As the temperature drops outside it’s time to turn on the heating. But with energy costs running high this winter, here are some ideas to keep your home’s heating running efficiently:
Cut out cold draughts
Draught proofing is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to cut your energy costs. It’s simple enough – keep the warm air in and the cold air out. And even better? It’s cheap and will pay back faster than almost any other home improvements.
To start, just wander round your home and feel for draughts. Pay particular attention to windows, doors, chimneys, floorboards, skirting, loft hatches and pipes. There are plenty of DIY options or you can book a professional to tackle the problem with stick-on sealing strips, brush strips and decorators caulk.
Don’t stop all your ventilation, though, as a bit of airflow keeps your home healthy and stops condensation, damp and mould. So never block up trickle vents in windows, air flow vents or underfloor grilles – and let your extractor fans do their job because it’s an important one!
Less heat, more savings
You might have heard this one before but it’s worth experimenting with your thermostat setting. Even knocking off 1°C can make a big difference. It might mean putting a jumper on or thicker socks but it can save you bundles over the winter.
There’s another small change that makes a big difference – and this one’s on your boiler. If you have a condensing combi boiler (which means no hot water cylinder and it’s less than 17 years old) you can fine tune your heating’s ‘flow temperature’. This means your radiators use cooler water, which can save 6-8% on gas and stay just as comfortable. It’s simple to change your boiler’s flow temperature or you can ask your heating engineer to help while they’re servicing your boiler.
Give your boiler some love
When did you last have your boiler serviced? Regular servicing keeps things running safely – and efficiently. Your heating engineer will clean out your boiler’s insides, getting rid of old gunk to sharpen up your boiler’s performance.
If you’re thinking about replacing your boiler, you might see some big steps in efficiency too. Newer boilers use less fuel than older models – especially if your old boiler is 20 years old or more. So if it’s on the cards, swap your boiler sooner than later to cut your winter heating costs.
The other option is to swap out your boiler for a more efficient alternative. Heat pumps are getting much more common – and can bring costs down too. Air source heat pumps work by drawing latent heat from the air. They work best in homes which are well insulated and they’re an ideal match for underfloor heating or large radiators.
Check your radiators
Your boiler heats your water but your radiators heat your home – and if they’re not working properly they’ll be less efficient.
When your heating’s on, carefully check the top of your radiator by running a hand over it (if it isn’t too hot). If you find any cold spots on top a radiator bleed should sort things out. You can either do it yourself or ask one of our experts if you’re having your boiler serviced. If there are cold spots at the bottom of your radiators or they’re giving you other problems, though, you might need a full system clean and flush – which is definitely a job for a heating engineer.
These small changes are simple ways to improve your home’s efficiency as you heat it this winter – and hopefully keep those energy bills down.