Extreme weather events and the public debate about global warming triggered an ever growing environmental sensibility including the wish to do one’s part in creating a sustainable planet. Additional external factors such as the economic crisis, rising energy prices caused by shrinking fossil resources led to a fuel saving trend in the home and on the road.
Citizens with limited disposable income, who are unable to install costly, renewable energy heating options such as solar energy systems or heat pumps need to opt for inexpensive alternatives to save fossil fuels and money. As a result, easy to implement tips are needed, which can change an energy bill positively and help preserving an intact ecosystem.
Choice of heating oil provider
Firstly, people should aim to buy their heating fuel – it does not matter if gas or oil – from the closest provider to keep delivery journeys short. For example, heating oil providers such as Web Oil Ltd. co-operate with local suppliers to save transportation costs and emissions.
Change your ways to heat
It seems simple, but not everyone is considering it: decreasing the periods the heater is running, or lowering the thermostat has a huge impact on the heating economy.
Above that, wearing appropriate clothing and slippers at home, using blankets or hot water bottles may allow turning down the thermostat a little. Thick and fluffy floor covering or carpets create a warmer and comforting home experience.
In addition, the home may not need any heating whilst being absent, or over the whole nocturnal period. Besides, heating just the most used rooms and closing internal doors is another step towards an economic heating behaviour. It must be ensured that all thermostats are working, or portable heaters are utilised accordingly.
Capturing sun energy does not necessarily need an expensive solar heating system. Instead, keeping the curtains open on sunny days traps the solar heat which is even recognisable on winter days. During cold and cloudy days, thick curtains can do their part to insulate the home better; so keep them closed at least at night time.
Make your Home Energy Efficient
The biggest heat-efficiency issues for homes are insufficient insulation and draughts – leaking windows and doors for instance. However, insufficient insulation also increases the heat gain in summer and thus makes a home less comfortable. Consequently, a sufficient sealant application is required to prevent heat loss and to decrease heating and cooling costs significantly.
If the landlord is not willing to install double glazed windows, there is still something tenants can do. For instance, the so called ‘storm windows’ are cheap and easy to install alternatives. The fitted Plexiglas piece is simply attached to the window with the help of corner joints and silicone caulk.
To whom the expenses of storm windows are still too high, an inconsiderable one-pound-investment into window sealing tape is a must. Its application is easy, quick and its return on investment incredibly high. Simple door snakes can do their part to prevent cold air streaming under the door and cooling down the house or flat. Where necessary, caulk needs to be applied to seal cracks and spaces between the window’s sash, sill and drywall, or at doorjambs. Having some familiarity with the caulking gun, the application is easy and not especially time consuming.
Here generally, 100 per cent waterproof silicone caulk solutions are recommended, as opposed to acrylic caulk, silicon is very flexible and shrink-proof which in turn prevents future cracks. Above that, one must decide if paintable or coloured caulking should be used to match the surrounded area at best.
As the highest amount of heat is getting lost through the roof, the landlords must be asked to put appropriate roof insulation in place. Unfortunately, home owners often do not consider the heat loss caused by a non-insulated attic access. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a 1/4-inch gap between attic access door and its frame leaks the same amount of air generally supplied by a standard bedroom heating duct.
How to assess air leaks
Whether or not a home is losing energy can be easily accessed by the tenant with the help of modest tests. The most preferred one is ‘the moist hand test’, as it is simple and even small leakages can be determined. Preferably at a cold, windy day one should go with a wet hand along the places where air leaks are suspected, such as at doors and windows. Wherever a draft can be felt, the home is losing energy.
However, if homeowners did everything possible within their power and they still believe that their home is abnormally cold, they may need to book an energy home assessment with a specialist. Some air leakages are much harder to detect and also weaknesses in the insulation may cause heat loss. Specialists are able to assess the energy efficiency of a house by accomplishing sophisticated tests such as the ‘blower door test’.
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