With utility costs ever-increasing, cutting down on how much gas you use to heat your home is a simple way of reducing bills. But how do you do this without compromising on comfort? Tackling heat loss can be a solution. One-third of all heat loss in your home could be due to poor wall insulation, but this doesn’t have to be the case.
Cavity wall insulation could be an effective way to reduce heat loss and cut costs long-term. It essentially involves filling walls with polystyrene, mineral wool or foam in order to stop excess heat from escaping. It can be done to properties with brick walls that have gaps between them – which applies to most homes built in the last century.
The process takes roughly two hours and is relatively easy with very little mess – you might just have to patch up a bit of paintwork afterward.
In a typical semi-detached home, the cost is roughly £475 for installation, with yearly annual energy savings estimated at £145 – meaning that in just over three years you investment will have paid off.
If your boiler is more than 15 years old, then it may be time to replace it. While many of us hate the thought of paying for a new one, the cost-saving with a more energy-efficient alternative can be worthwhile in the long-term.
Gas combi boilers are the most popular option as they offer central heating and heat your water. They’re also a good option if you have a smaller home, as you don’t need to make space for a hot water cylinder. There are a number of different options through including oil combi boilers – a heating expert will be able to advise you on what may be best for your property and lifestyle.
The cost of a new combi boiler with installation can vary from £1,600-£3,500. If you opt for an A-rated energy efficiency option then it is estimated that most homeowners could save £340 a year on their bills – according to the Energy Saving Trust. With this in mind, you may expect see return on investment within five years.
There has been a lot of talk about the benefits of solar panels in recent years and those living in the right areas may reap long-term financial rewards.
There are two types of solar panels available – photovoltaic (known as PV) which catch the sun’s energy and turn it into electricity for appliances etc., and solar thermal which helps heat up water in order to reduce your heating bills.
It’s important to note that you would need a south-facing roof to get the most benefit from any solar panels, and those living further down south can also typically generate more energy.
In terms of return on investment over time, PV panels are understood to offer the biggest long-term cost-saving benefits.
The typical cost of PV solar panels is about £6,200 – including installation – and the Energy Saving Trust estimates electricity-bill savings of £85-£220 per year, so for most homeowners, it is going to take 25+ years to get your money back via cost-savings alone. However, if you live in a big property and/or you also have outbuilding or a business onsite, then this can be better.
The government also launched its new Smart Expert Guarantee on 1 January 2020, which replaced the Feed-in Tariff. This essentially enables homeowners with solar panels to make money by exporting their excess energy to the national grid. A 4kWp solar panel system could make you around £340 per year.
When combining the new Smart Expert Guarantee benefits with bill-savings, we start to knock down the time you may expect to see a return on investment from around 25 years to closer to 10 years.
There have also been suggestions that having solar panels can make your property more appealing to buyers, and even increase its value by around 4%.
Finally, double glazing is the last on our list of five home improvements that can pay off in the long-term. This is something that a lot of people are familiar with, and yet 7% of UK homes still don’t have double glazing.
Just like walls, a lot of heat can be lost via windows – 18% on average. Replacing glazing can be expensive if you have a lot of windows or a big home, but the cost-savings do add up.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that replacing all single-glazed windows for A-rated double-glazing in a semi-detached home could reduce gas-heating costs by £80-£110 per year.
When comparing with the cost of installation – estimated at £4,900-£7,600 – for a semi-detached home with 12 windows, homeowners may expect to see a return on investment in 4-5 years on average.