10 ways to slash your home energy bills

financial independence

The less you need to spend, the quicker you get to financial independence. So attack recurring costs like a Rottweiler!  Home energy costs are a good example.

When The Escape Artist needs specialist knowledge, he looks for someone independent who knows what they are talking about. As it happens, I recently bumped into an expert who advises householders on energy cost reduction and who kindly agreed to write me a guest post.

So enjoy this article from Doug of Mesh Energy and see whether you can make simple changes to unlock big energy savings at home.

Doug JohnsonA Low Energy Home In 10 Steps

The dream of being able to turn your existing home into a low cost, snug and wholly comfortable one doesn’t happen overnight; nor will it come for free, but there are some measures that outperform the rest and can quickly help you save money and energy.

It may seem like a daunting task to start reducing your energy expenditure but with some analysis and common sense, simple changes and worthwhile short term investments in your home can have long-lasting benefits for your wallet.

Let’s start with a typical breakdown of energy use within a UK home below.

Fig1

Fig2

Images courtesy of Parity Projects

Immediately, we can see that heating the interior of our homes accounts for two thirds of energy costs. Much of this is often leaking away needlessly via draughts, walls, roofs and doors.  When hot water is added, we account for 83% of energy costs and this helps us focus our efforts on these key areas.

Each of the ten improvements listed below will have a different cost and benefit depending on your individual circumstances but I have given you an indication of likely cost and payback of making typical changes. 

Step 1: Measure first

Cost = £

Payback < 1 year

Fig3Remember…if you measure it, you can then manage it!

There is an increasing list of electricity energy monitoring products on the market. Some are basic and cheap (approx. £30) and others are more clever and require a larger investment (around £170).

We have been recently impressed by a product called Smappee which uses very little hardware and automatically detects the usage of all the significant electrical appliances in your home. With a simple smartphone app you can monitor usage to a high level of detail which should help you spot some immediate savings that can be made around the home.

Fuel and water bills can be analysed to easily see how much is being spent in a typical year too.

Step 2: Drive down fuel costs

Cost = Free

Payback = Instant

This is a ridiculously obvious one but many fail to make a simple change and find a better energy or fuel supplier that is cheaper than their current supplier. With companies like USwitch.com the process is easy and could instantly save you money without making any upfront investment at all.

Next you should have an honest look at your home’s insulation. This could mean you have to start thinking about spending money to save money but done intelligently this aspect of your energy saving regime could pay you back in spades. After all a building that can keep more heat in will be warmer and cheaper to run even if you do nothing else to the home.

Step 3: Improve loft insulation

Cost = ££

Payback = 2- 3 years

It’s rare today that people have no loft insulation installed but most people would benefit from topping it up. Modern building regulations suggest almost 300mm of fibre glass insulation to keep your home snug and once it’s done you can forget about it. Most homes can be treated for less than £500 and you’re likely to get your money back within 2-3 years.

Given that an average home losses around 25% of its heat through the roof, this should be a high priority item.

Step 4: Improve wall insulation

Cost = £££

Payback = 3-5 years

If you live in a home built in the last 100 years it is likely that your home will have cavity walls. If so check if they are insulated and treat them if they are not. There are still companies out there providing this cavity wall insulation for competitive rates and the savings should pay for the work within 3-5 years.

Untreated walls can lose around 30-35% of a homes’ heat loss total, so although grants for this improvement are drying up, the relatively low cost and simplicity of the modification means that it is still worthwhile for most.

Step 5: Target draughts and open chimneys

Cost = ££

Payback = 1-2 years

In older properties this is a real cost saver, especially for those with open chimneys. Draughts can account for around 15% of a standard energy bill, more so for older properties. Simple and cheap draught proofing seals, tape and chimney balloons can recoup the cost within a year and cut down wasted energy that is literally going up the chimney.

Physiologically draughts can make you feel cold even if the room or home actually isn’t. As a result home owners end up cranking up their thermostats and wasting energy unnecessarily. So reducing draughts can have a massive impact on the comfort and running cost of your home.

Step 6: Tackle heating and hot water control

Cost = £££

Payback = 2-3 years

Fig4Reviewing how you control heating and hot water in your home can again make a considerable difference given some of today’s technological progress. If you still live in a home that has a single 7-day time clock controlling your heating system at the bottom of your stairs I’ll guarantee you now you are wasting energy in your home.

Increasingly wireless thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) can enable you to zone your house to give you better timed control of certain areas without having to run around and make adjustments throughout the day to save money.

