07 Jun Energy saving advice for park home residents
By James Sumner, Executive Director at Warfield Park, Bracknell
This article was published in Park Home & Holiday Living magazine on 12 April 2022.
We are amid an unprecedented energy crisis: gas and electricity prices have risen enormously this year. The Government has stepped in, first to provide support to the most vulnerable, and then to all households, and more recently to cap the price of gas and electricity. The cost of that is, in the long term, prohibitive and the Government has said the cap will be reduced after April 2023.
But at the end of the day, households are having to grapple with the increases in energy costs. Much of the media have provided tips and guidance on how to reduce energy costs: we hope we can help by summarising the bast of these:
Lower boiler flow temperature
The Government is suggesting all households lower the flow temperature of the boiler from 75 or 80 degrees to 60 or 65 degrees. This is the temperature which the boiler heats the water to before it is pumped around your system to heat your water and the radiators. By reducing that temperature, it increases the efficiency of a condensing boiler – at 70°C the boiler will start to operate in condensing mode, but it is only when the flow temperature is 60°C or lower that the boiler will recover enough heat to reach its higher efficiency potential – older mobile homes can run their heating systems at 60°C and newer homes at 50-55°C. They start to reach their very highest efficiency potential at 45°C flow temperature or lower. Innovation charity, Nesta, says this could cut gas bills by an average of 9% (approximately £112 a year).
The downside of this is that rooms and water may not heat up as quickly, so you may need to start them earlier. There is one caveat to lowering boiler flow temperature and that is mobile homes with heating systems which use hot water tanks – reducing the temperature increases the risk of bacteria in the system.
Lower room temperature
This is an obvious suggestion: lowering the temperature by one or two degrees will save energy and money, and you may not even notice. According to British Gas, reducing your thermostat by one degree could save £115 per year in an average home. Also, a big mistake made by many is to turn the thermostat up when it is cold outside – there is no need to do this!
Again, an obvious suggestion, turn the heating on later and have it switch off earlier. Many households heat for longer than is necessary. Although, reducing a condensing boiler’s flow temperature will increase the time to heat your home, so some experimentation will be needed. Switching off earlier will allow you to rely on the heat stored in the structure of your home and you may be surprised just how much that is and how long it will last.
Also, only heat the rooms you need to, and make sure you close internal doors: that way you don’t heat rooms you are not using and you keep the heat in the rooms you are.
According to The Energy Savings Trust, fitting an aerator could save you £30 a year. Aerators are small gadgets with tiny holes – they attach to the spout of taps and are cheap and easy to install – they restrict the flow by introducing bubbles into the water.
Swap baths for showers as they use considerably less water, fit a more efficient shower head to save more water and cut shower times to a maximum of four minutes.
Other steps you could take include:
- Switch off appliances rather than leave them on standby – this could save you £65 a year according to the Energy Saving Trust
- Wash clothes at a lower temperature, make sure the washing machine is full, and try to do just one cycle a week. Avoid using the tumble dryer – a typically load costs £1. Dry clothes on an airer indoors (with a window open to avoid damp) or outside. The Energy Saving Trust says £70 a year could be saved if you never use it.
- Switch off lights which do not need to be on, and switch to LED bulbs
- Insulate your hot water tank and pipes. Putting a standard 80mm thick tank jacket can save £80 a year according to the Energy Saving Trust
- Only run your dishwasher when it is full, and select the economy cycle
- Do not overfill your kettle, this could save £13 per year
- Check the temperature of your fridge and freezer – according to the Food Standards Agency, you should keep fridges at 5°C and freezers at -18°C. It is a waste of energy having them set colder than this, and will not make any difference.
There are other steps that can be taken to improve energy efficiency but these involve investment and would be medium term projects, they include:
- Buy more energy efficient appliances when renewing – look for A+++ ratings. Replacing an old inefficient boiler could save up to £300 a year. investing in double glazing could save £110 per year.
- Insulate your park home – modern park homes are insulated to a high standard, often higher than most of the housing stock in the country. Older ones less so and could benefit from further insulation not only of walls and ceilings but also underneath. Don’t forget draught-proofing doors and windows.
- Consider investing in solar PV: this will generate electricity from sunlight and help reduce your bills. This will require capital investment, although there are grants that can apply, but the payback period is reducing significantly with the current rises in electricity costs.
- Consider investing in an air source heat pump. Again, this will require a capital investment with a payback period which is shrinking. It is a different sort of heat which takes getting used to.
And finally, monitor your energy usage and understand the impact of the use of different appliances – keep an eye on your consumption can be sobering. If you are not on a private network, get a Smart Meter installed which will help with this monitoring. MoneySavingExpert has a comprehensive list of appliance running costs, identifying the most expensive as being tumble dryers, ovens, kettles, electric hob, vacuum cleaner, dishwasher and microwaves. There is also a comprehensive list of other energy saving tips.
PICTURE YOURSELF LIVING AT WARFIELD PARK
If you’re not yet a resident, picture yourself living at Warfield Park. Here you can enjoy all of the benefits of a small leafy rural community with fantastic neighbours, social events and activities onsite, while having a wider community just beyond the entrance. We are located in Warfield, Bracknell, with a bustling town centre, mainline train station and motorways within easy reach. You could say we are ‘A Quintessentially British Village’ in regard to how life can be experienced here inside the Park.
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