How to save money and energy in your home

Caroline Cassidy

The need to cut household bills and save energy in the home is a top priority for many. After all, what use is it switching to a cheaper gas or electricity supplier if all the heat and energy flies straight out of the window?

Solar panels
Solar panels

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First off, a simple way to knock money off your utility bills is to insulate properly.

Of course, having your loft and walls insulated costs money, but bear in mind that cavity wall insulation will save around £110 a year on fuel bills, solid wall insulation a sizeable £375 a year and loft insulation £145 a year - every year.

Similarly insulating pipes and hot water tanks will slash those bills.

Double glazing, though it can be expensive, cuts heat lost through your windows by half - less noise, less condensation and a saving of around £130 a year are the benefits.

For a cheaper alternative, go for a temporary double glazed effect with film. These DIY sheets are reasonably easy to put up and remove, without the expense of re-glazing the house.

If you are serious about going green, solar panels are the way to go. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that your typical solar panels can produce something in the region of 40 per cent of a home's electricity, so it's worth looking into the installation costs.

Better still, you may even recoup some of your costs with a new Government scheme that pays you for the energy you generate. Visit Martin Lewis's Moneysavingexpert site for more information.

But if you're feeling anything but flush (and that will be true of a large majority of the UK) simple strips or excluders around doors and window frames can still save you cash.

And there are other easy energy-saving techniques you can use around the home. Switch off rather than rely on standby for your electrical appliances and use a cooler setting on your (full) washing machine (40°C uses a third less electricity than a load washed on 60°C).

Even a simple thing like turning the thermostat down by 1°C could mean a saving of 10% on your fuel bill.

Take a few simple measures now and you can stay warm without watching your cash fly out of the window.