With the summer in full swing I always find it is the ideal time to start preparing your home for the Winter months especially as this type of work often requires some more structural type work. I have set out below some tips which might be worth considering this Summer to ensure your home is operating efficiently.
Tech all the way
I am a little obsessed with the movement towards smart living. We both work full time, have two young kids and love to travel so we can be gone from the house for long periods of time. In an increasingly tech focused world the possibilities are almost limitless, control your heating, hot water, sockets even smoke detectors all remotely. Receive instantaneous updates about things happening in your home and perhaps you are the other side of the world. Its not just convenience though, its also improving energy efficiency with smart boilers and heating controls too. Certas Energy have produced a really useful infograhpic that goes through a huge range of the smart home possibilities that are currently available giving you the benefits and a indicative price. In terms of out own house, we have a Google home device, smart Plugs, smart Thermostat and smart security system which can all be controlled by our phones and even better from anywhere in the world if needs be. I remember last year in the depths of winter coming back from our epic trip to Lapland it was so cold, so wet and so dark. We landed at the airport, I popped the lights at home on, the heat and hot water on and it was just so lovely to come home to. Next on the list we are looking at installing the heating oil monitor and the smart doorbell. If you haven’t yet tried any of these it it is well worth researching with lots of helpful hints in the graphic below.
Insulation and drafts
All the smart gadgets in the world wont be a home that has some critical structural issues more efficient therefore it is important to get that basics right too. One of the most important aspects of keeping your home warm is making sure it’s well insulated. You could be pumping heat into your rooms all day, but if it’s escaping through your old windows and through cracks in the doors, you’ll still struggle to keep warm. If you don’t already have loft insulation, or what you have is getting on a bit, you should arrange for new insulation to be installed to stop warm air escaping through the roof. Windows and doors are the next most likely culprits when it comes to poor insulation. If your home has old windows or doors that don’t fit properly, and you haven’t got double glazed units, it’s worth looking at getting them replaced. If you have an older home, you needn’t worry about having to put UPVC frames in, because companies like Timber Windows Direct can make bespoke double-glazed wooden windows to fit any age or period home.
Heating and hot water
If you’re using gas or oil, how old is your boiler? Do you have it serviced regularly and have you taken out an insurance policy to cover you for emergency repairs if it goes wrong? Boilers are one of those things that tend to get ignored when they’re working but can cause havoc if they break down. If you don’t have a modern condensing boiler, chances are you’re spending more than you need to on oil or gas, as older boilers aren’t as energy efficient as newer models. Installing a new boiler isn’t cheap, but if you consider the cost savings you’re likely to make, plus the reassurance that you’re less likely to have problems with a new boiler, then installing a new one could be a wise move. Having a service schedule in place will ensure your boiler is professionally maintained, and your engineer will be able to advise you when you should consider replacing it. Insurance against breakdown will give you further peace of mind, and help avoid expensive repair bills.
A combination of minor structural updates combined with smart living is bound to increase energy and overall efficiency in your home. I can attest to the benefits of taking time to do this.