How To Save On Home Heating

How To Save On Heating Costs When Prices Are Rising

In an average UK household, over half of the fuel bills are spent on heating and hot water. The energy price cap increased by 54% in April 2022, and bills are expected to keep on rising. Prices of heating oil have also increased by 49% in the past year.

If you’re one of the 22 million people affected by the energy price hike, you’ll recognise just how vital it is to save money on your energy bills right now.

Assess Your Current Energy Bill

Understanding and checking your energy bills can help you reduce your energy use and start saving. You need to know how much gas and electricity you are using, and how much you are paying for it. Although all energy suppliers’ bills may look different, they should all contain the same information, including:

  • Your tariff. This is the price you pay per unit for any gas or electricity, along with any applicable standing charge.
  • The tariff comparison rate. This shows how much the tariff could cost for a typical customer, and helps you compare between providers.
  • The amount of gas and electricity you have used.
  • A record of your past meter readings.

When you receive your energy bill, you should firstly ensure that all the information is correct – including the name on the bill and the meter serial numbers. You should also ensure that the dates covered in the billing period are dates that you lived at that property.

If you don’t give your supplier meter readings, they will estimate how much energy you have used based on past information. Estimated readings can be over or under what you are actually using, and it could lead to problems with billing. You can call your supplier to give them readings, or many suppliers let you submit them online.

Consider Energy Saving Appliances

Washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers account for around 14% of a typical UK energy bill, with fridges and freezers accounting for around 13%. If you’re looking to buy a new appliance, look for its energy label.

Appliances are tested and given a rating for how much energy they typically use. You should look for the product with the best energy rating for the size you require.

Lighting also takes up around 5% of an average home’s energy bill. Replacing your old halogen bulbs with LEDs can save around £55 a year on energy bills.

Think About The Status Of Your Boiler

How Old Is Your Boiler?

As a general rule, if your boiler is 10-15 years old it will start to become less efficient. All boilers have an efficiency rating, which is the percentage of the total energy used by the boiler when providing heat. For example, an older model with a 60% efficiency rating will use 60% of its energy to heat your home, with 40% of heat lost. Modern boilers can have an efficiency rating of 90% or more, meaning much less heat is lost.

Standard Efficiency vs Condensing Efficiency Boilers

Modern boilers are more efficient than older models for several reasons, but the main advantage is that they are condensing. This means that they recover more heat from the exhaust flue gas and use it to heat the central heating water. Your boiler is condensing if:

  • The flue is plastic
  • The boiler has a plastic pipe coming out of the bottom, through the wall and into a drain
  • If it’s a gas or LPG boiler installed after 2005
  • If it’s an oil boiler installed after 2007

Condensing boilers are more energy efficient than older, standard efficiency models, as they use more of the fuel for usable heat. If you’re looking to replace your old boiler, you don’t need to worry about avoiding a standard efficiency model, as they were banned from sale in the UK in 2005.

It is also important to ensure the temperature of your condensing boiler is not too high. A water temperature of 70°C on the boiler should ensure it condenses. Condensing boilers are at least 10% more efficient than old style boilers, but they will only reap the efficiency benefits if they are able to condense. However, if you have a dirty or poorly balanced system, this will impact on the return water temperature and your boiler’s ability to condense.

Is Your Boiler Covered?

Boiler cover can protect you if something goes wrong with your boiler and/or central heating. There are two main types of boiler insurance available: boiler breakdown cover and full central heating cover.

Having boiler cover in place means you won’t have to spend on labour & spare parts for boiler repairs. It can be harder to find cover for an older boiler and heating system, as it may fall short of requirements that insurers have. Boiler insurance is sometimes included as part of your home insurance, so check to see if you already have cover in place before taking out a new policy.

How Insulated Is Your Home?

Installing insulation will reduce heat loss from your home, reducing your carbon emissions and helping to reduce your energy bills.

One of the easiest steps you can take is to insulate your hot water tank, pipes and radiators. Topping up the insulation on your hot water cylinder from 25mm to 80mm thick using a British Standard Jacket typically costs around £17, and can save you around £35 per year on your energy bills.

In an uninsulated home, around one third of all heat lost escapes through the walls. Generally speaking, houses built from 1990 onwards will have cavity wall insulation. If your home was built after the 1920s, it is likely to have cavity walls, but they may not be insulated. Pre 1920s houses are likely to have solid walls, which can be insulated from either the inside or the outside. Properly insulating your walls will save you energy and cut heating bill costs.

Insulating your ground floor (and any floors above unheated spaces, such as garages) is a great way to keep your property warm. You could save around £75 per year in an average property by insulating under the floorboards.

Upgrade To ELKATHERM® Radiators

Home heating is evolving and moving away from fossil fuels; the days of gas and oil heating systems are numbered. Electric heating is the future – it’s safe, quiet, clean, instantly warm and, most importantly, it’s sustainable in a modern world.