Depending how you have got on in steps 3-5 you may be able to fundamentally change the way you heat your home and leave your heating on at a much lower level throughout, instead of blasting energy into your home in the mornings and evenings. With energy efficient homes constant heat is better and more comfortable than the heating extremes we have been used to for decades.

Step 7: Install solar PV

Cost = £££££

Payback = 8-10 years

Fig5If you have more of an appetite for reducing electricity usage in the home and don’t mind making a mid-term investment, why not produce your own?

Although solar PV has had a bad rap in the media recently, systems prices have fallen considerably and still far outstrip any standard investment options. Even the largest 4kW (16 panel) domestic system cost no more than £7,000 and you are likely to get your money back within 8-9 years with a 20 year tariff payment term. It will also offset your daytime electricity usage and works wonders with a heat pump.

Do bear in mind though that the solar feed in tariff (FITs) are under review and it is predicted that significant cuts of up to 87% to new applicants will occur as early as 1st January 2016. So if you are interested in this, it’s time to get moving!

Step 8: Install a heat pump

Cost = £££££

Payback < 7 years

financial independenceWhilst one of the most expensive changes you can make to your home to tackle heating and hot water costs, for some people who are on oil or LPG heating installing a heat pump can be a game-changer.

An air source heat pump could cost £10-15K for the average domestic home but the renewable heat incentive launched at the beginning of April offers tax free payments for 7 years almost guaranteeing that you will get your money back within this term. In real numbers this is the equivalent of 12.5% return on investment.

Not to mentioned savings around 30-45% compared to its fossil fuel equivalents.

Step 9: Tackle appliance usage

Cost = Free

Payback < 1 year

Appliance usage only accounts on average for 10-15% of homes’ energy bills and so features lower down on this list. The big culprits in the home are appliances with heating elements included such as tumble dryers, kettles, coffee machines, washing machines and the dreaded electric AGA. Many people use tumble dryers and they are a convenience, but most people spend around £150 per year just drying clothes, so if you can find space to naturally dry clothes then you’ll immediately be quids in.

Unfortunately some folks are unwilling to make simple behavioural changes (like turning lights off when you leave a room) to reduce expenditure in this area. Ironically it is one of the simplest and most cost effective ways of saving money as these changes are ultimately free!

Step 10: Change to LED lighting

Cost = ££

Payback = 1-2 years

LED lights are dropping in price the range is now extensive and some can be bought for less than £10 online. If you occupy the house during the day or have areas in the home that are used all the time with lots of lights then this measure is a no-brainer. Depending on usage this typically costs less than £300 to implement, but you could realistically get your money back within the first year if you are a heavy user already.

Key to average costs of changes

£          0 – £200

££        £200 – £500

£££      £500 – £1,000

££££    £1,000 – £5,000

£££££  £5,000+

So there you go, even if you don’t do all of the changes listed above immediately this gives you some ideas on how to start targeting the big energy guzzlers in your home or simply making small changes that will lead onto bigger things. What are you waiting for?!

Thanks again to Doug for this post.  For more help understanding and reducing energy costs in your home, visit Mesh Energy’s website or email Doug at djohnson@mesh-energy.com.

40 comments

  1. Why not first find a cheap provider and subsequently look for implementing energy saving techniques defined in this article? Inexpensive providers are key to saving on energy costs rather than investing on new hardware and other expenditure.

  2. Adnan, my thinking on these two points was that whilst you can indeed change to a cheaper provider first, if you understand how you are using energy first you may be able to find a tariff based on your typical usage profile. In addition, measuring first to get a true picture of usage before you start making any changes is absolutely key to a long term energy cost reduction strategy although it does require a small amount of initial expenditure.

  3. Living Cheap In London · · Reply

    Step 11: Get your other half to put a jumper on when she asked that the central heating is turned on in mid-October 😉

    Step 12: Set thermostats 2 degrees lower than other half asks them to be set at.

    Seriously though, a good article & food for thought. As someone who lives in a Victorian property I need to look into chimney balloons.

    The biggest quick win for me over the years has been an upgrade of our heating controller: we have 2 Zones that can be triggered independently of each other, but most importantly i think is 7 day a week programmable controls with 10 min intervals – we really only need to warm the house when we are going to need it this way.

    I also have an external thermometer that is linked to the controller, so the system doesn’t kick in as aggressively if it observes that the outside temperature is warming up.

    1. I know what you mean…in our house, the children want all the windows open whilst my wife wants to whack up the thermostat!

