With energy saving becoming vital both for our pockets and to slow global warming, Ambleside Action for a Future (AAFAF) can help you save energy and money in your home.
Have a look at our suggestions below to see if they give you any ideas. Then if you would like to discuss anything with us send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get back to you for a chat over the phone and once Covid-19 restrictions allow we could follow this up with a visit if you wish.
From January 2021 we expect to be able to offer a thermal survey of houses using an infrared camera. A simple survey from outside can provide an indication of major losses; a more detailed survey done inside your home can pinpoint more precisely where heat is being lost.
Have a look for problems on the outside:
Maintenance is very important
Damp penetration from the outside can be a source of heat loss and could eventually create a serious and expensive problem. Check from the safety of the ground using a pair of binoculars if you have them.
l Check gutters, hoppers and downpipes are all working well - best done on a wet day to see if there is water overflowing or leaking out.
l Check roofs for broken or slipped slates or tiles. Check vulnerable areas around chimney stacks and ridge lines. Lead flashing and soakers are hard to check from the ground but if these have moved or come away from the wall water might be getting in.
l Ensure drains and gullies at ground level are clear and debris is not likely to get washed into them. For solid wall houses in particular check that there hasn't been a build-up of earth against the base of external walls preventing moisture from evaporating.
Simple and relatively cheap actions inside
You may be able to get these done for free if you are on low income or pension benefits. Even if you have to pay these are likely to save you money in the first year or so.
Draught-proofing around doors, letter boxes, skirting board
Stopping up chimneys that are rarely or never used – cheapest method is a “Chimney Sheep” made from Herdwick wool. It costs about £30, is easy to fit and will save the cost in heat lost up the chimney in its first year
Change old style light bulbs to LEDs
Make sure that your thermostats and radiator valves are set effectively
Check the insulation in your loft and look around for evidence of roof leaks
Do you have an efficient insulation jacket on your hot water tank?
If you have a thermostat and it will not risk your health, turn it down a notch and put on an extra jumper
Put up blinds or thick curtains on windows and curtains over doors
Fit a draught excluder round your loft hatch and a layer of insulation on the hatch
Install loft insulation if you have none or consider adding more if you have only a thin layer up to the joists.
More expensive but very cost-effective actions
These actions can be expected to save money over a few years
Don’t heat rooms while you are not using them.
If there are parts of the house you use for only part of the day it may be worth fitting a smart room thermostat and smart radiator valves.
(Cost about £500)
Add secondary double glazing to any single glazed windows. This is a very cost effective way of reducing heat loss and has much less embodied carbon, than new double glazed units.
Even more expensive actions
(some for consideration when you are carrying out other work)
Use thicker underlay, or boarding over old floorboards with a thin sheet of plywood to stop draught coming up through the gaps
Add cavity wall insulation (or check it if you believe it was filled in the past – it may have slumped and be ineffective)
Confirm that it is a suitable measure for your house
For houses with solid walls add internal or external insulation – get expert advice as walls must be able to breathe
Install solar panels, possibly including battery storage
Replace single glazing with double glazing.
(Very poor value for money and has high embedded carbon)
Secondary glazing may be a better option if windows are in good repair.
Install an air- or ground-source heat pump (but only after you have taken most of the other measures above to achieve a high level of insulation)
Key for right hand column
1 These can be carried out by many householders without help; those with a * can be carried out under the CAfS Cold to Cosy scheme for free if you are on low income. If you are not eligible you can still pay for help. AAFAF advisors may be able to help with this to get you started.
2 Get expert help or advice (AAFAF or CAfS may be able to help you with this)
3 Get expert advice and consider applying for Government’s Green Homes Grant. Some of these items may require planning permission.