Archive | Energy Efficiency RSS feed for this section

Save Energy, save Money and save the Planet all at the same time?

28 Jun

How can you make your home more energy efficient and at the same time save on your energy bills?

There are many steps you can take to make your home more energy efficient from something as simple as turning off a light to installing replacement double glazing.

shutterstock_59095519 earth garden

Try out some of our tips and you will be saving energy, money on your energy bills and the planet itself. Here are some adjustments that can be made with little or no expense, several of which seem to involve turning things down!

 

shutterstock_13720372

  • ·Heating: Hopefully this should be a tip that will only be useful in the winter! Turn it down by one degree and over the next few days see if you feel warm enough. If you do try turning it down another degree and so on until you feel chilly then turn it back up one degree. This can be very beneficial as every degree lower your thermostat is set at could be a saving of around £65 a year on the energy bill. Well worth a try.
  • ·Hot water: The same method can be applied to the temperature of your hot water. How many of us find it so hot we have to add cold water? There is usually no need to have the temperature set higher than 140 degrees.
  • ·Washing machine: Most laundry can be washed at 30 degrees which not only uses less electricity to heat the water but usually means the wash cycle is shorter as well saving even more electricity. Here the power of the sun and wind can be very useful to dry the laundry if you can get it outside to dry.
  • ·Fridge/Freezer: Your fridge and freezer cannot be turned off but you should check what the thermostat is set at. If it has an energy saving setting make sure it is on that and if not check the manual for the most efficient setting.
  • ·Energy saving light bulbs: These are a good investment and have come down in price. They are now made in different sizes as well so they fit in more light fittings. You will soon get used to the slight delay when you switch the light on!

What else can you do? It is a good idea to only boil as much water as you need to make your cuppa! Although this may sound like a trivial change to make, over a year it will save a considerable amount of electricity. This applies to turning off appliances at the wall and lights off when you leave a room. The accumulated savings add up and will reduce your energy bill.

shutterstock_109238303

So, it is possible to make your home more energy efficient simply by turning down and turning off but what about making more significant changes?

  • ·Replacing your windows can make your home more energy efficient by reducing the amount of heat lost. A major source of heat loss in your home is through your windows. Double or triple glazed windows help to keep the cold out and the heat in. For more information on replacement windows please take a look at our website.
  • ·Insulation: Another way to help prevent heat loss is to add insulation to the walls and roof, a very efficient way of preventing heat escaping from the home. If the heat is kept in your home you will use less energy keeping it warm and so reduce your energy bills.
  • ·Solar panels: If your home is in a suitable location you may be able to add solar panels which can produce enough energy to support your home. What a great way to obtain energy, free from the sun! It maybe that there is surplus electricity produced that can be fed in to the national grid.
  • ·Eliminate draughty areas: Have you noticed a draughty corner in your home? This is bad news as cold air will be entering your home unchecked. You will feel chilly and turn the heating up. To avoid this scenario, locate where the draught is coming from and address the problem. You may be able to make the repairs yourself but if you are in any doubt it is best to consult a professional who will know the correct materials to use and where to use them.

With a little thought and application you will be able to make your home more energy efficient and reduce your energy bills.

Have you any energy saving tips? Please share them with us in the comments.

Let’s grab some rays!

25 Apr

Solar energy as the name suggests is energy obtained directly from the sun. We use the heat from the sun to dry the washing on the line, grow crops and have a very nice holiday – but what about the opportunities that solar provides in terms of power?

Let’s look at a few solar facts that might surprise you

  • The Sun is 150 million kilometres away but just the tiny fraction of the Sun’s energy that hits the Earth is enough to meet all our power needs
  • Every minute, enough energy arrives at the Earth to meet our demands for a whole year
  • Only about half of the incoming solar energy actually reached the Earth’s surface. It is reflected back out in to space or absorbed by clouds and oceans.

So with this abundant energy available why do we worry about energy efficiency and conservation?

The simple answer is we need to be able to harness that energy. The tricky question is how do we go about it?

