7 top home improvements to warm up your home

Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust’s expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.

We recommend getting at least three quotes from different reputable installers before carrying out any improvements.

1. Draught proof your home

Draught proofing windows image

Energy Saving Trust research has found that 46% of people still need to draught-proof their windows and doors.

Cost: A good DIY draught-proofing job could costs between £85 and £275 for materials and professional installation for your whole house.

Saving: Draught-proofing windows and doors can make your home a more comfortable place to live and could save you £20 a year on heating bills.

2. Insulate your pipes

Insulating your hot water pipes is a quick and easy way to save energy. As well as reducing heat loss from your system, pipe lagging will also prevent pipes from getting too cold in winter, and therefore prevents pipes bursting.

Pipe insulation is an easy DIY install – you can buy foam insulation tubes online or from a DIY store and slip them over your pipes. In a typical 3-bed semi-detached house, materials will cost around £20, and you will save around £3 a year on your energy bills, as well as reducing the possibility of expensive repair bills from burst pipes.

3. Upgrade heating controls

Smart thermostat image

Room thermostats allow households to set and maintain the temperature at home. A programmer sets the heating to turn on and off at certain times of the day to suit your lifestyle. Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) let householders control the temperature of each radiator.

Cost: Costs can vary significantly due to the variety of heating systems types and sizes and controls available. We recommended comparing quotes from professional installers.

Saving: Installing and using a full set of heating controls means that you can be warm exactly when and where you want in your home. You could also save around £80 a year if you currently don’t have any of these heating controls.

4. Get a new boiler

Modern boilers are more efficient than older models. If your boiler is more than 10 years old it will be far less efficient than a newer model, consider replacing it with a more efficient condensing boiler.

Costs and savings vary depending on your current boiler’s efficiency, fuel type and your house type but fuel bill savings can be significant.

5. Top-up your hot water cylinder insulation

Nearly all UK hot water cylinders have some insulation, however those with a hot water tank jacket under 25mm thick could benefit from top-up insulation.

Cost: A hot water cylinder jacket costs around £16.

Saving: Topping up your hot water cylinder insulation from 25mm to a 80mm jacket could save around £20 a year.

6. Top-up your loft insulation

The majority of homes have some loft insulation but many don’t have enough. The recommended depth is 270mm.

Cost: Topping up your loft insulation from 120mm to 270mm could cost around £240.

Saving: Topping up your loft insulation from 120mm to 270mm will help stop warmth escaping through the roof and could save around £12 a year.

7. Insulate your walls

Although wall insulation is a bigger investment, and costs vary, it can keep your home warm and cosy and result in a large saving.

Most homes built after 1920 have cavity walls. If your home’s cavity walls are uninsulated, adding cavity wall insulation could save up to £150 a year off your energy bills (based on a typical 3-bedroom semi-detached house).

Most homes built before 1920 have solid walls. Solid wall insulation can save around £260 a year off your energy bills (based on a typical 3-bedroom semi-detached house).

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