If you are considering getting solar panels installed there are a few things that you should consider before you do so. Whilst you should be congratulated for wanting to go green by either buying or taking up one of the offers by UK firms to get free solar panels there are more cost effective things you can do first.
One of the easiest things to do is to turn your thermostat down. Just by turning your thermostat down by a degree you can save about £50 a year on your gas bill. If you find that your hot water is too hot you should be able to turn down the heating for your hot water separately on most modern gas boilers. It costs exponentially more to heat water. As you crank up the heat exponentially more gas is used to heat your water.
Energy saving light bulbs are an easy way to save a significant amount on your electricity bill. These types of compact fluorescent lighting are much more advanced than they used to be. The older types used to take ages to get fully bright but the new ones do so as fast as the old type incandescent bulbs. The cost of these bulbs have dropped considerably too. For rooms you use most often invest in daylight energy savers, they produce the same full spectrum as sunlight and so reduce eyestrain.
Leaving chargers plugged in and electrical appliances on standby uses electricity. You probably have enough things on right now that you are not using to power the equivalent of an old style light bulb. That's about 60 to 100 watts, multiply that by 24 hours a day throughout the whole year and it soon adds up.
Don't boil more water than you need. After a few practices you can figure out how much you need to fill the kettle to make a cup of tea. Kettles use a lot of electricity, when you switch on a kettle it is the equivalent of switching on all the lights in your house.
Invest in a dial thermometer so you can place it in the room you are in. It can sometimes feel warmer of colder than it actually is. With a thermometer you can tell easy how hot or cold it is. Room temperature is between 19 and 21 degrees centigrade and should be warm enough to feel OK when sitting still. A thermometer is also a great way to identify cold spots. Try placing it near doors and windows to identify draughts and cold spots. This will indicate where you should either get thicker curtains or install draught excluders.
Now for the bigger stuff. If you haven't already done so consider insulating your home. Loft insulation and cavity wall insulation are good ways to help keep the heat in. There are many grants available for both of these as the government is encouraging people to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint. If you are not using your loft space to store things then you can put an extra layer of insulation in.
If buying and installing yourself wait until your local DIY store has loft insulation on offer. It is recommended to install 270mm thickness of the standard type loft insulation. There are more advanced types of insulation that are thinner and have the same heat saving effect but are more expensive. Cavity wall insulation on the other hand will need to be done by a specialist as the insulation needs to be blown into the cavity of your walls.
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Installing solar panels to produce electricity could earn you up to £1,200 a year. These payments are tax free, index-linked and guaranteed for 25 years.
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