Living in an older property can be a great decision for you and your family. They are unique and full of character that you just don’t get in a lot of modern housing designs. But one thing they are not is energy efficient. Whereas efficiency is built into the very design of a new house, it’s not so with older ones. Yes, old properties can be big, drafty, and expensive to run. So they aren’t great for your budget or the environment. While they might not be built with the latest energy-efficient materials, there are things that you can do to make your old property more energy efficient.
Insulate walls and roof spaces
It is estimated that as much as 25% of your property’s heat escaped through a roof space that doesn’t have insulation. Add to this the amount escaping through uninsulated solid walls, and that’s a lot of energy and money escaping your home. Attic insulation is very cost-effective and can be done relatively easily. The material used is often a kind of wool or other recycled material. It also provides a good amount of sound insulation and has to have a certain level of fire resistance too.
When it comes to insulating walls, there are options depending on the construction of your property. You could have cavity wall foam sprayed into wall spaces or specialist drywall with built-in insulation placed over the top of the existing wall.
Replace windows and doors
This is another common area to lose heat. Old, ill-fitting frames and single-pane windows are common culprits. Look at home window replacement to get the latest, energy-efficient materials that will prevent heat loss and provide soundproofing too. If you’re worried about the look of your period property and newer glazing units, don’t. There are plenty of companies that provide styles that fit in with older buildings without ruining the aesthetic. New windows and doors will also add to the value of your home should you come to sell it as it is one less job for the buyers need to do.
Seal floorboard gaps
Original floorboards in the property look amazing, but the gap between each one lets out heat and cold in. There are special, lead look tapes that you can use between the floorboards, which won’t ruin the look of the room, and laying down large areas rugs can not only improve the interior design but prevent drafts too.
Upgrade your heating system
If your property’s boiler hasn’t been upgraded in a while, then it’s probably not working very efficiently. Consider replacing it with a condenser model which could save you hundreds of dollars every year. You’ll soon recoup the cost of the boiler with the savings. Have your boiler serviced annually to make sure it is safe, running efficiently, and identify any problems.
Another way to make your heating system even more efficient is to install a new smart thermostat. These allow you to control your heating precisely so that you are not wasting energy heating an already warm house, areas you don’t, or when you’re not home.
Bleed your radiators
Air can build up in radiators, causing them to give out less heat. This means you end up putting your heating on for longer just to get the house to the temperature you want. Luckily there is an easy fix for this. Turn your central heating on for half an hour and then check each radiator. If they are colder at the top than the bottom, where there is likely to be air in them. You can then turn them off and bleed them with a special key that allows trapped air to escape.
If they aren’t getting warm at all or the bottom is colder than the top, you might have a build-up of sludge in them that needs to be looked at by a professional.
Invest in low energy LED lighting
LED bulbs are much more energy-efficient than other types, and can last for up to 30,000 hours. You can find LED-style lights and lamps in many styles, so you will be able to complement the interior style of your property.
If you want to make extra savings on your lighting, why not switch to smart lighting that can be controlled by your phone or a smart speaker. Not only are the bulbs energy efficient, but you can turn them on and off from anywhere.
Shop around for energy suppliers
How sure are you that you’re getting the best deal for your energy? Most companies lure you in with special offers for a limited period and then bank on you forgetting to change to another, better deal. Shop around to see if you can make significant savings on your monthly energy bills.
Adopt renewable energy
There are a lot of ways to move to renewable energy to power your home. For example, you could get solar panels fitted to the roof which would drastically reduce your costs. You could even sell excess energy back to the supplier.
Buy energy-efficient appliances
Most homes have a number of different appliances in them. From your washing machine to your TV, they all use electricity in some form. Older models can use a lot more energy than newer models, which over the course of their life can cost you a lot of extra money. If you have a large family, your washer and dryer are probably on every day so you’ll want to have the most efficient model you can afford. When smaller items need replacing, don’t just but the first thing you find, look at the energy efficiency stats on the product before buying it.
Adopting energy-efficient habits
Once you have made your home as energy-efficient as possible, then the next step is to learn how you can save energy in your everyday activities.
Don’t leave appliances turned on
We’ve gotten into the habit of leaving everything on standby. Each item that isn’t switched off properly uses a small amount of electricity. Add this up over the course of the year and you could be spending a lot of extra money. Get into the habit of switching things off or invest in smart plugs so that you can do it remotely without having to reach down behind furniture.
Turn down your thermostat
Reducing your thermostat by even one degree can know up to 6% off your annual heating bill. You probably won’t even notice it either. Try and avoid placing electrical items near thermostats as they can give false readings and cause higher air-con bills.
Wash full loads of clothes and dishes
When doing your laundry, make sure that you’re washing full loads to save on water and electricity. Even if your machine has a specialist setting for half loads, it is still using energy that could be better used on more clothes. The same goes for your dishwasher. Don’t turn it on until it’s full and you can get the best use out of it. Also, wash your clothes at the lowest temperature you can to get them clean. There are many detergents out there that work at lower temperatures.
Buy a water-saving showerhead
We all know that showers are more water-efficient than baths, but there are ways that you can make your shower even more energy-efficient too. There are showerheads that are designed to use much less water with no loss of pressure, so you can still enjoy a powerful shower.
Don’t open the oven when cooking
Constantly opening the oven when cooking not only lets the heat escape but can also ruin your food. By letting out the heat, the oven can’t maintain its temperature and the food may cook unevenly.
Have your air conditioning serviced
Air-con uses a lot of energy, so you want to make sure you’re not using more than you need to. Have your unit services once a year to keep it working well. Clean the filters out as often as necessary.
Keep your refrigerator full
Refrigerators are designed to work best when they are full. Try and keep a good amount of items in there. If you don’t have a lot of food in there, have some water bottles had to fill the spaces. Don’t overfill it though as it will affect how the air circulates around the food and could cause the temperature inside to become inconsistent and spoil the food. Also, keep your freezer running smoothly by defrosting it regularly and not letting too much ice build-up.
Old properties have a lot of plus points that make them an attractive option but energy efficiency isn’t one of them. Many people are starting to realize that their use of energy and water is having a detrimental effect on the environment, so have started to reduce their usage. The costs of paying for energy you don’t need to use are senseless too.
You need to tackle the problem in a number of ways. First, you have to make your property as energy efficient as you can by using modern materials. After the foundation is taken care of, how we use energy every day needs to be looked at too so that we’re not wasting it and getting the best value for money.