solar installers with solar panel

How To Live More Sustainably And Save Energy This Summer

Summer’s longer days and warmer temperatures tend to mean that you don’t have to spend as much money on heating or lighting your home. However, there are still many calls on your pocket when it comes to electricity bills and other power requirements. Making conscious decisions to save energy and reduce the reliance your household has on fossil fuels and the National Grid over the summer will not only help you to cut expenditure, but will also contribute to a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly way of life.

From finding non-electric ways to cool your home on a hot day to contacting local solar installers, here are some ideas to help you save energy this summer.

Use The Outdoors

One great advantage to summer is the ability to move much more of your life and daily routines outdoors. This can often lead to reduced reliance on electricity. For example, eating meals in the garden is great fun and firing up the BBQ or making a big salad reduces the amount of fuel needed for cooking lunch and/or supper too. You could also encourage the whole family to spend time outside. This helps cut down on electricity used to power games consoles, TVs, smartphones and tablets and you can even teach the kids how to grow and harvest their own food and flowers.

Contact Solar Installers

If you have been thinking about installing solar panels, then summer could be an excellent time to bite the bullet and get it done. Longer, sunnier days will allow the work to be completed without being interrupted by inclement weather. You can also have more time to get used to living with your new electricity generation arrangements. As autumn turns to winter, temperatures will drop, evenings will draw in and you will need to rely more on power to heat and light your business or home. Ask your solar installers about solar batteries, so you can store any excess electricity that is not needed straight away.

Keep Things Cool

Before you reach for the air conditioning controls, if you have a system installed, think about other ways you can cool down your home. Often, you can keep the air moving and the temperature down for free, or for much less cost. Open the windows and internal doors. If there is any sort of cooling breeze outside, this can help air circulate throughout the house. Open windows at all sides of the property for an uninterrupted air flow. Of course, if the air outside is warmer, keep the windows shut and consider closing the curtains too – it is normally easier to stop warm air entering a home than cooling it down once it is inside.

house with drawn curtain during hot summer to save energy

Have An Energy Efficient Summer

Think carefully about how you use your appliances and amenities during the summer. There could be many ways to reduce the amount of energy you use. For example, switching to a cooler setting for the clothes washing machine and waiting until you have a full load to do. Also, warmer summer days enable you to dry clothes outside instead of relying on the tumble dryer. Turn appliances off at the mains when heading out for a summer day out or holiday to save energy. Turn the thermostat down a notch or two and get your boiler serviced now, ahead of the winter months. Defrost the fridge and freezer so that it doesn’t have to work quite so hard and to keep it running efficiently.

Watch Your Water Use

Saving water is a great way to live more sustainably and this is possible even in the hotter summer months. You could collect rainwater to water the garden, rather than running the hose too much. Water the lawn and plants in the early morning or evening so that water doesn’t evaporate too much during the heat of the day. Save the water that you use to wash salad leaves, fruit and veg to add to a bird bath outside. Look at installing water saving devices such as an aerator for your taps or a timer for your shower. Put a jug of water in the fridge for people to help themselves when they feel thirsty or hot. When we run the tap to wait for the water to cool down each time we want a drink, this can waste a lot of water.

solar panels installed on a roof by solar installers

How To Choose The Right Solar Installers For Your Household

As with any significant investment, it is very important to find a suitable solar installer to fit your solar panel system. This will help you avoid scams, keep the costs lower and ensure a quality installation with, hopefully, decent after-sales care. So, how do you sort out the wheat from the chaff and find a company that is trustworthy, efficient and affordable? The answer lies in carrying out plenty of research in advance and asking the right questions to the right people. Here are some tips to get you started on finding the best solar installers for you.

Look for MCS accreditation

The best way to ensure that your solar installer is adequately certified for the work is to check that they are MCS accredited. MCS stands for Microgeneration Certification Scheme and is a required industry standard for manufacturers and fitters working in the renewable energy sector. Such is the importance of this certification that you will not be able to take advantage of the UK Government’s Feed-in Tariff unless your solar panels have been installed by an MCS-accredited company.

Check online reviews

We have become accustomed to searching online for reviews from people who have previously bought a product or used a service that we are interested in. This is a crucial step to take when considering employing solar installers too. Always look for third-party reviews from an unbiased review site, rather than only relying on what the company’s website says. After all, anyone can invent their own reviews and make them seem as glowing as possible!

Get in-person solar installer recommendations

Despite the ubiquitous nature of online reviews, there is still a lot of value in seeking ‘real life’ opinions as well. Ask the solar panel companies you are interested in if they can pass on the details of previous satisfied customers for you to speak to. If you happen to see solar panel installation work taking place in your neighbourhood, knock on the door and ask what the householders think of the work being done. You may even be able to negotiate a discount if you can offer the company more work in the same local area.

solar installers working on solar panels on top of a home

Beware of pushy sales techniques

Again, reputable companies won’t need to fall back on pushy sales tactics to secure customers – the quality of their work should speak for itself. If a sales representative tries to offer ‘quick decision’ offers, such as on-the-spot discounts or very short windows of time to buy at a certain price, avoid taking the bait! You should be given enough time to think their quote over and ask any questions you have before committing to the work being done.

Secure multiple quotations

Always ask a few different companies for quotes before choosing which one to give the work to. This means that you can get a better idea of the going price for the type of work you need to have done in your local area. This stops you from being taken in by an overinflated quote or opting for a suspiciously low offer, which doesn’t contain everything you need it to. While this can take a little longer in the early stages of the project, it can pay dividends later on. You can be more confident that you have chosen a suitable solar installer by comparing the different options side by side.

Clarify what’s included

Always get a quote in writing and sent to you, for example by email or post, for your records. This allows you to have a record of what is being offered in case of any discrepancies later on. Check what is included in the quote and what might be extra, such as any electrical work, after-sales care and clearing away of rubbish and ‘making good’ at the end of the project. You should also ensure that the terms of any guarantees or warranties associated with the job are laid out in the details of the quote for full transparency.

Find out what after-care is on offer

After-sales care is important for the ongoing maintenance of your new solar panel system., Find out what is offered and for how long. For instance, does the company offer an annual maintenance service and is this included in the installation price? If so, for how long? How much will it be to continue the service after the agreement comes to an end? Finally, can the company offer you any related energy-saving advice, e.g. ideas for improving the overall Energy Performance Certificate score for your property?