There are three main ways we can harness that solar energy

Solar cells that convert light directly in to electricity. A really simple but effective use of this is the humble calculator. Satellites run on energy from solar cells, providing us with many everyday essentials such as telephones, navigation, weather forecasting, the internet and TV channels.

Solar water heating where energy from the sun is used to heat water in glass panels on your roof. This means you reduce the amount of gas or electricity used to heat the water in your home, thereby saving on your energy bills. This system works better in areas with a sunny climate.

Solar panels can be fitted to south facing roofs. These can be expensive to install but the government can pay you for any extra energy you produce and feed back into the National Grid.

023

So summing up what we know about solar energy, it seems too good not to take advantage of. After all it is free, clean, waste free and renewable.  However, it has its limitations. It is no good at night and it can be expensive to set up the equipment needed to harness the energy. The amount of energy that can be harnessed depends on the distance from the equator.

Here in the UK, with our cloudy skies and dull weather, technology is starting to make the use of solar energy more viable.

Heating on! Winter is here…

8 Dec

It’s strange how we all have “markers” in our year – in this case, we feel that Fireworks night marks the arrival of Winter. Yes, the time of “Gunpowder, Treason and Plot” is behind us, and the next marker in 2011 is that of Christmas. So winter is upon us, and the heating is back on.

 

Heating side effect

In the summer months we don’t use our heating, but once winter is here, we find the heating is on in the morning and the evening, perhaps even during the daytime? One of the side effects of having your heating on is condensation on your windows.

43866361 window with snow

The problem is the way in which we heat our homes, no longer do we have open fire places and lofty ceilings, rather we have radiators dotted around the house, we have loft insulation and lower ceilings, and we even have nice fitted carpets. All of which mean water vapour cannot escape, so instead it forms on colder surfaces, and that’s on our windows in the form of condensation.

 

Condensation on some windows but not others

You may find some of your rooms have no condensation in them, while others have water streaming down the inside of your windows. This is due to air circulation and ventilation of rooms. You will find that your “dry” rooms don’t have so much water vapour being generated in them, or they have greater ventilation.

 

Condensation on the outside of your windows

While we all have experienced some form of condensation, it’s worth remembering that you can get condensation on the outside of your windows too, and just like condensation within your home, this can form on some windows and not others, even if they are right next to one and other. This doesn’t mean anything is wrong with your windows or that they have been fitted in-correctly. Condensation on the outside of your windows is a natural thing and can be ignored.

 

Condensation factors and how to address them

There are three factors that can affect condensation:  water vapour content, inside room temperature and outside temperature. We have posted a blog on this not too long ago, and it’s well worth reading if you are suffering with condensation. You can read the post here https://fensafitters.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/condensation-advice/

Condensation advice

9 Sep

Many of us may find we have condensation in the house, at one time or another. We may find that in the winter, some rooms are dry while others have  condensation on the windows. Well this post is here to give you some advice on combating that condensation problem…

open window

The problem

Modern life means we now live in more comfort, we have rooms that keep us nice and warm and we have really changed the way in which we heat and keep heat in our homes. No longer do we have traditional open fires, nor do we have rather high ceilings. We now use sophisticated heating systems, we have loft insulation and lower ceilings and nice fitted carpets…All of which make our homes more cosy, but more prone to condensation. Why, you may be asking? Well it’s simple; water vapour produced by normal living activities simply has nowhere to escape.

So how do you reduce condensation and the damage it can do to paintwork, curtains and wall coverings without sacrificing the benefits of modern day comforts?

 

The factors

There are 3 main factors governing condensation in our homes, these are:

  1. Water vapour content
  2. Inside room temperature
  3. Outside temperature

Water vapour is produced by things like washing up, cooking, taking a shower etc. but can be controlled to some extent with the use of extractor fans  and ventilation.

The inside room temperature can be controlled by replacing single glazing with double glazing. This maintains a higher surface temperature of the glass on the room side, which enables it to hold more water vapour without condensing. It also keeps more heat in your home, so can help reduce those nasty heating bills…

You guessed it though, the outside temperature cannot be controlled, if it could, I’m sure many of us would opt for far longer and warmers summers!

