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How to heat your home EFFICIENTLY

Striking the right balance between staying warm and saving money

Heating your home costs money, we all know this, but by following a few simple tips you can keep warm while minimising the cost and saving energy. Some of these tips are related to how you use your boiler and central heating system and some are other things you can do around the home to minimise heat loss.

1. Heating on a timer or heating on low all the time?

This is a common question that we get asked; is it more cost effective to leave the heating on low all the time or set it to come on when needed? It is actually a myth that it’s more efficient to heat your home all day because, by definition, you’re using more energy. You’re heating the home when there’s nobody there and potentially it may not be warm enough when you are at home which doesn’t make sense. Set the timer on your boiler for the common times when you’re at home – usually in the morning for when everyone is getting up and in the evening. Remember that radiators will take a little while to cool down so you can usually set it to turn off a little before you leave the house or go to bed and it will still be warm enough until that time. If you have a smart heating system such as Nest you can easily vary this every day if you don’t keep a regular schedule.

2. Use the valves on the radiators to vary temperature per room

Temperature can be controlled by the thermostat on the boiler and by the valves on the radiators. Purely using the boiler thermostat to control temperature will give you an even heat throughout the house but it’s actually more efficient to control each room individually. For example, if you have rooms or areas that don’t get used as much, such as spare bedrooms or hallways, then it makes more sense to turn those radiators down a little. Likewise, if you have one room that needs to be much warmer such as the living room or a room that’s occupied by someone who’s elderly or unwell, you don’t need to heat the whole house to the same level. You should also bleed your radiators regularly to keep them working properly.

3. Heating just one room

If everyone is using one room, such as the living room, and you have an alternative heat source such, as a gas fire or wood burner, for example, it may be more efficient to just heat that room rather than the whole house. However this only applies if the heat source is an energy efficient appliance in itself. For example, an electric heater can be expensive to run so it wouldn’t make sense to use that.

4. Keep doors and curtains closed

Wasted energy is wasted money so take steps to prevent energy leaking out. Simple things like keeping internal doors and curtains closed can make a difference. The thicker and heavier the curtains (you can buy them in thermal fabric), the better. To create the best ‘seal’, make sure blinds are fit tight to the window and curtains are best if they reach the floor and are as close to the window as possible. Keep them open during the day to allow the heat from natural light in but close at dusk.

5. Insulate your home

Prevent heat leaking out of your home by insulating it well. Energy efficient double glazing windows, cavity wall insulation and loft insulation will all help retain heat within the home. One way of gauging how much energy your house is losing is when it snows or is very frosty, does your roof defrost faster than your neighbours’? If it does it can be an indication that heat is escaping.

6. Measure your energy usage with a smart meter

Truly controlling your energy usage requires knowing where you’re spending the most. Having a smart meter installed (most energy providers are offering them free of charge) will enable you to see exactly how you’re using energy so you can see which areas you should prioritise (and which ones you can do something about).

Of course, the most cost effective way to heat your home is to have an energy efficient boiler and to keep it running well through regular servicing. If you think your boiler is not working as efficiently as it could be or may even require replacing, give us a call on 0800 0326478 so we can advise you on the best course of action.

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