   
Phone:   086 8435744   01 8431599