Gas engineer and director of compliance at Options Skills, Dave Judge, shares how you can reduce your heating usage and bills this winter.
With the ever-increasing rise in energy prices (Source: The Independent), it is prudent that everyone takes the time to ensure they are as energy conscious as possible. Heating your home can be a considerable expense, and with prices rising, now more than ever, we need to be thinking about and making an effort to save energy where possible.
Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to make this happen.
Get To Know Your Heating System
To get the best efficiency from your heating system, it is a good idea to do a little research into what system you have.
For example, it could be a combi that supplies heating and instantaneous hot water from a single boiler. Or a conventional system that heats the radiators and a store of hot water – a cylinder or tank, usually located in the airing cupboard. (Other configurations are available).
So, what do the controls do? On a combi boiler, the boiler temperature controller sets the hot water temperature leaving the boiler and going to the radiators. This sets the water heating temperature for both the radiators and the cylinder on a conventional boiler.
Set Boiler Temperature As Low As You Can
Usually, around 60 to 65 degrees is adequate, although every property is different, so you may have to turn it up a little. Either way, never run it on maximum. This is like driving around at 100mph. You will get there quicker, but you use a lot more fuel.
Set Water Temperature As Low As You Can
The water temperature controller sets the hot water temperature coming from the taps on a combi boiler. On a conventional system, the hot water temperature is set by a thermostat located on the cylinder.
What’s the point in running a hot tap and then adding cold water to it? You pay to heat the water just to cool it down again.
Conventional systems need to heat the water to at least 60 degrees to stop bacteria forming, so it’s worth checking the cylinder stat and whilst you are at it, check your cylinder. If it’s a high recovery, high-efficiency type, then that’s all good. Ensure your lagging(insulation) is adequate if it’s an older style. A hot airing cupboard means only one thing; you are losing the heat from the stored water. Extra lagging saves energy. Also, lagging the pipework will help keep costs down.
Turn Down The Thermostat
The room thermostat measures the air temperature in the property where it is sited. The best setting for the room thermostat is as low as possible while still high enough to keep you warm. A lot depends on the room the thermostat is in and the user’s requirements. Smart thermostats and internet thermostats can help reduce bills, so it might be worth investing in these.
Lowering the thermostat by a couple of degrees can result in the heating running for a couple of hours less per day.
Run The TRV’s As Low As You Can
You can find Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) on the radiators. They work by altering the amount of water pumped into the radiator.
As the room heats, a wax capsule in the valve expands and starts to close the valve, thus controlling the heat in the room. Again the best setting is the lowest setting.
People tend to spend most of their time downstairs, so turn the upstairs TRVs down a notch or two. This will push the heat downstairs, where you need it most. As heat rises, the heat from downstairs will radiate to the upper rooms.
One of the everyday things heating engineers get called out for is that radiators do not feel warm enough. Don’t judge your system by how hot the radiators are, but by how warm the room is.
Ditch The Gas Fire
It is not only our heating system where we can save energy. For example, gas fires are a severe waste of energy. While modern gas fires look good, most of the heat rises through the chimney – leaving you cold and your gas bills high.
Don’t Heat Rooms You Don’t Use
If you have a spare room or space in your home that you never or rarely use, turn the TRV low and keep the door shut. Why pay to heat an unused space? Instead, focus your efforts and money on warming the well-used areas of your home.
Are you looking for more ideas on how to save money and energy? Then, check out our electricity-saving tips.