How to save money on your heating

How to save money on your heating

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester

Guide written by:

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester

54 guides

Heating your home represents a huge chunk of your overall energy bill so if you're looking to save money, this is a good place to start. Lowering or programming your thermostat and properly insulating your home can help, and grants are available if you find yourself having to replace a radiator or boiler.

Important features

  • Temperature settings
  • Programming
  • Replacing heating appliances
  • Schemes and grants
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Heating your home makes up over half of your overall energy bill. If you combine this with the costs of supplying domestic hot water (DHW), the proportion is even higher. So it's safe to say that if you are looking to make savings, your heating bill should be your first priority. Luckily, there are plenty of ways of cutting down on your heating costs, such as:

  • following a few common-sense rules; for example, adjusting the temperature to match the room;
  • improving your home's insulation; essential if you're looking to really cut down on your bills;
  • replacing all or some of your heating appliances.

In addition to saving money, cutting back on heating is great for the environment. Renewable energy is better for the planet and can also be cheaper; it is even possible to apply for energy grants and financial incentives to help you get set up!

First of all, instead of automatically turning on your heater, why not think about putting a jumper on instead? Adopting a few other similar habits on a daily basis can help you make significant savings on your energy bill.

Adjusting the temperature to match the room

The temperature at which you set your heating should be chosen according to the room you want to heat. For example, a bedroom doesn't need to be heated in the same way as a living room or kitchen.

Here's a quick comparison to help you heat each room appropriately:

Room

Approximate temperature

Kitchen

19°C

Dining room or living room

19°C

Living room

19°C

Bedroom

16°C / 17°C

Office

19°C

Bathroom

19°C /  22°C (when in use)

Managing your heating when you're not around

Away for a few days

Rather than heating your home unnecessarily, think about setting your heating to about 14°C when you're not around. This temperature often corresponds to an 'eco' mode on most radiators or boilers.

Bear in mind that anything lower than 14°C can cause your walls to cool down which will then require more energy to get your home back up to a comfortable temperature when you return.

Away for the day

Keeping your thermostat set to 17°C will help to reduce your heating bill. In fact, each degree cooler will save you about 7% on your bill.

Long-term absences

It is a good idea to set your thermostat to around 12°C if you plan to be away for a while. This temperature helps to prevent condensation and usually corresponds to a frost protection mode on heating appliances.

Programming thermostats and thermostatic valves

Programming your heating system is key to reducing your overall energy consumption. Depending on your system, you might be able to do this directly on your boiler or via timers on your radiators.

Opt for thermostatic mixing valves

Thermostatic mixing valves allow you a greater degree of precision when setting water temperatures. While they are more expensive to purchase than a single or dual lever mixer tap, they will save you money in the long run.

Central control programmers

If you have electric radiators, a centralised programming system is the most effective way to make significant energy savings. This can be done via a pilot wire, powerline communication (PLC) or an RF programmer.

Setting heating zones and times

Setting different heating zones (i.e. groups of electric radiators) and specific time slots to match your habits will help you to save even more money.

It's worth noting that even if you don't have a centralised control system, you can still use individual timers on each radiator.

Maintaining your heating appliances

Boiler maintenance needs to be carried out on a yearly basis by a professional engineer. A gas engineer will come to check that your boiler is in good working condition and perform any repairs required to ensure your system works as expected.

However, annual maintenance alone isn't enough. You'll also have to carry out a few simple tasks to ensure your heating is working as efficiently as possible, such as:

  • using a dry cloth to remove dust from components or an angled brush if required;
  • letting the air out of your central heating radiators before the start of the cold season. To bleed your radiators, you'll need a screwdriver and a container to catch any water;
  • insulating any pipes supplying hot water to non-insulated rooms.

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Central heating radiators

A well-insulated home will, of course, save you money on your heating bills. If your home is not adequately insulated, there are several factors to consider in order to improve the situation.

Heat loss

A poorly insulated home will suffer from heat loss which means your heating system has to work overtime. In this case, you may need to re-insulate your home to bring it up to an acceptable standard. A correctly insulated home will help to make real savings.

Priority areas

Different parts of your home are responsible for different amounts of heat loss which is important to consider if you're trying to make your home more energy efficient through insulation:

  • the roof: responsible for almost 30% of overall heat loss, your roof is the most important part of your home to insulate;
  • walls are responsible for about 20% of heat loss and are just behind the roof in the list of insulation priorities.
  • windows, thermal bridges and floors come next representing about 8% each.

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Insulation

Replacing your old electric or central heating radiators can save you a lot of money. While buying a new boiler is a somewhat radical and costly solution, it is sometimes necessary.

Before you start work on your heating system, you'll need to do your research. First of all, you'll need to think about choosing the most appropriate system for your needs and weigh up the least expensive energy sources whether this be wood or a renewable energy.

Furthermore, it's a good idea to look into any schemes or grants that might be able to give you a helping hand.

UK energy efficiency grants and schemes

The cost of insulating your home or changing your heating appliances is often high making it an off-putting option to most. However, help is available in the form of energy efficiency grants:

  • the Green Homes Grant is available to homeowners and landlords in England and consists of a voucher to be put towards the cost of installing energy efficient and making low-carbon heating improvements to homes;
  • Warmer Homes Scotland is a government-funded scheme aimed at changing homes to make them work more efficiently;
  • The Nest scheme in Wales is also aimed at helping those eligible to make energy efficiency improvements to their home such as a new boiler, central heating or insulation.

Shop our electric radiators

Guide written by:

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester, 54 guides

Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester

For several years I have been running a garden service with a clientele of both individuals and companies. I manage a team of gardeners and ensure the creation and maintenance of green spaces. At the same time, I bring my expertise to my clients in terms of the maintenance and improvement of their gardens. In fact, as a trainee and working in the hospitality industry at the beginning of my career, I focused on landscaping in a local community where I acquired solid technical skills through in-house training and the follow-up of major projects in a rapidly changing town. On a personal level, I am equally oriented towards the art of gardening. With my wife, I created our garden from start to finish and I maintain it carefully, the same goes for the vegetable garden. As for DIYing, it’s not to be outdone. Yes, gardening is also tinkering: pergola, hut, pavement, fence, and so on...There is always something to do in a garden. After working well together, my wife and I are proud of the result and delighted to be able to take full advantage of a friendly and warm environment. So, let us give you advice and help you in your choice of tools, maintenance, or improvement of your garden, nothing could be simpler.