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20 free and cheap ways to improve energy efficiency at home

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A simple attitude towards improving your home energy efficiency is to start with simple and cheap actions. Believe it or not, simple solutions might generate a big impact on your water or energy bill. So with the money saved, you can go on working on more ambitious projects.

  • First, gather all your gas and electric bills from the lasts 12 months. Sum them all and divided by the square metres of your house. Do not consider areas without heating. The average cost is around 10 to 25 euros per sq metre in one year. If you are paying that much (or more) you have a lot of chances to reduce your bills.
  • Consider the thermal isolation of your walls and roof. Evaluate how old your general heating system is. Check windows and thermal isolation of your water heating system. How do you feel at home? Is wind coming in windy days?
  • Ask for help. Many local and online agencies and consumer associations offer free information and professional assessment. Look also for financial incentives for solar collectors, high-efficiency boilers, heat pumps and photovoltaic systems. There are also services that perform an energy check of your home and advise you on the steps to follow. Some professionals in the sector perform this control at low cost.
  • Make a plan. This is a list that might also help you

Free actions

  1. Adjust the hot water thermostat to 35 ° C.
  2. Turn off the light when you leave a room.
  3. In winter, adjust the radiator thermostats at 20 ° C when you are at home and at 12 ° C when you lie down. If your device has the option, program it.
  4. Use the savings programs of your washing machine and dishwasher.
  5. Do not contaminate the water (hot and cold), neither at home or abroad.
  6. Clean the condenser radiators in your refrigerator at least once a year.
  7. Dry your clothes in the air and not in the dryer.
  8. Close the ventilation openings in the unused areas.
  9. Repair leaks from faucets and cisterns (5% of water consumption in the home is due to leaks).
  10. Close the blinds (and windows) in summer on very hot days and at dusk in winter.
  11. Check all faucets and cisterns regularly. A tap that drips continuously can lose up to 2000 litres of water per year. A defective tank can lose up to 6 litres per hour or 52,000 litres per year

Simple and cheap actions

  1. Install a new shower head that delivers only 5 litres per minute, so you can save up to 50% of the water.
  2. Place sparking nozzles in kitchen and bathroom faucets. These vents add air to the water and reduce water consumption by 30-50%.
  3. For the showers, there are “quick disconnect” faucets that instantly interrupt the water supply. Its use allows a saving of approximately 50%.
  4. Install a programmable thermostat in the heating system.
  5. Close all the larger openings in the ceiling and the basement.
  6. Clean the system filters that provide warm air in winter and air conditioning in summer.
  7. Install the cork panels covered with aluminium foil behind the radiators.
  8. Isolate the first meter of hot and cold water pipes (incoming) with a strip of thermal insulation.
  9. Install LED bulbs where the light stays on longer.
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