The number of people working from home is constantly on the increase, with 4.2 million of us telecommuting - that's 13.9% of all working adults - according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. This is the highest the number of home-workers has been since records began.
Mobile technology is making it easier than ever to keep in touch with colleagues and complete work-related tasks from anywhere there's an internet connection. And who wouldn't like to work from the comfort of their own home?
If you work from home, you're probably aware that a huge proportion of your gas and electricity consumption results from business use. Even if you have a family or live with other people, you may be the only person at home throughout the daylight hours, and almost all of your daytime energy usage will therefore be a direct result of your home business.
But when you fill in your yearly tax return, you will likely find that HMRC does not view your energy use in the same way, and that only a small fraction of your gas and electricity bill is tax-deductible. You have to calculate the proportion of your home's floor space that your office or working area occupies, and you can only claim back this percentage, despite the fact that your central heating will have also been heating the rest of your home - including other work-essential areas such as the bathroom.
This means homeworkers face larger energy expenses than the rest of the population, and can only claim back a small proportion of these expenses. As a result, energy efficiency is even more important for home-workers than it is for your average homeowner.
A boiler replacement is one of the best ways for home business owners to reduce their overheads and cut their energy bills. Boilers represent at least half of the average household's annual energy bill, but older boilers can waste more than 30% of the energy they consume, whereas newer, A-rated boilers can be 100% energy-efficient.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, a typical semi-detached house in England, Scotland and Wales could save £305 every year by getting rid of a G-rated old boiler with no controls, replacing it with an A-rated condensing boiler, and installing thermostatic radiator controls, a programmer and a room thermostat.
Modern boilers are more efficient than their predecessors for a wide range of reasons, but the key technological improvement in recent years has been the introduction of condensing systems. All modern boilers are condensing boilers, which means they have a bigger heat exchanger than older models, and can recover more heat from the gases that are sent out of the flue.
The impact a boiler replacement can have on your bottom line can be far more nuanced than just the reduction in your energy bills.
Buying and installing a new, energy-efficient boiler could cost you up to £3,000. This sounds like a lot, but you will be able to recover the cost of this after less than a decade when considering the energy-saving potential of the appliance and the ever-increasing cost of gas.
But if you think you'll struggle to afford such a large expense, there are a number of avenues worth exploring that could help you pay for a replacement boiler without breaking the bank.
Author Bio : Kevin Burke writes about energy efficiency and other money-saving matters on behalf of 247 Home Rescue, a boiler cover provider based in Lancashire. Connect with them on Twitter and Google+!
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