 

How to reduce condensation

There are a number of ways to help reduce condensation for each area in which condensation is appearing.  Some of these tips  you may do yourself, or some may require a professional window installer (you can find FENSA registered fitters here http://www.fensa.org.uk/asp/member_search.asp)

 

When formed on the room side surface of the glass

  • Provide natural ventilation, best through an opening / vent in the window or ventilating unit
  • Ensure wall vents are fitted and clear (if you don’t have an open fire or existing open flu)
  • Open a window in each room to allow the air to change inside your home
  • If using gas or oil heaters, ensure ventilation of the room
  • Ventilate hoods above cookers to outside air if you can
  • Draught proof internal doors and keep them closed.

 

When formed on the cavity side surface of the outer glass

  • Make sure seals are as close to airtight as possible
  • Drill breather holes through the primary frame to connect the air cavity to the drier air outside the home

 

When formed in the cavity when the sun shines

You will probably want to get a professional to undertake this work for you.

  • Remove the secondary glass pane
  • Discard and remove any desiccant
  • Drill holes to connect the cavity to the outside drier air
  • Dry out the frame area.
  • Seal up any holes or cracks with compound or wood filler
  • Seal completely all wooden surfaces in the cavity with the proprietary wood sealer
  • Replace the secondary pane, taking care to make the seal and all joints as near airtight as possible

 

To sum up

Condensation is a ventilation problem.  Though double glazing can help reduce condensation by acting as a heat barrier, condensation is often caused by the need for air circulation. Modern day living and efficient heat retention means we often find our home has many moisture traps. The best cure is therefore controlled ventilation.

If you feel you don’t have sufficient ventilation in your home, contact a FENSA registered window fitter and seek their advice.

For more information on Condensation please refer to the leaflet which you can download from the GGF website.

http://www.ggf.org.uk/publication/condensation_some_causes_some_advice

Greener Windows, and we are not talking colour

16 Dec

I think by now we are all aware of how important it is to reduce our carbon footprint on our little planet. If nothing else, we are all aware of the potential cash savings we can make by ensuring we don’t let heat escape our homes (especially in the current Arctic conditions we are experiencing in the UK!).

 

 

Windows can be one of the big areas where we let heat escape our homes, be they single pane windows (rather than double glazed) or just poorly fitted. Remember, the more heat we lose, the more energy we consume to heat our homes, and the more energy we use, the more we pay in terms of cash, and our carbon footprint….ooohhh not good…

 

 

So today’s post is all about getting some quality double glazed windows fitted by a professional to get those heating bills down and reduce your carbon footprint.

New requirements for Competent Person Schemes

So first off, let’s address single pane windows. The single pane window is not great for keeping heat in. The bigger the window, the more of a loser it is in terms of keeping heat in. So have a look round your home, identify any single pane windows and think, double glazing…

 

 

Secondly, poorly fitted windows. If your windows are poorly fitted then you will be losing heat hand over fist. On top of that you may find you get some nasty drafts in the room too. I always remember my Gran saying “You’ll get a stiff neck sitting there in that draft”. I guess if you are sitting there reading this with a stiff neck, you had better check for drafts! But I digress….The point is that a professional window installer will ensure you get the benefits of double glazed windows. Saving you energy and ultimately on those energy bills.

 

 

If you are an avid DIYer, then perhaps you are thinking, “nahhh I will give that a go myself”. But windows actually take a lot of care and skill, if you want to get them to look good and installed right, and they need to be compliant with current building regulations too.

 

 

 

 

So what have we learnt, apart from sitting in a draft will give you a stiff neck…Oh yes, that well fitted double glazed windows (fitted by a pro) will lead to better thermal rating for your home, less heat escaping, lower heating bills and a lower carbon footprint…

I leave you with this thought, if everyone in the UK, all 61,792,000 of us, made sure our windows at home were double glazed and fitted well. How much of a cash saving would that be? How much of a reduction in emissions would that equate to?