Category - Green Homes
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Will Scholfield, Engineer

1 Sep : Updated 6 Dec ● 8 min read

DIY Home Energy Audit

DIY Home Energy Audit

DIY methods to make your home more energy efficient

With winter fast approaching, many of us will soon be using our boilers and central heating systems much more. Late summer to early autumn is the perfect time to conduct an energy audit on your property to ensure you are as prepared as possible for colder weather. 

Whilst October saw the price cap lower once again, energy prices are still way above the levels they were prior to the current energy crisis. An energy audit is a great way to ensure your home is as energy efficient as possible to help lower the cost of your energy bills.

Whether you need to invest in a new, energy-efficient boiler or make smaller changes, such as installing insulation and energy-efficient lightbulbs, our experts at BOXT have identified the many different ways you can improve your property's energy efficiency and save money this winter. 

How to prepare your home for winter energy bills


1. Ensure you have the best boiler for your home

This especially applies to a lot of older properties, where your boiler might be outdated and have a low-efficiency rating. However, an A-rated boiler can save you up to £630 a year on your energy bills, so it starts paying for itself rather quickly. You may also consider installing programmable heating controls, such as a Google Nest Learning Thermostat, which could save an additional 10% on your energy bills.

2. Check your radiators

Presumably, you won’t have used your heating too often during the summer months. However, such inactivity can result in your heating not working efficiently come winter, as your radiators can have a build-up of trapped air. To prevent this, leading up to the approaching winter, you should bleed your radiators to check for any cold spots and ensure your heating will work properly during the colder months. 

3. Service your boiler

Be sure to have your boiler serviced at least once a year, and while there is a cost involved, it is undeniably cheaper than a new boiler. A boiler service will keep your manufacturer's warranty intact, and your Gas Safe registered engineer will be able to catch any potential risks before they cause significant damage to your boiler.  You can also get home cover for your boiler to spread the cost of your annual service, and help ensure you don’t forget about it!

4. Reflect your radiators

Installing reflector panels behind radiators that are on external walls will help to ensure heat is reflected back into the room instead of bleeding heat into and through the wall. They are relatively cheap to purchase and straightforward to install, they can save you around £19 a year on your energy bills. 

5. Check your boiler pressure

Regularly checking your boiler’s pressure level is a must, as it gives you a good idea of the state your heating is in. The ideal boiler pressure is 1 to 1.5 bars when your heating is off and can rise to 2 bars of pressure when your heating is on. If the gauge displays a reading outside of this range, you may need to repressurise your boiler, or bleed your radiators.

However, if you cannot resolve the issue yourself, you should have a certified engineer look at your boiler. 

How to repressurise your boiler

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How to increase the energy efficiency of your home

There are many things to consider when you are setting about making your home more energy efficient. Firstly, you have to determine where the issues are and where your home is losing the most energy.

From there, you have to assess your budget and how long it will take until these changes start to pay for themselves through energy bill savings. And, of course, whether you have the time and ability to do these tasks.


1. Properly insulate your home

According to the Energy Saving Trust, a quarter of your home's heat is lost through your roof if it is uninsulated. It should be a relatively simple job to do if you’re applying the insulation to the loft floor. The recommended material is mineral wool, which should have a minimum depth of 270mm. As such, even if you do have an insulated loft, it might be worth topping it up if it is below the minimum depth.

You could also consider installing wall insulation; however, this is a much more difficult task than doing the floor of your loft and is best to be installed by a professional.

2. Check for draughts

While ventilation for your property is important to prevent dampness and condensation, uncontrolled ventilation leading to draughts results in a waste of heat and energy. Thankfully, checking for these draughts is relatively easy. The areas you should check are windows, doors, your loft and any cracks or gaps on walls or fittings. Products such as sealant foams and strips can be bought relatively cheaply from hardware stores, and applying them is typically straightforward, especially if you’re already comfortable with DIY projects. Simply sealing any draughts can save you up to £50 on your annual energy bill.

3. Insulate hot water pipes and tanks

If you have a hot water cylinder that isn’t insulated, it could cost you more to heat or re-heat your water. Thankfully, buying a cylinder jacket is cheap and easy to fit. You should make sure that the jacket is at least three inches thick. 

And to build on that, you could also insulate any accessible hot water pipes. You can do this by simply cutting appropriate lengths of foam tubing and fitting it around your pipes. Doing this to your boiler and pipes can start paying for itself in under a year, saving you up to £70 on your annual bill.

4. Fit DIY secondary glazing on windows

All homes built after 2002 are now required to have double-glazed windows, at the very least. However, there are still plenty of older properties that still have their single-glazed windows, which are more susceptible to condensation as well as being poor at retaining heat. If you own your property, you could simply replace your windows with double or triple-glazed windows. However, this may not be viable in rented properties, so alternatively, you can purchase something such as an acrylic sheet that you can fit over your window.

5. Energy-efficient lights

Fitting more energy-efficient bulbs is an easy and cheap DIY method to improve the energy efficiency of your home. The cost is typically anywhere from £5 to £20 for an LED bulb; fitting it will take just a few minutes, and they use around 90% less energy compared to incandescent light bulbs.

6. Install programmable heating

With the progression of technology comes the additional control you can have over your home, specifically, the temperature and energy usage of your home. Firstly, you can install a programmable thermostat, which allows you to set a schedule for the temperature of your home; and smart thermostats will allow you to do so from your phone.

You can also add thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) to your radiators, which allow you to set each individual radiator’s temperature separately, and there are also smart TRVs available which allow you to set schedules from your smartphone.

7. Appliances, the nitty gritty

This isn’t so much a DIY task as it is being more conscious of your usage and appliances' energy rating. When buying appliances, they usually have energy efficiency ratings, similar to houses. Where possible, you should try to purchase appliances that are highly rated for their energy efficiency. 

Additionally, you should turn off appliances at the socket when they aren’t in use. This especially applies to smartphone chargers, which can use energy even when nothing is plugged in.

8. Furnishing for energy efficiency

Furnishing can also affect how energy efficient your home is. From the kind of flooring you have to your curtains, they affect how much heat your home retains. Hardwood and tile flooring are the least effective ways to retain heat; a thick carpet is far better. However, if you can’t lay carpet down, a thick rug or two is a good alternative. In terms of curtains, you should attempt to get heavy, thick curtains, which will keep the heat in and any draughts out. 

Andy Kerr at BOXT has commented: 

“With winter just a few months away, the news that energy prices are falling is welcomed. Though, despite this, prices will still be significantly higher than they were during the winter of 2021, and the cost of living remains high; as such, people may struggle again this winter.

“However, there is a range of simple DIY jobs you can do to help increase the energy efficiency of your home, which in turn will help further reduce the price of your energy bills. Little jobs such as insulating hot water pipes and cylinders and sealing any draughts can have a noticeable effect on your energy usage and therefore cost. Doing a DIY home energy audit is still a great idea, with potentially little financial investment required.” 

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To begin, we looked at a range of guides to inform you on how to best improve the energy efficiency of your home. These guides for the best DIY methods to improve your property's energy efficiency were from Which and