Ways to save on heating
- Which? reveals 10 tips that could help keep your heating bills down
- Advice on everything from insulation and boiler efficiency to switching your energy supplier
- Find out how much you could save without sacrificing warmth this winter
10 ways to save on heating
Here are ten tips that could help cut the cost of keeping your home warm.
1. Mind the fire
A working fireplace looks great, but when it’s not in use it can feel as if you’re heating a room with an open window. When the fire’s out, keep the damper closed or buy a chimney balloon (around £20), which can be inflated in the opening above the fire to reduce draughts.
2. Get an energy audit
Getting expert advice to help you save money needn't be hard work – you can carry out a free online home energy check on the Energy Saving Trust website at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk.
3. Install insulation
Up to a third of heat disappears through the roof, so it makes sense to add insulation. Common insulation such as mineral wool has been joined in recent years by green options, such as sheep’s wool. Installing 270mm of insulation could cost as little as £250, and could cut your fuel bills by up to £100 a year as a result.
4. Ensure your boiler is efficient
Installing a more efficient boiler will lower your heating costs, particularly if you buy a condensing boiler. According to the Energy Saving Trust, a condensing boiler could save you as much as £235 a year, although installation costs can be higher than for a conventional boiler. Check out the Which? Best Buys review for more information on finding the right one for you.
5. Turn down the heat
If you are walking around indoors in a T-shirt in winter, you are burning cash. A simple but effective way to cut heating costs is to take control of your central heating thermostat. Reducing room temperatures by just 1°C could cut your heating bills by almost 10 per cent. Adjusting your central heating timer to switch off at night and during the day if the house is empty will also minimise fuel consumption.
6. Deal with draughts
Tackle draughts by filling any gaps around window frames, door frames and pipework that passes through external walls. This can be done using draught excluder strips or expanding foam fillers. Loft hatches should also be insulated, as should the edges of the loft opening.
7. Don't overuse extractor fans
Extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens burn energy if they are left on longer than necessary, so adjust the timer or switch them off manually to save energy. Some ventilation units have heat recovery systems to reduce energy loss further.
8. Switch with Which?
You can cut your heating bills by switching energy suppliers. People who used our own switching service, , saved an average of £237 between January and October 2009. Read our step-by-step guide to switching energy suppliers.
9. Wrap up your tank
If you live in an older house and have an uninsulated (or poorly insulated) hot water tank, you are wasting money every time you switch on your hot water system. Wrapping it up in a British Standard cylinder jacket (75mm thick) can reduce heat loss by 70 per cent. Jackets are available for as little as £5.
10. Don't heat unused rooms
If you have a spare bedroom that is rarely used, turn its radiator down to the lowest setting without turning it off completely. Fitting reflective foil behind radiators on external walls will also help to reduce the rate of heat loss in these rooms.