We’re about to enter the season of cosy jumpers, hot chocolate and (dare we say it) Christmas shopping! We’ve got some top tips for keeping your home cosy without spending a fortune on heating bills, whether you’re looking for a quick fix or thinking longer term.
Keep out the cold
There’s nothing worse than walking past a window and feeling a chilly breeze. Quick fixes like sticking foam strips around your window frames, putting a brush in your letterbox and covering your keyhole can make a difference without costing much money. In fact, you could save around £25 a year by draught proofing your windows and doors. Draught-free homes are comfortable at lower temperatures, so you might be able to turn down your thermostat and save even more on your bills.
Be smart with your system
Coming in from the cold and cranking the heating up might seem like an obvious thing to do, but it won’t heat your home any quicker. Set a timer so the heating comes on before you wake up or arrive home and goes off before you go to bed or leave the house. This will stop you wasting money by heating your home when you don’t need it, but makes sure it’s warm when you do.
Did you know a quarter of your home’s heat could be escaping through the roof? If you don’t have any insulation, putting the recommended 270mm into your loft could save you £135 a year. And as loft insulation is effective for at least 40 years, it’ll soon pay for itself.
Insulating your walls can also save you money. Homes built before the 1930s are more likely to have solid walls, which generally lose heat at twice the rate of cavity walls. For a semi-detached house, insulating solid walls could cut your bills by £255 a year, while insulating cavity walls could save you £150 a year.
If installation costs are putting you off, the Scottish Government’s interest-free Home Energy Scotland loan could help. You could borrow up to £1,000 for loft insulation or £10,000 for internal or external wall insulation. At the moment, you’ll get up to 25% of this as a grant which you don’t have to pay back – so if you’re looking at solid wall insulation, that’s a healthy contribution of up to £2,500.
Switch to a greener heat
If your heating system needs an overhaul, now might be a good time to consider a greener option. As well as being better for the environment, technology like biomass boilers or heat pumps can cut your bills and you could be paid for the heat you generate through the UK Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive. In a detached four bedroom house you could earn between £1,190 and £1,855 a year for installing a biomass boiler (on top of your bill savings) or between £2,380 and £2,585 a year if you get a ground source heat pump – certainly worth thinking about.
Plus, the Home Energy Scotland loan is also available for renewable technology. There’s no grant element for this, but you could still borrow up to £10,000 interest-free to cover installation costs for a biomass boiler or heat pump.
As you’d expect when taking out a loan, terms and conditions apply, including a small admin fee. Like all responsible lenders, Energy Saving Trust (which administers the loan) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
Want to know more? Home Energy Scotland is here to help
Home Energy Scotland is the free advice service funded by the Scottish Government to help you save energy at home. Whether you’re thinking about insulating your home, need more information about funding and incentives, or just want some simple tips to cut your energy use, our specialist advisors will be happy to help. Call free on 0808 808 2282 or visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-energy-scotland.