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How Homeowners in Wales can Improve Energy Efficiency

Homeowners in Wales can take advantage of a range of measures to help energy-proof their homes this winter. This includes cost-effective and simple home improvements through more extensive upgrades requiring sometimes significant investment. There is also advice and support from the Welsh government to help homeowners with rising energy costs this winter.

The Welsh Government has a Warm Homes programme offering funding for eligible households to help with energy efficiency improvements plus there is free and unbiased advice available to all households. This support is offered by a scheme called Nest which was previously called Arbed. Nest is aimed at all Welsh households but does provide financial assistance to households on a low income or who are struggling to afford their domestic energy bills.  

Simple Measures to Improve the Energy Efficiency of your Home

A few free or low-cost measures can make all the difference in heating your Welsh home this winter. Here’s what you can do.

  • Make sure your boiler is as energy efficient as possible with regular care and repair – old or badly maintained boilers don’t power efficiently 
  • Move furniture away from radiators
  • Use blinds or thick curtains with a thermal lining to prevent draughts and which don’t extend beyond the window and cover any radiators below
  • Keep doors closed within the house
  • Prevent draughts around windows and doors which is where nearly 50% of home heat is lost. Simple draught stopping is easy to do and not expensive. Draughtproofing strips can be bought from a local DIY store – foam strips are inexpensive but will probably need to be replaced, metal or plastic strips with brushes attached cost a little more
  • Fit draughtproofing around doors and fit letterbox and keyhole covers
  • Check loft insulation and repair or refit where necessary. Insulation should have a minimum depth of 270mm to avoid heat escaping through the roof space
  • Consider closing off some of the rooms in your home and leaving them unheated this winter. Draughtproof internal doors if they separate a non-heated room from a warm room. Simple fabric draught excluders can be stylish and chosen to suit the décor of the room
  • Add rugs and textiles to bare floorboards – these insulate against tiny gaps in the timber, particularly in old properties and can be easily removed in the warmer months. Flexible mastic-type products which are available in lots of different colours can fill in larger gaps
  • Use Smart technology to help control temperatures within the home via an App on your phone or device. Benefits include remote heating control to fit in with different daily routines and lots of features to prevent wastage plus easy-to-read data so you can monitor and understand how your home uses energy

Longer-term Home Energy Improvements

More extensive and structural improvements can improve the energy efficiency of your home however, they can be expensive.

Most energy is lost via doors and windows as these are the weak points of the house envelope. Replacing doors and windows with triple-glazed products will make a big difference to the energy efficiency of your property. New glazing products offer possibilities for old or period properties that don’t want to lose character features. There are now thin single-glazed units which offer the energy performance of triple-glazing or homeowners can leave sash windows in situ and just replace the glass.

If you are redecorating a room in your home, consider carpeting rather than bare floorboards or underfloor heating. The design of a room should always include its energy efficiency and maximising natural daylight during the winter months plus the converse which is managing too much heat in the summer.

If it’s time to replace or upgrade your boiler, then consider a different type of heating which is more eco-friendly. Even just replacing an old boiler with a newer model will improve energy efficiency in the home.

Final Thoughts

Improving energy efficiency in your home in Wales can seem daunting but there are lots of steps any householder can take to make small improvements which often have a big impact on the energy efficiency of your home. Save energy and stay warm this winter.