Winter Advice, Energy Saving Tips

Our top tips for saving energy and money on your heating and hot water

As fuel costs rise and many of us are working from home more than before, we suggest some small changes you can make to your heating system that will help you to save money on your energy bills.

Read our tips for reducing the energy you use for heating and hot water, to save money and make your home more energy efficient.

Turn your room thermostat down

The recommended temperature for a domestic thermostat is 21°C, if you are mainly sitting, or around 18°C when you are being more active and moving around the home. Amazingly, turning the thermostat down by just one degree could save around £145* on heating bills per year, according to the Energy Savings Trust.

If you have a hot water storage cylinder:

Turn the temperature down to 60°C/140°F. This temperature will prevent the growth of harmful Legionella bacteria, so please don’t turn it down any lower than this. 

Turn down radiators in unused rooms

In rooms you don’t use, turn radiators off, or, if you have thermostatic radiator valves fitted, turn them right down, so that you aren't wasting money heating up unoccupied rooms. Then close the door, so your other radiators aren’t trying to heat up that space!

Don’t put clothes on your radiators, or furniture near to them

The hot air needs to circulate around a room, and so blocking the radiators could make them less effective.

Bleed radiators to remove unwanted air

If your radiator has cold patches, this could be due to air being trapped in the central heating system. You can do this easily yourself, using a radiator key to remove the air.  This will allow hot water to fill your radiators right to the top so they give off more heat. Read more here.

Make sure your heating is controlled by a timer

You can schedule your heating to go off at night, while you are tucked up warm in your bed asleep.  Then set it to come on a few minutes before your alarm wakes you in the morning and off again when you leave the house to go to work.  You can set it to come on again later, so you come home to a warm house.

Get a full set of controls

If you don’t have them already, ask your installer about fitting a full set of heating controls: a programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves could save you £180* a year – paying for themselves in just four years!

Keep your heating system insulated

Making sure hot water pipes are properly insulated is a relatively quick and easy way to reduce heat loss and avoid energy wastage.  Protecting pipes with a layer of insulation will also help prevent them from getting too cold, and even freezing when temperatures plummet. Failure to do this could result in a burst pipe, leading to costly water damage.

If you have a hot water cylinder, make sure it is well insulated

Most modern cylinders already have good insulation, but if yours is an older style, and you can see bare metal, a well fitted tank jacket, 80 mm thick, could save you around £70* a year.

Install a smart meter

Speak to your energy provider about having a smart meter fitted. Most are simple to use and can help reduce energy consumption, as it is much easier to see how and where energy is being used in the home, on a daily basis.

Have an annual boiler service

To help keep domestic heating systems running as efficiently as possible, there is no substitute for booking a service every 12 months to minimise the risk of breakdowns. One of the best ways to avoid being without heating and hot water this winter, is to book a visit from a Gas Safe Registered heating engineer, who will give your boiler a thorough MOT for extra peace of mind.

Invest in a more efficient boiler

If your boiler is more than 10 years old, it may be time to replace it with a more efficient one. Although this will involve an initial outlay, the long-term financial benefits of cost savings on energy bills will balance out the up-front expenditure. Check out our ‘Find a boiler’ tool

*Your guide to staying warm and saving money this winter - Energy Saving Trust, November 2022

Useful links:

How to reduce the flow temperature of your boiler

Our top tips for saving energy in your home

Gov.UK Help for Households

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