In the average home there are a number of factors that contribute towards energy efficiency; improving it is about more than having the newest boiler or the most expensive eco-kettle. By making a few improvements to your home you could greatly increase its energy efficiency. The best part is that these improvements can wind up paying for themselves as a result of the money you’ll save on your energy bills!
Saving money is important, but scrimping on price when it comes to hiring tradesmen is guaranteed to end up costing you down the line. Luckily, finding the highest quality tradesmen at competitive prices is easy through Plentific. The Plentific website can quickly generate a list of the best potential hires in your local area, each with a Plentific profile where you can easily compare their qualifications, experience and customer reviews. The Plentific Guarantee will also become available if you choose a ‘verified’ Plentific Pro. This guarantee can cover your entire project from start to finish, ensuring a great end result. Whatever your project, Plentific is ready to help you find your ideal hire.
To improve the energy efficiency in your home, the first thing you will need to check is your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). These are valid for 10 years, and will let you know how energy efficient your home is on a scale of A to G, with ‘A’ being best. It will also provide detailed justifications for the rating it gives you. This information is invaluable, as there are many different possible reasons for a low EPC rating, and you don’t want to end up spending money in the wrong place! If your home’s current EPC is particularly old, you may want to pay for a new one early. A lot may have changed in your property during that time, and the existing rating could no longer be accurate. If your property already has an EPC rating of ‘A’, there is very little you can do to improve your home’s energy efficiency any further. Instead, start thinking about energy efficient products, such as eco-kettles, and practices, such as recycling or collecting rain water.
I cannot stress this enough: if you start making changes to your home without first checking your EPC, you will almost certainly waste money.
Your boiler will use more energy than all the other appliances in your home combined, and inefficient boilers can add hundreds to your bills every year. Luckily, boilers also come with energy efficiency ratings. However, simply buying the most top end boiler you can find might not be a solution. The best model for your property will depend on its size, the amount of water you use, how much you heat your home, and so on. If your EPC labels your boiler as a reason for a lack of energy efficiency, start looking for a qualified gas safety engineer. Talking about what’s best for your property is a good way to test how much they really know. Remember, to fit a boiler an engineer must be on the Gas Safe Register. This means that they have passed a mandatory screening process that ensures they follow all necessary rules and regulations.
The next thing to think about is insulation. A quarter of the heat in an uninsulated house is lost through the roof, so start by addressing your attic, followed by your wall cavities. Insulation will help keep your rooms toasty and warm. Poor quality or loose windows are another big cause of heat loss, not to mention an open invitation for burglars. Double glazing or vinyl fitted windows are much more secure, and will lose much less heat. Thick curtains are a must have too. If there are any doors in your home that let in drafts, you can add stick-on insulation down the sides.
It is worth thinking about what you can add to your house as well as what you can do to improve it. Solar panels are becoming much more popular in the UK, and you can even get help to pay for them through a government energy saving scheme (though if you pay for the everything yourself, you can also sell any excess power that the panels generate!) There are also appliances you can buy, such as eco kettles or smart thermometers, which can adjust the temperature in your house automatically, and can even be worked remotely. Saving water is also important for energy efficiency, so consider investing in water saving appliances such as specialty shower heads.
The cost of improving your home for increased energy efficiency will depend on what measures you need to take. I cannot stress this enough: if you start making changes to your home without first checking your EPC, you will almost certainly waste money. Read over your EPC carefully and address issues that it mentions specifically. Getting a new EPC can cost between £50 and £120 depending on the size of your house, where you live in the UK and what company you ask, so check around and get multiple quotes to ensure a competitive price.
The cost of having a new boiler installed will depend on the make and model, as well as whether or not any additional changes will need to be made to your property to accommodate them. Certain plumbing systems do not suit certain boiler types! Insulating an attic usually costs between £200 and £500, again depending on the specifics of the property, while double glazed windows usually cost upwards of £200 depending on the window type. One thing you should be thinking about while adding up the potential costs of improving your home’s energy efficiency is what you will save. Within a few years, most of these improvements will pay for themselves!
What tradesmen you need will depend on the improvements you are making to your home. For a new boiler, you will need a certified gas and heating engineer. Remember, these tradesmen need to be on the Gas Safe Register to work legally. Look for an insulation specialist with several years of experience, as no qualifications are technically required for that kind of work. New windows can be fitted by an experienced glazier. Again, check their experience, and make sure they have worked on projects similar to yours.
When talking to your potential hires, be sure to let them know that you are interested in improving your home’s energy efficiency. Any that can offer advice and ideas are definitely worth considering for your project. Look over customer reviews when considering your hires; are they known for professionalism and quality? Do they have a lot of satisfied clients from past jobs?
There are several national organisations that fit, repair and supply boilers. They often have higher overheads and as a result their prices tend to be much higher than those of local companies. When it comes to these companies, do not be swayed by their size. Their engineers will be no better than those found elsewhere. As long as you do the appropriate checks for qualifications and experience your final hire should suit you perfectly, regardless of the size of the company.Whichever tradesmen you hire to help improve your home’s energy efficiency will need appropriate insurance cover. Any tradesmen you hire should have active Public Liability Insurance. They should also be able to offer a guarantee in case you are unsatisfied with their work. Remember to get everything including the details of the job, the scheduled completion date and any guarantees in writing before hiring.
Looking for a Boiler Engineer? Post your job with Plentific and start receiving quotes today!