From changing your light bulbs to installing insulation, the steps you can take to reduce your bills
As the country faces into the winter months, many people will be struggling to heat their homes while keeping up with increased costs.
Improving the Building Energy Rating (BER) of your home can make it warmer, reduce energy costs, reduce your environmental impact and even increase the resale value of your property.
According to the latest Irish Independent/Real Estate Alliance (REA) Average House Price Index, homes with the highest A and B energy ratings, are now selling for 12pc more than lower-ranked properties around the country.
So, with this in mind, here are seven ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home this winter.
For many people, this is the obvious first step to improving your home’s energy rating.
Improving the insulation in your attic and walls will keep valuable heat in your home. This is sometimes referred to as a 'fabric first' approach.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) says that without insulation up to 30pc of the heat in your home escapes through the walls and another 30pc through the roof.
Though insulation can be costly, it can add value to your home and reduce the cost of future heating bills.
The SEAI recommends aiming for a B2 rating as this will give you the most energy savings for the money you invest.
Older windows with inefficient glazing can end up letting large amounts of warm air escape from your home.
Householders can use draught stripping to seal old windows to improve this or replace the windows with newer, better-rated ones.
Replacing windows will have a significant effect on your heating bills.
Draught-proofing, fitted to windows, doors and loft or attic hatches, improves airtightness and thermal comfort, reduces heat loss, improves noise insulation and reduces dust ingress.
People can also reduce draughts in their home by replacing old vents to encourage better airflow and by installing a chimney balloon for when the fireplace is not in use.
Once the insulation is in place you should replace any old, inefficient boilers with a heat pump that uses renewable energy.
According to the SEAI, a dwelling should have low heat loss to ensure the heat pump works efficiently.
Households should have their boiler serviced once a year at a minimum. Having your boiler serviced will improve its lifespan and efficiency, keeping your home warm and could also bring the cost of your heating bills down.
Adding a cylinder jacket to your water heating system will keep your water warmer for longer, saving you money on home energy bills.
When your home is fully insulated and you have high-efficiency heating you can install rooftop solar panels. These can heat hot water or generate electricity and can also help to improve your home’s BER rating.
Having a renewable energy system in place will add value to your home and will save you money on energy bills in the long term too.
Replacing all the light bulbs in your home with low-energy LED bulbs can save energy and help to reduce the cost of bills.
Switch to efficient electric lighting to maximise the use of natural daylight.
Setting your thermostat a degree lower can equate to almost 10pc of energy savings, according to the SEAI.
Installing a smart thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature can save even more and improve your BER rating.
With some changes and adjustments to your home you can improve your BER rating and reduce the cost of your energy bills.
It is also important to use the timer on heating controls so that you’re not heating an empty space.
Set your heating to times, such as morning and evening, when you are in the house.