Heating bills are a significant drain on most people’s household budgets. Of course it is possible to live without central heating, but it isn’t easy, especially during the cold winter months. If you have young children or elderly relatives living in your home, the cold can even be dangerous, so instead of trying to save money by switching the heating off, make your home more energy efficient instead.
Heat rises, so if you have zero or insufficient loft insulation in place, a large percentage of heat generated by your central heating will disappear through the roof of your home. This is great if you are comfortable heating the neighbourhood, but not so great if you want to save money on your heating bill. To improve things, check how much loft insulation you have. The Energy Saving Trust recommends a minimum of 270mm mineral wool loft insulation, so if you have less, top it up.
Cavity Wall Insulation
Homes also lose a lot of heat through un-insulated walls. New homes typically have cavity walls whereas older homes are more likely to have solid walls. But either way, it is possible to insulate the walls and reduce heat loss, so make sure you check the status of your walls.
Fix Draughty Windows and Doors
Doors and windows are another primary area of heat loss in the home. New double-glazed windows are very energy efficient, but if you have older timber windows, they are probably draughty and not very energy efficient. Replacing old windows with nice new ones is the ideal solution, but sadly this is a costly route to take. A cheaper option is to fit plastic film over your windows and repair any holes or gaps around the edge of the frames. In the case of ill-fitting doors, fit draught excluder strips around the edges and along the bottom, or install a heavy curtain to block draughts.
Regular Boiler Service
Ideally a boiler should be serviced every year, particularly if it is an older one. Regular servicing will help to ensure your boiler is running efficiently and reduce the likelihood of parts wearing out. If your boiler is very old, you will be able to save money by installing a new energy efficient one. You may even be eligible for a grant to do this.
Over time air and gases can build up inside radiator circuits. These manifest as cold spots in certain radiators, so no matter how high you turn up your heating, the affected room never feels particularly hot. The best way to prevent this from happening is to bleed your radiators. Try and do this once per year.
Turn Down the Thermostat a Degree
Turning down the room thermostat a notch will make a big difference to your heating bills. Setting the thermostat to a balmy 26 degrees may make your home feel like sunny Spain, but instead of lounging around in a t-shirt and shorts whilst complaining about the price of gas, try putting a few more layers on and setting the room thermostat to 19 degrees instead. Your bank account will thank you.