While some home improvements and renovations are a convenient luxury, others represent a shrewd financial investment. Depending on your property, many of these improvements pay for themselves in just a year or two. Of course, those who are considering more ambitious energy efficiency upgrades will have to make a larger investment, but the opportunity for long-term savings, and even profit, make many of them worthwhile.
Read on to discover our top five home improvements that can help save you money.
1. Low flow fittings
Possibly the simplest way to save, particularly if your water supply is metered, is to install low flow fittings. Showerheads and taps can be easily fitted, and changing to a low flow showerhead alone can save as much as £65 per year in gas bills, while those with a water meter can save an extra £95 per year. Try this test: if your shower can fill a 10-liter container in 10 seconds, then you can make savings by changing your shower head.
If you’re considering renovating your bathroom, low flow savings can really mount up. Water-efficient toilets can pay for themselves in 2 years, and aerators and flow limiters on taps add even more to your savings.
Uninsulated roofs are another opportunity to improve your home’s cost efficiency, with savings of up to £600 per year to be had. Installation fees are generally between £265 and £395, and there is a range of grants for loft insulation to help cover the cost.
If your loft is already covered, you can still save money by having a qualified tradesman check for a cavity or solid wall insulation potential. Most professionals will carry out these checks for free, and if you discover you’re not insulated, getting the job done can cut heating bills by up to £250 per year.
3. New boilers
Rather than eking out a boiler’s life span, it’s often more environmentally and financially sound to upgrade as soon as it starts to deteriorate. Upgrading from a G-rated boiler to an A-rated condensing boiler saves up to £490 per year.
Keep an eye out for new technologies that may improve your home. Micro Combined Heat and Power (Micro-CHP) boilers generate electricity while burning gas for your heating, however, this new technology is still advancing and efficiency levels are low. If you’re replacing a boiler in the near future, heat recovery systems may be a more viable option.
4. Solar Panels
If you have a south-facing roof, you could benefit from installing solar panels. As well as providing energy to your home, many energy companies allow you to sell surplus energy back to the grid – meaning that, over time and with an energy-efficient property, you could even earn money.
It’s sensible to assess how much you could save by using solar energy calculators available on the websites like Solarguide first, especially since the initial outlay is on average between £6,000 and £7,400. Although there are rebates available and affordable solar panels on the market.
5. Ground source and air source heat pumps
The latest advances in energy-efficient heating systems have come in ground source heat pumps or air pumps for those with less space. These use pipe systems to absorb heat from the ground and the air which, even during winter, can be quickly compressed to produce high temperatures that warm your home’s heating and water systems.
Because of the work involved, ground source heat pumps can cost up to £3,690, or £1,280 for an air source heat pump. But when compared to an older gas boiler, they deliver savings of up to £590 per year for ground source and £435 for air source. These figures make both systems appealing options for green homeowners.