The cost of heating your home is sadly now one of the most expensive household bills.
Here in the UK, the climate is quite mild, but heating isn’t something we can do without. Our summers are getting warmer. So keeping cool is becoming more of an issue too.
When we moved into our current house ten years ago, the boiler was old and inefficient. We knew we would need to replace it almost immediately.
Soon after we moved in, we noticed there were more problems. It felt like the wind was blowing through the house in winter, and in the summer it was unbearably hot.
Since then, we have replaced the boiler and insulated the building to within an inch of its life.
Ceilings have come down, new ceilings have been added, floors have been insulated, and wall cavities have been injected with insulating material. To name just a few things!
It is very interesting to look back.
I could probably make a whole new blog about what we did. But today I am going to reveal all my tips on how to decrease your heating bill and save a tonne of money as we have.
Before we begin, here is what had the most effect on our heating bill:
If you want to reduce your heating bill immediately, the number one thing you can do now is to turn down the thermostat. Then, invest in some insulation such as roof and cavity wall.
I have lots more tips in this post. Read on and save!
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10 amazing tips that save hundreds in energy costs each year
1. Lower your thermostat
As I write this post, it is November, and it is currently 16c inside. I have to say that it feels a little chilly for us, and some may find that a bit too cold for them. However, it is going to make a big difference to our heating bill.
Lowering your thermostat temperature even by one degree across the day can save you hundreds on your heating bill over a year.
I was amazed at the savings we made on our bills when we reduced the heat.
To keep comfortable and snug with lower heat, check out the tips at the end of this post.
2. Switch energy suppliers
Depending on where you live, you will find lots of different comparison sites that make it easy to pick a cheaper option and make the switch.
Do this search to get started right away. We have switched several times, and it is easier to do than you would think!
3. Insulate your home
We moved into our house during a hot summer.
By winter, it felt like the wind was blowing through our house, even though it isn’t an old building.
A couple of badly done extensions (not picked up in the house survey), were the main culprits.
A ceiling had to come down in one room, so we could insulate the flat roof. Then we got a company in to inject the wall cavities with Rockwool insulation.
How did we know which areas were the worst for drafts?
A thermal imaging camera revealed the sad truth about all the areas in the house leeching the heat. This meant we were able to focus on spots that needed the most attention.
Here’s me sitting at my desk.
I’m in red because my body is warm, but the wall behind me is blue, which means it is cold and very probably needs some insulation. The pink parts are very cold areas, including the fireplace to my right.
Now I know why I feel so cold at my desk!
The typical areas of heat loss in your home are:
4. Turn down the hot water temperature
Do you really need piping hot water? Try turning it down a degree. You probably won’t notice the difference.
5. Reduce the amount of time that you heat the water
Recently, we have experimented with reducing the time the water is heated from twice to once per day.
Now the water heats (via the boiler) for just half an hour in the evening. For our family of four, this has been just about sufficient as long as we all keep our showers short.
We have now connected our solar panels to the hot water tank, so we get free hot water when the sun comes out!
I'm ashamed to admit that we only did this last year, after having the solar panels installed nearly eight years ago.
If you can do this too, I thoroughly recommend doing it. It is truly remarkable how hot the water gets.
To save your precious hot water, why not try doing your dishes in cold water. It works just as well as hot.
6. Consider switching your boiler
We replaced our gas boiler with a Glow-Worm condensing boiler because the previous one had stopped working and wasn’t worth fixing.
We knew the boiler was on the way out long before, but now I wish we had bitten the bullet and replaced it sooner because the energy savings were considerable.
7. Install thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs)
Changing the valves on your radiators to thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) allows you to control your heating room by room.
If you don’t need a particular room heated, simply turn it down, and you can turn up the heat in areas of the house where you need it more.
We find TRVs very useful because our house faces west. The east-facing rooms are colder and need more heat than the west-facing rooms.
The hot water pipes feed under the floor in my son’s room, so in there we can turn down the radiator.
8. Switch to a smart heating system
The great thing about having a smart device like Nest and Hive is that you can control them from your mobile phone. If you forgot to turn your heating down before you left the house, or you need it switched up before you get home, then this is very useful to have.
This is actually something we haven’t done because we both work from home, so it isn’t a priority for us.
