Whether at home, in the UK or abroad, holiday homes can be a financial burden, yet many people forget to make sure their homes don’t cost them more than they should do. We all know that holidaymakers won’t be worrying about the electricity bills when they come to stay so taking the time to find out how to save energy is well worth it. The following tips should help you energy-proof your holiday home.
1. Buy new light bulbs
Light bulbs are a common culprit when it comes to wasting electricity and, despite growing awareness of “green” issues, many people still forget to turn the light off when they leave a room.
Like it or not, thanks to EU laws, we are being helped in our mission to bring down the bills. September 2012’s ban on the sale of incandescent light bulbs in favour of LED alternatives will reduce the amount of energy Europe uses on lighting. LED produces less heat energy, operating at around 80-90 per cent efficiency as opposed to traditional bulbs which heat up to work at just 20 per cent efficiency.
It is estimated that you can cut your energy costs by around £60 per year just by changing your light bulbs. Despite this saving, their higher upfront cost is much criticised. So what are the benefits of LED, other than energy efficiency?
- Longer life – For holiday home owners this is important as they can’t always be there to change light bulbs, neither can they rely on others to go in and replace them. LED lights last approximately 11 years; that is, if left on continuously.
- Eco-friendly – LED bulbs are made of non toxic materials and are usually recyclable.
- Hot and cold resistance – LED lights will perform better than traditional light bulbs in both hot and cold conditions.
2. Use mobile technology for remote control
Wherever you are, you can now take control of the heating in your home using a handy mobile app, like those offered by PassivLiving. This normally means buying a device to install on your existing heating system to allow you to control it remotely from your mobile. Although this involves an initial investment, the energy costs it saves along with its eco-efficiency mean significant all-round savings.
Google’s Nest heating control system has hit the UK market, whilst other big names include Hive Active Heating (owned by British Gas) and Tado (German market leaders) are all now readily available to holiday homeowners. Thanks to this competition, pricing will remain competitive, meaning you can make real savings in the long term if you adopt the technology.
3. Turn down your thermostat
Even if you turn it down by just 1 degree centigrade, your heating bills could be reduced by as much as £75 per year. What’s more, if you have already turned down your thermostat, don’t forget to turn down the radiators in rarely used rooms and programme your heating system to turn off more often when there is no one there.
Bear in mind that while electric heating is the most efficient, it is often the most costly, despite turning down the thermostat. Depending on where your holiday home is located, you might wish to consider an alternative source of heating such as professionally installed gas or propane.
4. Reduce drafts
Stopping heat from escaping under the door, between the windowpanes, up the chimney, through the floorboards or keyholes, or up the loft hatch is a battle many holiday homeowners face when trying to keep warm on their winter holidays.
- Doors and windows – Use draft proofing strips around door and window frames as well as brush strips or hinged flap draft excluders on doors.
- Chimneys – If you don’t use your chimney, fit an inflatable cushion to block it or put a cap over the top of the chimney.
- Floorboards – Fill in the gaps with purpose built filler.
- The loft – As well as insulating the loft efficiently, draft proofing strips will help prevent heat rising through the cracks.
5. Avoid air conditioning
Air conditioning might be a god-send in the searing summer sun, but bear in mind the electricity it consumes: it takes three times more energy per degree to cool a room than to heat it. If you are using air conditioning, remember to keep the coolness in by closing the shutters, windows and doors and use thermostatic control to avoid overcooling.
These tips are non-advisery and are merely meant as a general guide. For professional advice, please consult energy saving specialists. For holiday home insurance, get in touch.