      Take a look at http://www.chimneyballoon.co.uk/

    2. Haha, I think this is an argument that is had in many households and not just frugal ones LCIL 🙂

      We’ve got decent loft insulation and cavity walls in a terraced house and the heat holds for a long time so I’m loathe to get some of these new fangled gadgets, despite finding them very interesting I just don’t see them saving us much on the bills which are already quite low. We just stick the hot water on for 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening and turn on the heating manually when required until it gets very cold, so there are only say ~3 months a year when the gas bill is anywhere near approaching a level that would benefit from smart monitors. Never say never of course!

      It really is a surprise to learn how little your gadgets use up compared to heating and other larger appliances, the whole “turn off your mobile charger when not using it” is in the main negligible advice for most people who are pumping heat out of their windows and walls on a daily basis.

      Also if you are switching I would recommend TopCashback’s switching service who will give you a decent wedge of cashback if/when you switch. We got £42 last time we switched, not to be sniffed at!

  4. So he starts by saying the vast majority of energy (83%) is used in space and water heating. But step 1 has nothing to do with addressing this. The best thing is to take monthly meter readings and plot these in a spreadsheet (as well as sending to your provider). Over a couple of years you can see trends, but don’t forget consumption is weather related.

    Step 2 is about reducing the cost of energy, which often has the effect that you use more because you subconsciously know it’s cheaper. (Has been proved with energy efficient lighting hence step 10 is redundant.)

    Steps 3-6 are finally getting round to addressing the issue although there is already a hierarchy of improvements: draughts, loft, windows & doors, walls, floors. (increasing cost/benefit) For radiator valves ignore the expensive ‘smart’ solutions and simply replace the wax TRVs with inexpensive programmable ones. You can thus create as many zones as you want. Most Smart Controllers will only allow a single zone and the multi-zone ones have a very long payback unless you live in a mansion. Oh and if you sort out draughts from windows and doors then an open chimney isn’t really a problem, nowhere for the incoming air to come from to feed the updraught.

    Step 7, solar PV, again doesn’t address the 83% so the cost/benefit is very high. It only pays off with generous FIT, which are rapidly being cut back. Output is very low at UK latitudes anyway.

    Step 8, I looked into heat pumps but unless you go for ground source you end up with a noisy external compressor unit that will really PO your neighbours.

    Step 9 doesn’t tack the 83% either and has only marginal benefits. More trouble than it’s worth and in the 21st century we really shouldn’t need to worry about such things. By now energy should have been too cheap to meter!

    Step 10 depends on whether you can live with the awful colour of LED lighting, which I can’t! In any case, I’m still waiting for the last Big Thing, CFLs, to expire.

  5. Mark, plenty to digest but the first step should indeed be monitoring usage. Many people use electricity for top up hot water heating and I know many people still use electric heating in older buildings. Monitoring gas oil and water usage is just as important as electricity before you start making changes.

    As for solar PV many people are using it via hot water optimisers like Immersun and Solar IBoost to divert excess electricity to the hot water tank. As for payback the tariffs are changing, for sure but without subsidies the technology can be realistically be expected to return 6% on your initial investment not taking into account the rising cost of electricity over the next 20 years!

    Heat pumps (indeed the mid to high range products) are quieter than you might think if they have been properly installed, but everyone has their own personal threshold for noise.

    1. “divert excess electricity to the hot water tank” – surely a sign if anything there’s something very wrong with this strategy! Why not have solar hot-water instead? I’d be interested in seeing how you get 6% ROI without subsidy in the UK. Do you have a link? Theoretical or real world values?

      1. Diverting excess electricity to the hot water tank is a sound strategy because you are getting the best of both worlds. Admittedly this process will not be as efficient as a straight up solar hot water install, but it is “smart” so it surely balances out. You may end up with too much hot water from a solar hot water install, and you certainly don’t need it for heating in the summer when the majority of the output is going to be, for example, at which point you can pump electricity back into the grid or use it for other purposes.

        I did some rough calculations on what my solar install ROI would be without the subsidies and it doesn’t look good (-1.83% over 20 years). See here for more info: http://thefirestarter.co.uk/solar-panels-year-in-review/

        I also would like to a link to something stating we can get 6% return without subsidies!

        My only alternate theory is that solar install prices are being inflated by the installation/manufacturing companies because they know they can get away with it, and once the subsidies dry up the cost of install will drop sharply to make the ROI viable again. I certainly hope that is the case anyway! Again any links to a confirmation of my theory would be super awesome 🙂

        Cheers!

