As the nights start getting longer and the days get chillier, you're probably going to use more energy. Over at Toolstation, we know that you, our customers, want to do your part for the planet. That's why we've picked out a bunch of energy-saving must-haves - things you can get to upgrade your home and use less energy.
Not every product will suit every home or situation, and everyone's usage is slightly different depending on the number of people living there and how often you're home. We urge you to speak to a professional or use supplier helplines to get more accurate information for your circumstances.
Since more than half of the energy we use is used up by heating and hot water, the best starting point for an upgrade is definitely your central heating setup.
Whether you're at work, on holiday, or anywhere else, don't stress about leaving the heat on. Smart thermostats mean you can control your heating from your device, wherever you are. Some models even learn from and adjust to your routines!
Combine a smart thermostat with a Smart Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV) and you can control individual room temperature via an app, even while you’re away. Syncing Smart TRVs with a Smart Thermostat make for a customised heating schedule that suits your space and preferences.
A boiler's efficiency tells you how much of the energy is used effectively, rather than lost. Older boilers tend to lack efficiency. Even newer ones, which are legally required to be at least 90% efficient since April 2005, could be losing up to 10% when warming your abode. Not only this, but the older a boiler is, the less efficient it will get over time.
Electric boilers can boast a staggering 99-100% efficiency. This means minimal energy wastage while heating your home. They're a fantastic heating option for compact homes, apartments, and even homes that aren’t connected to the national gas grid.
Got a heat-only or system boiler? Then you’ll have a hot water tank somewhere in your home or office. These tanks are great for storing hot water but, like anything else, will cool down over time.
A cylinder jacket covers your hot water tank to slow down heat loss – keeping your water hotter for longer so your heating system will have to do less work, less often.
Central Heating Additives
Every day, your heating system is exposed to corrosion. If you don't step in, this corrosion creates muck, limescale, and junk which could bring cold patches to your radiators and put the brakes on your heating's efficiency, causing energy waste.
Central heating cleaners swoop through your system, evicting the buildup and boosting efficiency. And that's not all – combine a cleaner with an inhibitor and you’re protected for the long haul. They ward off bacteria, limescale, and muck so your central heating won’t need to work as hard when heating your home.
Light bulbs are a must, and even if you turn them off the second you leave a room, trimming down usage isn't easy. We can't sidestep the fact that lighting can use up lots of energy. But how can we slam the brakes on this energy drain?
Ditching old-school incandescent and halogen bulbs for snazzy LED versions equals massive energy savings. A mere 5% of energy in old incandescent bulbs goes into light; the rest fizzles into heat. In contrast, LEDs are energy-use champs, directing most of the energy into light.
LED bulbs also boast instant brightness and could give you more than 50,000 hours worth of light. With average users using a lightbulb for around 1092 hours per year, they could give you close to 50 years of light.
Maybe you've got garden or front yard lights. To cut energy, you might think about switching them off. However, go solar for your outdoor lighting and be free from energy emissions. Place the light under strong sunlight for roughly 8 hours, and you've got a stunningly illuminated outdoor haven once dusk falls.
Alternatively, consider swapping incandescent, CFL, or halogen bulbs for LEDs – a surefire energy saver.
There’s no point heating your home if you let the energy slip away through windows, walls, or the roof. Insulation acts like a snug blanket, locking in heat and reducing how much energy you need to keep your home warm. Given that a hefty 25% of heat is wasted through the roof, you’ll want to take steps to reign it in.
Insulation Layers and Blankets
Foil insulation is like a heat shield for your home. It bounces warmth back in, keeping your home warmer for longer. Come summer, it will even reflect heat absorbed by the roof away, helping maintain a chill indoors – so you won’t need those fans or AC units on as much. Throw in insulating reflective tape for an airtight seal and effective insulation.
However – insulation isn't just confined to your house. Insulate your shed, garage, and conservatory, all of which are prone to unstable temperatures, to keep those spaces comfortable year-round. Don’t forget insulating blankets, which can double as moisture barriers and even block out some external noise.
Shaving a couple of minutes off your shower time or turning the temperature down by one degree are two key ways we can save some energy in our bathrooms. But what about replacing your older shower with a newer and more energy-efficient alternative?
Electric showers are great for saving energy. They heat water on-demand, so you’re only using the energy that is needed.
They’re also compatible with any type of central heating system – heat-only boilers, system boilers, and combi boilers – whilst their alternatives, power showers, need a hot tank to draw from and therefore can’t be used with populars combi boilers.