With the weather changing and the energy bill price rise looming, many people are looking for ways to heat their homes for less this chilly season. In our article we’ll look at some ways to do this that you might not have considered before.
1. Check the settings on your boiler
When you got your boiler installed (or moved into your home) did you check the settings? Every boiler should have controls to control the temperature of your radiators and your hot water, whether these are an older style dials or an LED display.
It’s generally agreed that the optimum temperature is 60°c for your hot water and 70°c for your radiators. Anything over this is potentially just wasting energy and therefore money.
As well as this, some boilers will have an ‘eco’ mode. This means that your boiler won’t heat unless you need it to. You will have to wait for hot water out of the taps, you won’t be using gas unless you need to.
2. Lower your thermostat a touch
Similarly to lowering the temperature on your boiler, double check that you’re in the optimum heat range on your thermostats too. 18-21°c is widely regarded to be the perfect temperature in your home, but each degree colder you can manage means savings. It’s estimated at for each degree lower you have your heating set to, you could be saving around £65 a year.
As is the favourite mantra of many dads around the country, if you’re cold put on a jumper!
3. Get TRVs fitted
Thermostatic Radiator Valves are designed to give you greater control over the heat of a room. They self-regulate, which means when you put them on a setting they will automatically increase or restrict the water flow into your radiator to maintain the desired temperature.
TRVs are great because they allow you to control each room of your home individually, therefore saving on potential wasted energy.
Let’s say for example you have a living room where you spend most of your time, you like your bedroom to be colder to sleep in, and you have a spare room that is rarely used. Without TRVs, when your heating it turned on all of these rooms are being heated equally. However, once you have TRVs installed, you can set your living room to 5 to be cosy in the evening. Your bedroom can be set to 2 so you’re not sweaty while you sleep, and your spare room can be on frost protect (meaning it’s not being heated at all).
4. Prevent draughts
No matter how well insulated your home is, there will always be some heat lost to the outside. However, there are some steps you can take to minimise this as far as possible.
If you have gaps under your doors, either internal or external, you may be losing more heat than you think. A squishy cushion pushed up against the door can help to prevent cold draughts from stealing the warmth. You can also get adhesive tape to go around door edges to block up smaller gaps.
If your letter box is open to the outside it may also be losing a lot of heat, so you can get draught excluders that fit in there, too.
If you’re noticing draughts around window frames or other wall installations that open to outside, you may be able to easily prevent them by replenishing or replacing the silicone that seals the gap. If it’s in generally good condition, you can probably just top it up, but it may be better to remove and replace it.
5. Bleed your radiators
Air can sometimes get into your central heating system, which can settle in your radiators. This leads them to be less efficient. As you would expect, a large pocket of air in your radiator means that it doesn’t get as hot as it should, which in turn means you may find yourself running your heating for longer to reach your desired temperature.
To bleed your radiators, you simply need a radiator key and a cloth or rag. Holding the cloth underneath, turn the key anticlockwise in the valve until the air starts to leak out. Don’t open it too much, and wait until a little water dribbles out and then close it again by turning it clockwise.
6. Don’t dry clothes on radiators
When the weather turns it may not be an option for you to dry clothes outside anymore, but running your tumble dryer (if you have one) can be a costly expense. Many people therefore choose to dry clothes on their radiators, but did you know this can make your heating less efficient?
Covering your radiators with clothes stops the heat from reaching the air to warm your room. This is true whether or not the clothes are dry. If you need to dry your clothes indoors, put them on an airer close to the radiator, rather than hanging over it directly.
Drying clothes indoors can also cause to excess moisture in the air, which can lead to damp and mould. To prevent this and keep your humidity in safe ranges, you could consider a dehumidifier. Many even have a specific laundry mode for drying clothes more efficiently.
7. Panel heaters
Using panel heaters can save you money over using your gas radiators. Not only do electric panel heaters use less energy, they are also more efficient, making them a cheaper choice to heat your home.
We go into more detail over in our article Gas v Electric: Which One Is Cheaper To Heat Your Home?, but, to summarise, in a home with 5 rooms an electric panel heating system will cost £624 a month, whereas a gas heating system will cost £864.
This means that the cost you spend to get electric panel heaters installed in your home will be paid back in around 2 months.
You can also save even more money thanks to the efficiency and control you have over your electric panel heaters when compared to gas central heating. Zone control, smart features, and 100% efficient means that you will only ever use the energy you absolutely need, rather than trying to compensate for poorly insulated pipes or heating rooms that are empty.