  6. Mark, Not a problem.

    In fact the calculation is quite straight forward. Using real world government irradiance datasets, a solar PV installation in the south of the UK at an angle of 35 degrees inclination can conservatively expect to see 1023kWh/kWp of installed panels. a 4kWp installation costs around £7000 (inc VAT).

    If we assume the cost of electricity is 13p/kWh and the array produces 4092kWh (4×1023) of electricity per year the home owner is generating for free £531 worth of free electricity.

    if we divide £531/£7000 to give a simple ROI you end up with 7.59%.

    Does that help clarify?

    1. Where do you get 1023kWh/kWp? This suggests 800-850 under ideal conditions:
      http://www.solarae.co.uk/ask-rae/what-does-kwp-and-kwh-mean

      I’ve also seen a 2.6kWp installation costing ~£11k, so where do you get 4kWp cost of £7k?

      1. Mark, See this link for the page on which you can download a copy of the official irrandiance datasets for across the UK. These are government figures for all MCS installers to use. http://www.microgenerationcertification.org/mcs-standards/installer-standards/solar-pv

      2. I think you might be confusing kWh/kWp with kWh/m2. See p56:
        http://www.microgenerationcertification.org/images/PV%20Book%20ELECTRONIC.pdf

    2. PS. Just had an email from a former solar fitter. He says, “I don’t know why anyone would bother with Pv at the moment, pay back is too far away and won’t improve according to renewables magazine.”

    3. According to this calculator I can expect 741kWh/kWp in London.
      http://www.efficientenergysaving.co.uk/solar-irradiance-calculator.html

    4. Hi Doug,

      To get that ROI based on the way you have calculated, you would have to use all of your electricity when the panels were generating while the sun is out, and none of it after dark or when it got a bit too cloudy. As you can probably see that is near to impossible! (unless you install some sort of battery array to store the power but that is a huge extra cost and even then in winter I doubt it would generate enough to get you through the night)

      A more honest assessment of a normal use case is about £130 per year saved off your electricity bill for an average install (Source: Money Saving Expert) so nowhere near the £531 you have calculated. And then you are exporting the rest to the grid at just 4.85p/kWh, so without the FIT you are not doing so well for yourself.

      One thing to note is that I got some quotes recently for a 4kWp install and it was only about £5K so both of the figures quoted above by yourself and Mark are way out of date, solar is getting much cheaper, which is great news!

      Cheers

      1. The panels alone for a 4kWp would be over £4k (good quality hybrid, not cheap mono/poly ones that don’t like getting hot) and there is a significant cost for labour and plant to install them. Trying to get a quote now. Don’t forget, kWp assumes 1000W/m2 insolation, so need to multiply by actual figure for your location (http://contemporaryenergy.co.uk/insolation-map/) and the system efficiency (~0.75). So for Birmingham you’re looking at around 2850kWh per year, significantly less than the 4092kWh quoted by Doug. At 13p that’s £370pa, so around 10yrs just to pay for the panels themselves, assuming you benefit from every kWh generated.

        ROI over 25 years assuming £7k initial cost and no increase in electricity cost would be (25 x 370 – 7000) / 7000 = 32% or 1.1% annualised.

      2. Hi Mark,

        We’re both singing from the same hymn sheet I think 😉

        I got a quote just now, admittedly just an online one, and have no idea the quality of the installer or panels, but it was £5500 for a 4kWp system for sure. Got the quote here: http://www.comparemysolar.co.uk/

        Cheers

      3. Look carefully at the assumptions though, based on 5500kWh annual consumption, or 4000 – a bit confusing!
        http://www.comparemysolar.co.uk/help-comparison/

  7. michael crute · · Reply

    hi, if you are in the UK, both loft and cavity wall instulation, is available for free from British gas whether you are a customer or not. Can not beat that ROI! You also get the assessment for free. A friend has just used them and had no problems.

    https://www.britishgas.co.uk/energy-saving-products/home-insulation

    1. I have had a quote for free cavity wall insulation (by BG) but not taken it….Why? Because if you look at the internet there are lots of stories of poor installations and cheap products being used. If it goes wrong you end up with lots of condensation and you have to have it removed, which costs more than the original installation. I checked with someone who has had it done locally in a similar house and they now have condensation problems and have to open the windows to circulate air to prevent mould and other issues that can result from this retro-installation. It is nice and warm but now too warm and the condensation problem means that they wish they had not had it done.

