During lockdown there are a vast range of things you can be doing. From doing jobs in the garden, to washing the cars, and the odd job or two around the house. Two great things you can do is make your home more energy efficient and improve indoor air quality. Doing these things have the following benefits:
1. It saves you money
2. It’s great for the environment
3. It gives you a supreme sense of satisfaction
4. It’s great for your health
5. It gives you something worthwhile to do, during lockdown!
Wood Burning Stoves and In-Door Air Quality (IAQ):
Old, inefficient wood burning stoves can have a dramatic impact on the IAQ in a home. Below are a few points for consideration to improving IAQ if you burn wood in a stove:
1. Flue – Always ensure the flue is correctly fitted and is a suitable design for your home and stove. A poorly fitted flue will cause significant issues with how gases are removed from your fire. A congested flue, even if it is perfectly fitted, will increase the chances of smoke entering the room, so always ensure a flue is cleaned regularly.
2. Your Stove – A high efficiency wood burning stove will improve the IAQ of your home. The main reason for this, is that a high efficiency stove burns more particular matter – so less pollution will be leaving the stove as gas/smoke whether that be up your flue or accidentally into your room.
3. Seasoned Wood – Burning wet wood will produce a poor heat output, and lots of smoke! It goes without saying, only ever burn seasoned wood. Learn more about the importance of seasoned wood.
4. Using an Active Baffle – An active baffle, used in the Charlton & Jenrick range, is designed to help warm a flue up. They are also very useful when it comes to reducing the amount of smoke entering a room, when refuelling with wood.
Wood burning stoves are just one thing you can take control of to improve air quality. Other things to think about are:
Apart from improving air quality in your home, there are a number of things you can do to improve efficiency. Here are a few ideas:
Lower your thermostat – Do this one step at a time, and lower it by just 1 degree. Do this continually until you’re at the lowest comfortable temp – then increase it slightly if you wish. Do this over several weeks so you get used to each new temperature. You will be amazed how much cooler you can go. If you feel cold, consider putting a jumper on before anything else.
Seal your windows and doors and other gaps – You could go all out and fit double glazing, if you don’t have it already. However, during lockdown we doubt you would find an installer. A real cost effective, quick win here, is to look for any gaps and drafts in windows and doors and anywhere else, and seal. It’s a small thing but small things all add up.
Using a stove or fire? Shut the door – As great as stoves and gas/electric fires are, when you have one in use in a room, close the doors. They are designed to warm one room, not an entire house. Closed doors will mean you will reach the desired temperature you want, sooner.
Switch to energy efficient bulbs – Have a supply of high efficiency bulbs. So when you need to replace your old bulbs, your slowly driving down your energy costs, and helping the environment. High energy bulbs are not only more efficient, they will last longer too.
Unplug chargers – No doubt you’re using your iPad and mobile a lot more at the moment with all the Zoom chats, and texting friends and family. But when your faithful charger is not in use, unplug it. It zaps a little energy when it’s on standby. The same goes for appliances such as TV’s when they are on standby.
Feeling more energetic? Try these larger energy saving ventures:
Insulate your attic – You may already have insulation in your attic but it maybe outdated. Modern attic insulation is a great deal more effective than insulation used 15+ years back.
Install solar panels – It’s a big job but fitting solar panels is a great way to not only become more self sufficient, but it also allows you to enjoy lower energy costs. It’s also a clear commitment to the environment, and some government subsidies and grants are available too.
Cavity wall insulation – Around 30% of all heat loss in a home is lost through walls. If you live in an older property there is a good chance you don’t have this insulation. More information on this can be found via the Energy Saving Trust website here.
Whatever you do in your home during this lockdown, stay safe!