Monday 22 November 2021

Easy Ways To Reduce Your Heating Bills

* Collaborative post 

As autumn slowly turns to winter and the colder days and freezing nights set in, you'll probably be thinking about how to save money on gas and electricity bills because heating your home in winter obviously costs more. You might also just be worried about ways to reduce energy consumption at home to save a little money here and there. Whatever your reasons, don't worry, because you've come to the right place. Today we'll take you through some top tips for cutting your heating bills this winter, and do you want to know the best part? Everything on this list is easy to implement! So, let's get started, shall we?

1. Replace Your Boiler (Hear Us Out a Second...) 

Now we know, this idea might put you off the second you read it, especially when you consider how a new boiler can cost you thousands of pounds. Still, this suggestion is important. Old boilers are not as energy efficient as newer ones and will therefore cost you far more money to run. This first suggestion won't apply to everybody, especially if you're in a relatively new build or have a boiler that's 'good enough', then you don't need to worry about updating to the latest boilers just yet.

But, if your boiler is really old, then replacing it is one of the only ways to reduce energy consumption at home and therefore save you money on your heating bills. The initial investment in a new boiler might be eye-watering, but it will eventually pay for itself after you start saving big money on your monthly heating bills.

2. Have Your Boiler Serviced 

This is a simple decision, even for people with a new boiler. Having your boiler serviced is quick and easy. Just call a fully qualified heating engineer and they'll come over and take care of everything. They'll look for visible damage, test the heating and controls, clean the key components of the boiler, and carry out a huge checklist of tests. 

The purpose of all this? Simply to make sure your boiler is running as efficiently as it should. A boiler that isn't performing at the top of its game is going to cost you more money, because it isn't heating your home effectively. So either a) you'll turn up the thermostat and that will cost you more, or b) your boiler will work twice as hard to maintain the temperature you set, and that will cost you more. Either way, a serviced boiler is a cost effective boiler. 

3. Update The Heating Controls 

If you don't plan on replacing your boiler entirely, then this is a good second option. In fact, this is perfect for those people with boilers that are 'good enough' but aren't the latest models available. Most boilers will have a thermostat that can work off a timer - so you can set when you want your heating to come on and go off throughout the day. At the moment smart meters and smart devices help you connect to your heating while you are away making it easier to set the heating on ready for when you return.

But there are many other heating controls that might help: 

  • Programmer - sets times AND temperatures throughout the day

  • Load compensating/weather compensating thermostats - adjusts heating controls based on inside temperatures (load compensating) or outside temperatures (weather compensating)

  • Smart thermostats - remote control of heating, sometimes weather responsive, set timers, programmers, etc. 

Of course, smart thermostatic heating systems are the most effective, and will save you money because it puts you in full control of your heating at all times, so you never waste money heating your home unnecessarily, or to too high a temperature. But any improvement on your heating controls will save you money on your heating bills because it allows your heating to work for you in a much smarter and more efficient way. 

4. Clean Your Radiator System 

It doesn't sound like it'll make an enormous difference, but a dirty radiator system is inefficient, and will therefore cost you more to run. If you're looking at how to save money on gas and electricity bills, then this is a simple place to start. NOTE: if you're planning on having your boiler serviced, your engineer will probably clean the radiator system too, but if you follow a few simple steps below, you'll be able to know if they need to clean your radiator more thoroughly using a power or chemical flush (rather than just bleeding the radiators dry and filling up the system with new, clean water). 

The way to know if your radiator system needs cleaning is simply by touching them after you've turned the heating on. Does one or more take longer than others to heat up? Do some of them still have cooler patches, even when the others are heated fully? On average, it should take around 40-60 minutes for a radiator to be fully heated, so bear this in mind whilst you're checking. 

If your radiator system is really dirty, then an engineer will need to come and perform either a power flush (using a special power washer to remove sludge build-up) or a chemical flush (using a chemical cleaner). This will cost you more, but the savings on your heating bills make it worth it. A simple gravity flush (emptying the water and replacing it) can be done yourself, if you wish. Whichever way it happens, though, a clean radiator system is a money-saving one!

5. Lower Your Temperatures 

Now, this won't be something you want to hear at the height of winter when temperatures dip below freezing. But, we're not suggesting you lower your temperatures by a huge amount. Turning your thermostat down by just 1 degree can save you £60-£80 per year. Often people have temperatures too high in their home anyway, without realizing it. 

Try turning your temperature down by a degree at a time until you reach the lowest temperature, you're comfortable with. And don't forget some simple practical heating tips too, to keep the heat in:

  • Close doors to keep heat trapped in the room

  • Use radiator reflectors in your home

  • Close your curtains

  • Wrap up warm and have some blankets lying around 

We're in no way suggesting you ought to reduce temperatures in your home until you're uncomfortable. Staying warm in winter is essential, and your health and comfort levels are far more important than saving a few pounds here and there. But if you take some practical steps and turn the temperature down by a degree or two, you could see a serious difference in your heating bills!

Take-Home Message

All the tips here are simple and will save you money on your heating bills. The key is to make sure your boiler and heating systems are working as they should be, to be mindful of when and how you use your heating and for how long, and to make sure you're staying as up to date as you can with the latest heating and boiler technologies because this helps them to be the most efficient. Besides that, there's not much you can do to influence your heating bills, but the steps above should save you enough money to keep you satisfied until next winter!

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