      It appears that the free ones only carry out a visual survey, not a proper inspection, and they don’t look into the cavity and check the space for rubble or other issues that mean it can/will fail. They use the cheapest materials and don’t prep the house properly before installing. Also you shouldn’t have it installed if you live is certain parts of the UK. So this one comes with a warning, research is required before taking this step.

      Solar, I would love solar PVs but my house is not south facing and so it does not provide a good enough deal – if I want solar, I have to pay the full whack for installation and the pay back is too long so it is not cost effective for me.

      I will just continue to look at cutting usage and selecting the best tariff. (My house is fully LED lit and I try to get the best appliances when I can and switch everything off – no standby. I have an energy usage monitor (free from my utility company). My energy usage goes down or flat lines but the annual utility cost goes up each year as the companies stitch us up for profit.

      I lived in one house with my partner at the time and we cut down our energy usages so much, the company came round to check that the meter was working properly and that it hadn’t been tampered with!

      1. To an extent I have hedged against future energy/utilty costs by purchasing shares in some UK energy/utility companies. National Grid and United Utilities are of note: good dividends and increase in share prices!

      2. I was only vaguely aware of problems with CWI and wasn’t sure of the causes. Found this interesting article that describes the problems in more detail, also trouble with loft insulation. When you add CWI and/or loft insulation you are changing the thermal dynamics of the structure and you may need further mitigating works to prevent these problems.
        http://www.heritage-house.org/insulation-causes-damp.html

      3. How can cavity wall insulation cause condensation? Was the cavity providing a ventilation route? I would have thought if the house is warmer the air would be able to hold more water and hence you would experience less condensation and therefore you would not get mould. This only really makes sense if ventilation was blocked up in some way. I wonder if your friend had some other work done at the same time, e.g blocking up fireplaces or new windows?

      4. The cavity is designed to do a specific job, allow rain to penetrate the outer skin and trickle down the cavity keeping the inner skin dry. If you fill the gap you run the risk of the insulation material becoming saturated and forming a moisture bridge. This can result in making the inner skin damp, most likely also cooling it so increasing the rate of condensation on the inner face. SO installing CWI can create two problems where none existed before. The article I linked to above explains in more detail.

  8. I holidayed in a new build energy efficient apartment last winter and it was incredible, after the first day it didn’t require any direct heating at all.
    However I live in a 150 year old terraced house, short of building an insulated box around it or inside it, it’s never going to be cheap to heat.
    The only significant energy saving I’ve been able to make is killing off the tumble dryer, but that causes it own problems with ventilation. However it means the howling gale that blows from back to front of our house is put to good use:)

    1. If you dry clothes indoors it is better to use an efficient condensing tumble dryer. Otherwise, the heat to evaporate the water will come from your heating system and the condensation as you point out can be a problem. Takes the same amount of energy whether you use the dryer or your central heating. Of course, hanging outdoors is best of all, free energy!

  9. Great article TEA/Doug, I love the pie chart at the beginning as I’d never seen that info before.

    Where I live in Cambridge there is a lot of even 1930s housing with solid single skin walls, mostly 9 inches thick (the long side of a brick) but in some places only 4.5 inches thick (just the thickness of a brick). One of my neighbours recently had external wall insulation fitted (as there is no cavity to fill) and this cost £7,500 but a £6,000 grant was available so it only cost them £1,500. If your annual bills are also around £1,500 in total then it’s fairly easy to start counting the savings. It’s also nice not to be freezing cold at night when you get up for a pee!

    Regarding fireplaces and draughts, I’d caution against completely sealing your house as ventilation and fresh air is important, particuarly for old houses. In our rented accommodation we have blocked up fireplaces, old double glazing units without trickle vents, and as a result moisture cannot escape and we have a serious problem with mould.

    1. I am continually amazed at the number of hermetically sealed homes with mould/condensation problems. Trickle vents should be the default on all double glazing systems.

    2. David, Glad you liked the pie chart.

      I absolutely agree that in older homes stopping all draughts can cause other problems. They are however often cheap to fix and often just resolving the main ones near living areas or social spaces can have a massive impact on the feeling of warmth in a property.

