A recent survey conducted by energy switching company, Utility Bidder, has indicated that the best date to turn your heating off this year was 14th March. This date represents a balance between the weather starting to get a little warmer and a desire to reduce heating costs after a winter where many have seen their bills rise due to working and learning from home during lockdown.
However, while we saw temperatures of up to 20° at the end of March, the weather has turned significantly cooler over the last couple of weeks with overnight frosts and below 0° temperatures, so have you dared turn it off yet?
If you want to reduce your bills but can’t quite bring yourself to turn the heating off completely yet, there is a middle ground where you can make some adjustments to still keep the house at a bearable temperature while saving some energy:
Adjust the timer
If your heating timer is still on the same settings as it has been all winter, you’re probably wasting energy. Now that we have much longer daylight hours since the clocks went forward in March, the sun will add extra warmth so you could set the heating to come on later in the evening and you may only need it for a short period in the morning. Half the heating period and you half your heating costs – it’s that simple.
Adjust thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) in each room
Rather than a one size fits all approach, heat each room according to need by adjusting thermostatic radiator valves in each room individually. Some rooms may not be used as much as others, such as spare bedrooms, and some may get a sunnier aspect now we’re in spring which makes it naturally warmer. Turn the radiators down in these areas to avoid spending money for no real benefit.
Turn the temperature down on the thermostat
As well as adjusting TRVs on radiators, turn down the general temperature on the thermostat as you definitely don’t need it as high as in winter now.
If you’re ready to go cold turkey – literally – by just turning the heating off completely, there are several things you can do to keep you feeling warm without the radiators:
Keep wearing your winter woollies
It may be looking like T-shirt weather outside, but it can still feel pretty cool so don’t pack the jumpers and thick socks away just yet. Keep dressing for winter indoors and it will compensate for the radiators not being on.
Close curtains once it gets dusk
Sunnier days should help to bring some warmth in via the windows so take advantage of this during daylight hours but close curtains and blinds as soon as dusk falls to retain as much of the heat as possible.
Rugs and draught excluders
Rugs can help trap heat between the rug and the floor, even if it’s a hard floor. A lot of heat can escape from the gaps under doors so use old fashioned draught excluders to minimise this heat loss
Don’t worry, we don’t mean run on the spot or drop down every half an hour for some burpees, just move around every so often just to keep the blood circulating. This could just be to make a cup of tea, go to the loo, or do a job like emptying the dishwasher. You’re most likely to feel the cold when staying still, plus movement is good for your health. However, if you feel like you deserve a night of Netflix on the sofa, a nice soft blanket will also help keep you toasty!
Remember, of course, that all these things can also be done in conjunction with keeping the heating but making adjustments as outlined in the first section.
Actually, there are a few things you do need to think about over the spring and summer when the heating’s off, and they will also help you save money and keep your boiler working well for longer:
Turn the heating on once a month
Turning the heating on in the middle of August probably seems counter-intuitive but most of the boiler problems that we encounter come in the autumn when people turn their heating on after being idle for months. By just switching it on for 10 minutes or so once a month you can help keep everything working properly and prevent it seizing up in September.
Turn the TRVs up
We know that we told you to turn the TRVs down in the first section but once the heating is off completely, turn them up to maximum. This will help prevent the internal pins sticking to the seat of the valve while turned off.
Get the boiler serviced
Summer is a great time to get the boiler serviced: it’s less disruptive plus if you do need anything doing, it won’t be a hardship to manage without heating while it’s being done. It will also give it a good health check after working hard all winter.
Summer is the best time to get round to any maintenance your heating system will benefit from such as bleeding the radiators, adding inhibitor, or conducting a powerflush. You will then get your heating system primed and ready for turning back on again later in the year.
If you need any help with any aspect of boiler or heating system maintenance, you can call us on 0333 577 0151 or get in touch via the contact page.
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