Information on potential energy savings

Up to 35% of heat loss is through the walls. Cavity wall insulation can reduce this loss by up to 40%. First you should check that your house was built with a cavity wall design. Prior to World War II it was quite rare, but almost all houses built in the 1950s and beyond should have a cavity to external walls. Houses built since the late 1980s should already have insulation built into the cavities.

An uninsulated loft can account for up to 25% of your home's heat loss. The current recommended amount of insulattion is 250mm (10 inches). If you have no existing loft insulation it is possible to save up to £100 on your annual fuel bills by fitting the recommended amount of insulattion.

A conventional boiler heats up water for your central heating sysytem and stores hot water in a cylinder (typically in an airing cupboard). Modern boilers are known as combination boilers (combis), since as well as providing heat for the radiator system they provide hot water on demand. The advantage is that heat is not lost from the cylinder, especially in the summer months. You should check with your installer whether a combi boiler is suitable for your home.

Legislation from April 2005 requires all new boiler installations to be condensing boilers, since they are shown to be the most energy efficient. Condensing boilers convert more than 88% of their fuel into heat, compared with 78% for conventional boilers. If your conventional boiler is more than 10 - 15 years old it probably isn't that efficient. With condensing boilers less heat is lost to the atmosphere, since they capture much of the heat normally lost from the flue. The water which condenses drains back into the domestic drainage system.

Modern controllers not only act as timers, but also react to temperature and time of day. When used with a combi boiler the the user may set the domestic hot water temperature independent of the central heating temperature. A modern controller may be used in conjunction with thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs), so that the temperature of each radiator can be individually controlled. All new heating installations have to have TRVs fitted. It's possible that such a system could save you 17% on your heating bill, meaning that a controller could pay for itself within five years.

Other little known facts on energy consumption:
60% of heat from a coal fire is lost up the chimney
A low-energy light bulb uses only 1/5 of the electricity of a standard light bulb.
An open front gas fire is only 30% efficient.

Supplied by Warwickshire Energy Efficiency Advice Centre