  10. Survivor · · Reply

    Hi Doug, thank you for helping out here with your expertise, it is much appreciated. I have a query please – if there is a single occupant in a home, would it not be more efficient to turn the principle on its head in heating only that person instead of all the air in the place. This would be in addition to all the common sense suggestions you laid out of course – that a person could afford & were in control of. (The reality is that the renting army of second-class citizens have reduced options)

    I don’t mean walking around like michelin man in 100 layers of clothing, [only because it’s impractical 🙂 ] but a combination of targeted measures like keep the air at a minimum of 15 C for example, then a number of other options like an electric blanket & a halogen heater/radiator in every room that you use only while there, like you would the lights. With a sensible/comfortable amount of clothing, you’re warm enough when on the move or otherwise active, so don’t feel cold.

    My question then, is how efficient are the halogen heaters? – I struggled to work out their cost efficiency vs the alternatives, so I don’t know if they’re a false economy, but I liked the principle that they heat up objects in the room as opposed to the air. Getting heated indirectly by the air in our buildings like most of us do must be the more inefficient way of doing it……

    1. I’ve heard people talk of using low-powered microwave emitters to heat your body rather than the air around you, but I guess there were a few safety issues!

  11. Survivor, this is an interesting one. In short a halogen heater is purely and simply and electric heater. As a result it will cost around 13p/kwh. If you look at the power rating of the heater and take a guess how long each day and each month you would likely have it on you can work out the running cost.

    Indeed heating yourself rather than an entire house if living on your own may well be a lot more cost effective than using the building heating system even though the energy you are using is relatively expensive. If you are disciplined enough to turn the heaters on and off only when you are in front of them this could work for you.

  12. Survivor · · Reply

    Ok …..I actually tried it last year as an experiment, reading the meters – electricity vs gas – against the values for the year before when I used conventional gas to heat up all the air in the house like everyone else. As you said, you have to be disciplined, but that’s no more difficult than you can easily become accustomed to doing with lighting. My bill subsequently fell by enough that the power provider sent out their own guy to do a reading – I presume because they didn’t believe what I self-reported.

    But it’s still disappointing to hear that the halogens don’t use any less electricity than an electric to air heater – are there any other alternatives you may not have mentioned for whatever reason?

    I appreciate that with this issue, most people are slaves to absolute convenience unless their choice in the matter is removed, so I’m hoping you may have held back on a couple of other easy options on the basis that people wont do it if it involves the slightest effort on their part in any way.

    1. In our house, we ended up with a good male : female compromise last winter whereby I turned down the house thermostat to waste less money overheating the general atmosphere and my wife bought an electrically heated rug to warm herself whilst sat on the sofa. The theory being that you then target the heating more like a sniper and less like a drunk with an AK47 😉

    2. Survivor, halogen heaters are indeed more effective as they do radiate infra red heat and can be directed (or focused) towards you so they can be set to a lower temperature and you still feel warm. In this respect they would likely cost you less to use than a traditional warm air fan heater. But both of these are still pretty inefficient electric heating devices.

      For real freebie tips there are things like, don’t sit next to windows as you will feel cold and make sure you have the curtains open when the sun is shining to make sure you benefit from solar gain. Marginal gains but they all help!

  13. Survivor · · Reply

    @ Doug ……. damn, I was so hoping for a breakthrough from geothermal, but that seems as far away as ever domestically – I have a plumber buddy who went to a free demo/course by a Scandinavian company ~10 years ago & came away hugely impressed & convinced it would be the future here.

    Interestingly, when I was working in Kenya 20 years ago, there was a National park called Hell’s Gate near the capital where fissures in the rift valley floor sent up steam from the surface of the earth in broad day light. All this with iconic African wildlife all around ….. & recently I see they built a big geothermal powerplant at that location which is all the more awesome for a developing [energy/technology-starved] country. Yet we in Europe with all our comparative resources can’t get our act together enough to have viable domestic options for neither geothermal nor the air-pump systems; so it makes me smile when people speak about corruption & ineptitude as if it were only a third world phenomenon.

    @ TEA – Ok, I wasn’t going to say because I didn’t want to look mad, but I, like your wife, also use that magic device – mine’s like a poncho that plugs into the socket next to my desk at home in my office. Basically it’s just a wearable electric blanket I bought from lidl a couple of years ago for a few bucks. When you’re on the move in the house, you just unplug the connection & if you’re reading say, on the couch or watching a film later, you again plug in wherever you’re stationary for a while 🙂 …….I do not however admit to this openly, people are instinctively judgemental, Mr TEA.

    1. Survivor – don’t worry, your secret is safe with us 😉

  14. […] 10 methods to slash your property power invoice – The Escape Artist […]

  15. I appreciate a lot for your time in writing this educative article.

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