Diaries Magazine

Energy Saving Successes - Down with Bills

Posted on the 02 October 2013 by Ellenarnison @Ellen27
I'm gazing out of rain splattered window and it's fairly clear that winter, if not actually here, is loitering round the corner ready to pounce. 

However, this year, I'm ready. My house is much more energy efficient than it used to be - and I can prove it.  Back in Spring, LEAP sent Tom from Thermal Energy UK to come and do a draught test and take thermal image photos of the house. The point was to see what could be done to make things warmer, cut bills, and reduce carbon emissions. His draft test came up with a score of 19.9 and a list of suggestions for things I should do The score was not catastrophic, but it was on the high-ish side and there was room for improvement. A newly built house would score 10 or under.  But I'm fairly clueless when it comes to DIY, so LEAP sent Marcelo Dominguez from Casa Homes and Gardens to help me with the measures. Marcelo is based in Lochwinnoch and comes highly recommended - you can contact him on 01505 842439 or 07739 827647. The first place to get to work was in the bathroom, where a loose bath panel was letting icy gusts just blow into the house. The panel was fixed into place and, crucially the gaps needed to be sealed. 

Energy saving successes - down with bills

Secret ingredients to neat sealing

It really was an easy fix and has made such a difference to the comfort of the bathroom

Next was the cupboard under the stairs where cool breezes were escaping from, presumably, under the house, round the gaps in the door and into the hall. 

The treatment for this problem was nailing draft excluder strips around the door and draft excluder brushes at the bottom. Once again, a quick fix.

Energy saving successes - down with bills

Lightly nailed in place before being given a proper hammering. 

Energy saving successes - down with bills

Look, an action shot. Mind your fingers. 

Energy saving successes - down with bills

And the finished result looks pretty neat too. 

Obviously, it's fairly important to remember to shut the doors that have now got draft proofing on them - but you don't need me to say that. Right? 

A key spot where Tom identified a draft was under the kitchen units. They have the standard kick plates, but they weren't sealed of insulated at all. This means that heat could find its way out through the floorboards and vents.

Marcelo used lengths of insulation to fill the space. If you remember to wear gloves and use a dust mask, this stuff isn't difficult to work with. Think of it as putting a cosy jumper on your house. 

Energy saving successes - down with bills

Saw point! 

Energy saving successes - down with bills

This stuff isn't as fluffy as it looks, so take care. 

Energy saving successes - down with bills

Then Marcelo replaced the kick plates and sealed them with silicon. Obviously, if they need to be removed, you'll need to seal them again. 

In our downstairs loo, there's a large hole around where the waste pipe goes through the wall. I had no idea it was there until Tom's draft test discovered it. So now Marcelo has filled it with insulation. 

Energy saving successes - down with bills
Energy saving successes - down with bills
Marcelo also tackled a draft at the patio doors where the existing seal has become compressed and less effective. He simply stuck a strip of foam insulation along where the door meets the frame. Very simple. 

All of this work really did look very straightforward and didn't require any specialist knowledge or equipment. LEAP has advice and information about draught busting. 

Is it worth it?

Previously I've been a bit flummoxed by the hundreds of bits of information on the subject. For a start it all seemed like a lot of hard work and I had no idea if it would be cancelled out by simply leaving the fridge door open for a couple of hours. 

So Tom came back with his draft machine. 

Energy saving successes - down with bills

And this time we scored 13.3! This is a huge improvement for what really weren't very significant measures. This improvement will be reflected in our fuel bills, hopefully, rendering them not quite as scary as they have been. 

Of course, these improvements are 'fixed' things, but the biggest energy-saving improvements still will come from changes in behaviour, such as remembering to shut the curtains and blinds as soon as it gets dark.

Thanks to Tom, Marcelo and the team at LEAP for helping us to get ready for winter. LEAP offers free home energy tests to local householders. 

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