Most of the ways to help reduce your home heating bill require a financial input, in this section we will look at a few simple changes most of which are free and help reduce your carbon footprint immediately.
Money saving tips
Put on an extra layer of clothes
Put on a jumper or sweat shirt and lower the room temperature
Lowering the thermostat temperature by 1.5°C can reduce your heating bills by up to 10%. This could mean a saving of £250 (= 460kg CO₂) per year. This is probably the simplest saving we have seen on our web-site.
Check the water temperature of your boiler
If your boiler temperature is more than 65°C you are unnecessarily overheating water and wasting money. Note: your boiler must reach this temperature at least once a day to reduce the change of Legionella bacteria proliferating in the water, this is a nasty Pneumonia type disease.
Bleed your radiators to maximise their efficiency. Water passing through the whole system will increase the heat passing into each room.
Check your heating and hot water timer is set correctly
Check that the heating and hot water is timed to come on just before you wake up and turn off when you leave the house, there is no point wasting money to heat an empty home or heat water that won’t get used.
Use your radiator thermostats
If you have radiator thermostats, use them to make sure your boiler only provides heat where and when you want it. By turning thermostats down to between 2.5 and 3 you could be saving £70 a year (= 128kg CO₂)
Use chemical inhibitors
Corrosion deposits in an older central heating system can cause a substantial reduction in the effectiveness of the radiators, and the system as a whole. The build-up of scale in heating circuits and on boiler components can cause a reduction in efficiency too. Using an effective chemical inhibitor can decrease the corrosion rate and prevent the build-up of sludge and scale, thus preventing deterioration and helping to maintain energy efficiency. It’s a job for a professional so ask your boiler engineer the next time you have your system serviced.
Costing around £25 – £30, a radiator booster uses a small fan to capture heat lost out of the back of the radiator, circulating it back into the room. It can significantly reduce the time to heat a room and save money at the same time – all for a running cost of about 80p a year. It’s adjustable, has a built-in thermostat and is particularly useful for large rooms helping to heat the room in half the time. A very useful gadget.
Radiator insulation panels
Fitting panels or foil behind your radiators, only costing around £3 – £5 per radiator, will save you energy and money. Around 35% of heat from your radiators is lost into external walls, but radiator insulation panels or foil fixed behind your radiators will reflect heat from the radiator back into the room. They can produce the most benefit when installed on uninsulated external walls. A low cost solution, radiator insulation panels or foil are all about maximising the energy your heating system has already produced. If you insulated 5 radiators you could be saving £20 (= 36kg CO₂) a year, that’s payback in just one year.
Automatic radiator valve
If you forget to bleed your radiators, or can’t find the key, an automatic radiator valve, which stays fixed to the radiator, does it for you. Radiators partially filled with air rather than hot water are not working to their full potential, so fit radiator valves (costing £6 each). A typical 3 bedroom home would need one valve upstairs and one downstairs (plus one for any problem radiator).
The amount you save depends on the number and size of the radiators in your house.
Switch to a cheaper or lower carbon fuel technology
Find out about renewable technologies for generating electricity and heat under ‘Green energy systems’.