How to Reduce your Heating Bills
Why do we need to reduce out Heating Costs?
In today's economic climate the cost of amenities has risen considerable. Gone are the days when gas and electricity prices were affordable and gone are the days where we can consume natural resources without a thought for the dwindling global supplies. We now live in an age where heating your home is expensive and a vital contributor to the homoeostasis of our ecosystem.
So what can you do to reduce your heating costs? Below you will find practical tips which can be implemented straight away and some that need a bit more planning. But all of the following combined allow you to make vast reductions to your homes heating bills and that is great for your pocket but also great for the environment!
Small, Quick & Cheap Changes to Lower your Heating Bills
Before you start considering the bigger and more drastic changes to your home there are various small steps you can take to make a difference straight away.
Insulating you Boiler
This is the source of all your heat so it needs to be well insulated! An insulation jacket is inexpensive and will make sure your boiler runs at its full potential.
Fitting draft excluders to doors will prevent heat from escaping and they are another inexpensive solution. The same applies with small gaps round the edge of window frames.
Place Foil sheeting behind your Radiator
Adding a sheet of foil to the back of your radiator will reflect heat back into the room and prevent it from escaping through the wall. It can be a bit fiddly but well worth it.
Let sunshine in south windows
Open curtains on the south side of your home during winter days and close them at night. Sun angles are low in winter, allowing solar heat through all south windows. You may need to trim vegetation that shades south windows to achieve this.
Operate kitchen and bath vents minimally
Bath and kitchen vents exhaust moisture, along with heated air, to the outside. If your home is dry during the winter, you may not need to operate these vents at all. However, if you have condensation on windows, operate the vents as needed to remove cooking and bathing moisture but try to do this as little as possible. If you have extractor fans then make sure they do not operate for longer than necessary.
Improve your Home Insulation
One of the most overlooked areas which costs home owners thousands is the house insulation. Whether this be the roof, the walls or the windows, once you've pumped your house full of heat you need to keep it in.
Heat Loss through Windows
The windows are the primary cause of heat loss in most homes. The most obvious solution that springs to mind is double glazing or even triple glazing. Double glazing can reduce the window heat loss by half and is highly recommended by anyone and everyone. There Government schemes to help you upgrade but there are other options if this isn’t possible. A simple sheet of Perspex cut out to the same size as a window recess and fastened in place can produce surprising effects.
Heat Loss through Roofs
The other main area for heat loss is through your roof. Loft insulation can save you from having to have the heating continually pumping out heat to replace what has been lost and the payback period on your investment can be as little as two years. It is often not that difficult a job and can be done by most able bodied people for even further savings. If you already have loft insulation make sure it is at least 250mm thick as anything less is not fully efficient.
Heat Loss through Walls
Top of the list to resolve this area of heat loss is cavity-wall insulation. Cavity wall insulation is an extremely effective way of reducing heating bills and saving you money. Unfortunately, it is not suitable for all properties, but if you live in a house that was built between the 1930s and 1980s, it can save about a quarter of your heating bill.
Make Use of Central Heating Timers
One mistake that many home owners make is not setting up an accurate timer dictating what time the heating turns on and off. The more control you have over this the better. You do not want the heating on if your house is empty for most of the day. If you want to return to a warm house then set the timer to come on a short time before your return.
Make Use of Thermostats
The thermostat is one of the easiest ways to fully control your heating system and usage. Room thermostats should be used to tailor preferences and shut down rooms which are not in use. If you dont have programmable thermostats then you should be able to pick one up at a low price. The saving will make it worth it!
If you live in a large house then you should have a thermostat system which is zoned. This means that each area of the house has a seperate thermostat for even more control. Most radiators are fitted with thermostat valves so each one of these can be reduced to the lowest level needed to heat the room sufficiently.
Recommended Room Temperatures
The temperature which you find comfortable will vary but as a guide the following should be taken into consideration...
Set room thermostat at 18 C - 21 C (65 - 70 F) if young children or the elderly are in bed, the temp should not fall below 12 C (55 F). For disabled people or babies a room temperature of 23 C (73 F) may be more suitable.
If your system has a room thermostat and a thermostat on the hot water cylinder, set the boiler thermostat on maximum and use these other thermostats to set comfortable room and hot water temperatures.
Turning your thermostat down by 1 degree can reduce your heating costs by up to 10%.
Change your Supplier
There are so many sites out there that can help you with this process it has just become too easy. It really is as simple as finding the cheapest supplier for you. Before you shop around look at your last few gas and electricity bills and add up the amount you have spent or even better work out how many units of gas and units of electricity you have used. If you do not have these and you pay by direct debit then you can work out from your monthly payments what you will be paying per year.
Watch out for the crafty techniques that the gas and electric companies will use to win your business back. They will always try! Also, be aware that what is cheaper with one company may not be the next. The gas and electric companies are all in the same industry and are all influenced by the same global forces.
Install a Heat Pump
The final and most drastic option for reducing heating costs is to install a heat pump. The capability of air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps to provide high quality reliable heating with minimal yearly maintenance makes them a very real economic choice for any size of property. Although costly to install the long term benefits include a constant source of renewable energy and significantly reduced heating costs.
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