ELKATHERM® electric radiators are A++ energy rated. Their smart, ceramic fireclay core heats to its optimum working temperature in minutes and stays warm for hours, giving more warmth for your money and much more control than traditional storage heaters.

ELKATHERM® electric heaters boast a massive five times surface area, providing superior radiated heat and spreading convected warmth around the room, with no need for a noisy fan and without the uncomfortable dry air associated with other forms of electric heating.

Thanks to their power modulation technology, once an ELKATHERM® electric radiator is up to temperature it will typically only draw between 15 to 17 minutes of electricity per hour. They are easily controllable, ensuring you don’t waste heat in rooms you aren’t using, and they feature a massive 25-year guarantee for the internal heat core.

Layer Up On Clothing

It might seem obvious, but the hotter you keep your home, the more money you’ll spend heating it. Your annual heating bill increases by about 10% for every degree you turn the thermostat up. If you layer up on warm clothing, you’ll be able to turn the thermostat down a couple of degrees, saving you money on your heating bills.

Prevent Draughts

Draught-proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save money and energy in your home. Blocking up any gaps around windows, doors and the floor will ensure it takes less energy to heat your home.

For windows that open, try installing draught-proofing strips. For windows that don’t open, use a silicone sealant. Fitting thick, lined curtains will also help keep heat in your home throughout the night.

Draught-proofing your external doors can stop a lot of heat from escaping. Some simple options include installing a keyhole cover, using a letterbox flap and brush and installing draught-proofing strips around the edges of the door.

Upgrade To A Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats offer a variety of features that can not only keep your home at a comfortable temperature, but can also help to reduce heating and cooling costs. They do everything that conventional controls do, plus some can also:

  • Learn your daily habits and adjust the temperature to match
  • Let you control your heating remotely using a smartphone app
  • Detect open windows by a sudden drop in temperature, and turning the heat down or off as a result
  • Weather compensation
  • Track where you are using your smartphone location, known as ‘geofencing’. When you are returning home, the heating system will turn on and heat the house in time for your return.

Turn Your Heating Down

As we mentioned previously, the hotter you keep your home, the more money you’ll spend heating it. Turning the thermostat down by just one degree can reduce your annual heating bill by around 10%, and can also reduce the carbon emissions of a typical home by about 300kg a year.

Put Your Heating On A Timer

A timer allows you to control when your heating and hot water comes on and turns off. A timer allows you to programme your central heating to fit around your lifestyle, ensuring you don’t waste money heating your house when nobody is home. It is recommended that you set your heating to come on around 30 minutes before you get up in the morning, and to turn off around 30 minutes before you go to bed.

Choose Which Rooms Are Heated

Don’t waste energy or money heating rooms that nobody is using. Turn the radiators in those rooms off, or on a very low setting if it’s icy outside to ensure the pipes don’t freeze. If you turn all the radiators off in an unused room, keep the door to that room closed to minimise heat loss from other, warmer parts of your home.

Unplug Unused Devices

You could save up to £55 a year by simply unplugging your unused electrical devices. Research has found that gaming consoles cost UK households a combined total of £231 million per year in standby mode! You may want to consider investing in a smart plug, or standby saver, which allows you to turn all appliances off standby mode with just one click.

Improve Your Energy Bill With Northwest Heating Solutions

Northwest Heating Solutions are specialists in ultra-modern and efficient electric heating. We’re proud to be a Which? Trusted Trader for our high standards of customer service, value and quality, and our NAPIT accredited installers work to a no mess, no fuss policy when fitting your stylish new heating system.

ELKATHERM® electric radiators are A++ energy rated. They stay warm for hours with minimal additional power, meaning more warmth for your money and greater control than traditional storage heating. ELKATHERM® electric radiators use a massive five times surface area to provide superior radiated heat and spread convected warmth around the room, ensuring you aren’t left with cold spots. There’s no need for a noisy fan, so you won’t get uncomfortable dry air associated with other forms of electric heating. Once your ELKATHERM® electric radiator is up to temperature, it will typically draw between 15 and 17 minutes of electricity per hour to top up the core and maintain your cosy home. You can control each room individually, selecting the times and temperatures to best suit your lifestyle, and ensuring you don’t waste heat in rooms you aren’t using. We offer a range of control options, including our latest smartphone app which allows you to control your heating remotely.

Our ELKATHERM® electric radiators also come with a 4-year guarantee for electronic components, and a massive 25-year guarantee for the internal heat core. They are completely VDE approved and LOT20 compliant.

Sunamp heat batteries deliver mains pressure hot water on demand with superb efficiency. Packed with modern electric water heating technology, Sunamp heat batteries are ultra compact, need little or no maintenance, and can be charged using an off-peak energy tariff, or divert energy from solar PV, heat pumps or other renewable sources. They are perfect for those conscious about reducing carbon emissions, reducing or eliminating gas usage and controlling energy bills.