When oil-fueled central heating was young, saving on the home heating bill was effected by shutting the heating off and coping with the cold. And after the oil price began barreling up in the early 1970s, it’s been an uphill struggle.
Expensive oil is still a concern for most parts of the world, and another vital concern has been added, that of protecting the environment. This is why the new recipe for saving money on heating incorporates a strong drive to go green, together with technological and common sense tricks.
Go Green, Go Solar:
The number one solution for going green and saving on your heating bill is installing solar heating panels in your home. What’s more, you’ll be able to actually earn money off the surplus energy you’ll produce, another powerful reason to consider such an investment.
Where is it feasible to install a solar energy system? Anywhere flat, with good exposure to sunlight and sunny weather generally. The top of any residential building is the standard solution. The roof needs to be solid, to take the weight of the system, and it needs to have the proper orientation. East and South-East are obviously the best, North the worst.
Solar energy is cheap, green and there are incentives to use it, though “cheap” must be qualified. To install a single-home solar panel system in an average house in the UK costs between £ 7.000 and £ 10.000. But household energy bills, if the system works properly – and most of them do these days – can be reduced up to 40%! A house where the energy bill (electricity plus hot running and heating water) is around £ 1000 a year on national grid, can save up to £ 400 pounds a year by going solar. Including government incentives that reduce the initial cost, the investment will be amortized in 10 to 15 years. In the meantime, you save on heating bills, create more liquidity and do substantial good to the planet.
Solution number two is making sure your home is properly insulated. In cold-climate regions this is standard practice but the financial and ecological arguments make it a must in other climes too. A building’s thermal envelope comprises its walls, windows and glassed surfaces, doors and any other opening. The more thermally efficient the envelope, the more it reduces convective heat transfer, the better off you are. If you’re not building a new home, you can still use a variety of materials to insulate attics, thin walls and any other non-thermal barrier by using cellulose, glass wool, rock wool or even plant fibre (flax, cotton etc) or earth. One of the least heat-conducting substances is actually air. This is why air trapped in a variety of plastic substances makes such good insulation, as in down quilts or jackets for example. Down door- and window-liners are a simple but very effective way of stopping heat transfer.
The Classic Fireplace:
Solution number three is old fashioned but very effective: use a fireplace, if you have one. And if you don’t, think about re-vamping the walled-in ones which are often to be found in older homes. Provided you can properly insulate the chimney vent when not in use, a log fire can quickly add from 1,5° to 2,5° Celsius to a medium-sized room. If you use embers smartly (like covering them up with ash when more heat is not needed), the warmth will hold for a long time and be very pleasant too. And wood log comes at a fraction of heating oil costs.
Use A Thermostat:
Finally, if you have central heating, use modern technology to help you obtain the right temperature for the most efficient amount of time. Even if your heating system is dated, you can install an electronic thermostat/timer that you can set for the temperature you want, when you want it. You can reduce temperature at night and use the timer to make it turn on early in the morning. If you don’t want to spend money on such a device, you can spend less by fitting thermal valves on your old radiators: you’ll be able to regulate the temperature, though not the timing of it, in any room, and save precious money on your heating bills.