Looking for ways to reduce heating bills? There are several steps you can take that could cut your costs drastically.
I’m sure most of us have seen the advert – if you turn your thermostat down one degree then you could reduce heating bills by £85 a year on average. But you will also be colder. With energy prices on the rise, there are several alternative ways in which you can reduce your heating costs and stay warm.
How can I reduce my heating bill?
If you’re planning on living in your house for the long-term, then there are several investments you can make to help you save money for the rest of the time you’re there. Yes, there are some initial costs, but they are well worth the money.
Changing your boiler
Older boilers are very inefficient, which means they take a lot more energy to create heat. In-turn, that means it costs you more.
The table below shows how much you can save per year if you upgrade to an A-rated condensing boiler with a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator control (taken from the Energy Saving Trust).
|Old boiler rating||Semi-detached house||Detached house||Detached bungalow||Mid terrace house||Mid floor flat|
|G ( < 70%)||£200||£305||£155||£175||£95|
Bear in mind that changing your boiler isn’t cheap, so you have to consider making the change very carefully. It could be many years before you make your money back.
Does switching off radiators save money?
Instead of changing your boiler, you could look at making it work more efficiently. Switching off radiators in unused rooms around the house will mean that your boiler won’t have to work so hard. In turn, this will save you money.
Moving on from boilers and radiators, it’s important to check that you aren’t losing heat around the home unnecessarily. There are several areas of the house which you should pay close attention to.
The first is to check the insulation in your loft. It is estimated that 25% of heat is lost through your roof so check that your insulation is up to scratch. The recommended minimum is 270mm, so if it’s below this then it is worth topping up. It’s fairly cheap to do and you don’t need any technical know-how, but it can take a couple of hours depending on how flexible you are and the depth of your roof. There are various types you can buy, just choose which you think will be the most appropriate. Amazon has plenty to choose from here or alternatively, just pop down to your local B&Q or Homebase for advice.
Unbelievably, 35% of heat is lost through walls. It is definitely worth checking to see if you have cavity wall insulation. Insulating your cavity walls could save up to £275 a year for a detached house according to the Energy Saving Trust. This article explains how to check if your house is suitable. If you’re not sure you could ask a specialist to visit.
According to Which, insulation will cost anywhere between £330 and £720 dependent on size. However, you should see a return for your money within 3-4 years.
Finally, 10% of heat can be lost through doors and windows. This isn’t a huge amount, so think carefully whether it is cost-effective to change all of your glazing if you only have single glazed panes. Draught proofing could be a cheap and easy way of reducing heat loss.
Before you spend…
Check with your energy supplier before you purchase any insulation. Companies such as E.on and EDF offer free insulation to customers on certain benefits. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
You don’t just have to just rely on old fashioned methods anymore to improve the heat efficiency in your house. Technology could also help reduce your heating bills.
Smart thermostats are a 21st century way to reduce heating bills. Not only do they control your heating (and water) remotely, they are more efficient than standard thermostats and manufacturers claim they can save between 20-40% on your heating costs. Although they will cost you around £200, you should be able to save that amount on your bill within 2-3 years. You can find more about my Nest thermostat.
It is planned that every household will have a smart meter by 2020. These meters will send your meter readings to your energy supplier digitally. This should give you more accurate bills, and also allow you to track your energy usage. Being able to do this will allow you to see where your energy is being spent or potentially wasted. It will cost you nothing to have a smart meter installed and all you need to do is call your energy supplier and arrange for installation. However, if a smart meter is to save you money, you will need to be very pro-active. Find out more about smart meters.
Switch your supplier
If you haven’t changed energy providers in quite a while, then the chances are, you’re paying too much for your gas and electricity.
Switching energy providers is surprisingly easy to do and takes no more than 10 minutes. Although it helps, you don’t even have to know your exact usage when it comes to swapping.
Is it cheaper to leave the heating on all day?
Finally, the question that everybody asks is whether it’s best to leave the heating on all day. After all, if you’re house stays at a fairly constant temperature, your boiler doesn’t have to work so hard.
However, the warmer your house is, the more heat it can lose. And this costs you more. Experts at the Energy Saving Trust recommend against leaving your heating on constantly.
If you have a separate water tank for your hot water (for baths and showers etc), then you may also have been told that it is cheaper to keep your water heated constantly. This works on the same principle as the heating, and the warmer your water is, the more heat it can lose. Only turn it on when you need it. I did an experiment over a couple of months to test the theory.
Or take a look at this great article on how to stay warm this winter