It’s no secret that heating your home can be one of the most expensive household bills.
With global warming and rising energy prices, keeping your house warm for less has become of paramount importance.
I live in the UK. The climate here is quite mild in comparison to countries around the world, but heating isn’t something we can do without here!
Our summers seem to be getting warmer too. Keeping cool is becoming more and more of an issue for the British.
When we moved into our current house 9 years ago, the boiler was old and inefficient. We knew we would have to replace it pretty much immediately.
Added to that, 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.
Over the years 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 has been very interesting to look back. I could probably make a whole new blog about what we did, but here are all my tips on how to decrease your heating bill and save a tonne of money as we have.
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9 tricks that save hundreds in energy each year
Are you paying far too much for your gas and electricity? It’s far easier to do nothing than something.
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 asap. Do this search to get started right away. We have switched several times and it is easier to do than you would think!
Lower your thermostat
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 did this.
To keep as comfortable and snug with lower heat, check out the tips at the end of this post.
Insulate your home
When we moved into our current house 9 years ago (during the 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, and we had to get a company in to inject the wall cavities with Rockwool insulation.
How did we know which areas were the worst for drafts?
This thermal imaging camera revealed the sad truth about all the areas in the house leeching the heat. If you can borrow one or buy one it is very worth it.
The typical areas of heat loss are:
Turn down the hot water tank
Do you really need piping hot water? If you can turn it down a degree and you probably won’t notice the difference.
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 it 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 vast. I’m paying half the amount in heating bills now.
Install thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs)
Changing the valves on your radiators to 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 you need it more.
We find TRVs very useful indeed because our house faces west. The east-facing rooms are colder and need more heat than the west-facing rooms. Also, the hot water pipes feed under the floor in my son’s room, so his radiator is turned right down.
Switch to a smart heating system
This is actually something we haven’t done because we both work from home so there is no need to operate the heating remotely.
The great thing about these smart devices 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.
Clean out your radiators with a power flush
Over time muck will build up in your radiators. You can easily clean them out with a power flush which your plumber will do for you. When you get a new boiler a power flush is mandatory (in the UK).
Make sure your radiators are balanced
My husband does this every autumn before the heating goes on for the winter. Balancing your radiators ensures that they are working optimally in each room. You might need to bleed them (remove air) to ensure that the whole radiator gets warm.
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9 more things you can do to reduce your heating bill
Find out how to decrease your heating bill even more!
All the tips listed above saved us a ton of money in heating bills, but there are more subtle things you can do. They don’t cost the earth but make all the difference to your comfort and your bank balance.
Get used to wrapping up more
If you have turned your heating down 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! Not very glamourous but it keeps me very warm and snug.
Close off rooms and hibernate the conservatory
Do you have rooms you barely use? No need to keep them warm! Turn off the radiator valve to divert that warmth to areas of the house that need it more.
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. Fortunately, we have a double-glazed door between the house and the conservatory, which is tightly shut until the weather warms up in spring.
Use your curtains
Open your curtains during the day to have the heat of the sun warm the room and shut them as soon as it starts to get dark.
Get some insulating thermal curtains. You can buy separate thermal linings which hook behind so there is no need to change the whole curtain.
Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse
I have to say this is a new one for me! Since we don’t have any ceiling fans in our house it has never been something I’ve researched before.
However, I found out that if you set your ceiling fan to turn in reverse it makes the warm air move down to where you need it rather than up. Here’s more about reducing your heating bill by reversing your ceiling fan.
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 aren’t too long.
We put tin foil behind our radiators so that less heat is absorbed into the wall behind.
It’s tempting in the winter I know, but avoid putting wet clothing or linen on your radiators.
Since we got our dog a couple of years ago I realised how much a brisk walk helps me 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.
Turn your heating off at night
Why heat the house when you are snug in your duvet?
Personally, I like a cold room at night, somehow I sleep better when the air is cooler.
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.
Use your oven
I don’t mean turn on your oven to heat the house. Cook more in your oven and you will heat up your kitchen.
Take shorter showers
If you use less hot water. the boiler (especially if you have a combi-boiler) will have less work.
Bonus tip #1 – keeping cool
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.
We fitted this heat reflective film on all our west-facing windows a couple of years ago and now the rooms are a lot cooler in the summer. They are very easy 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 – add an insulating ceiling to your conservatory
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 because of the roof.