9. Clean out your radiators with a power flush
Over time, muck will build up in your radiators, which will stop them working efficiently. You can easily clean them out with a power flush. Your local heating engineer will do it for you. When you get a new boiler, a power flush is mandatory (in the UK).
If you are handy, you can hire one and do it yourself. We actually bought one second-hand and then sold it on (after we lent it to my dad).
10. Make sure your radiators are balanced
Balancing your radiators ensures that they are working optimally in each room. My husband does this every autumn before the heating goes on for the winter. Often we need to bleed them (remove air) to ensure that the whole radiator gets warm.
10 more things you can do to reduce your heating bill
All the tips listed above saved us a tonne of money in heating bills, but there is more you can do.
All the following tips don’t cost the earth but make all the difference to your comfort, and your heating bill.
1. Get used to wrapping up more
If you have turned down your heating, it’s time to wrap up warm instead!
- Wear socks and slippers
- Wear thermal underwear
- Slip on a warm sweater
When it gets really cold, I have been known to wear a down-filled body warmer too! It’s not very glamorous, but it keeps me warm and snug.
2. Close off rooms and hibernate the conservatory
Do you have rooms you barely use?
There is no need to keep them warm!
Turn off the radiator valve to divert that warmth to areas of the house where you need it more. Then shut the door.
We always shut the door on our conservatory from autumn until spring.
Despite adding an insulating roof (see bonus tips) to our conservatory, it is too cold to use in the winter without adding considerably to the heating bill.
3. Use your curtains
Open your curtains or blinds during the day so that the heat of the sun can warm the room. Then shut them as soon as it starts to get dark.
If your curtains are a single layer, add some linings. You can buy thermal linings, which hook behind, so there is no need to change the whole curtain.
If you have a particular window or door that is letting in drafts, adding thick curtains can help. I made some full-length double thickness curtains for our front door.
4. Run ceiling fans in reverse
We don’t have any ceiling fans in our house. If you do, set them in reverse because it causes the warm air to move down to where you need it rather than up.
Here’s more about reducing your heating bill by reversing your ceiling fan.
5. Get more from your radiators
Make sure your radiators are not obstructed. The air should be able to circulate freely around them. Make sure your curtains don’t hang in front, and if they do, tuck them behind.
It’s tempting in the winter, but avoid putting wet laundry on your radiators.
Another thing we did was to put tin foil behind our radiators so that less heat is absorbed into the wall behind, and it reflects into the room
6. Keep active
Since we got our dog a couple of years ago, I realised how much a brisk walk helps me to keep warm. The house always seems so much warmer when you come in from the cold!
I also find going on a cleaning spree helps to keep warm too.
7. Turn your heating off at night
Why heat the house when you are snug in your duvet? Set your heating thermostat to turn the heating off or down at night.
Personally, I like a cold room at night. Somehow, I sleep better when the air is cooler.
8. Get a thicker duvet
When you turn down the heating at night, make sure your duvet is thick enough to keep you warm through the night.
9. Use your oven
Cook more in your oven, and you will heat up your kitchen. When you have finished cooking, open the oven door to let the residual heat into the room.
10. Take shorter showers and reduce baths
If you use less hot water, the boiler (especially if you have a combi-boiler) will have less work to do. Keep your showers nice and short.
Showers use much less water than baths, and therefore there is less water to heat, so consider switching to showers or reduce baths.
Bonus tip 1 – Keeping cool in the summer
Is your house too warm in the summer?
Due to our house being west-facing, the kitchen and sitting room were almost unbearable in the summer, until we fitted heat-reflective film inside the windows. Now the rooms are a lot cooler in the summer.
The film is straightforward to fit yourself. The downside is it cuts down a bit of light, but we only notice that in the winter months.
Bonus tip 2 – Insulate your conservatory roof
If you have a conservatory, consider putting an insulated ceiling on it. You will find it much cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Our conservatory is so much more usable throughout the year due to the roof.
Frequently asked questions
What is the most economical way to use your central heating?
Avoid heating rooms you don’t use. Only use the heating when you need it. Ensure the thermostat is set no higher than comfortable.
How much do you save by turning down the thermostat?
Turning down your thermostat by one degree can save you between £80 and £145 a year in the UK.
How can I cut my heating bill in half?
A combination of these actions will help you cut down your heating bill.
- Turn down the thermostat.
- Insulation your home.
- Don’t heat rooms you don’t use.
- Wear warm clothes.