The nights have drawn in and winter is well and truly here – and I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s at about this time that I really start to think about just how much it’s going to cost to keep my home and family through the winter months.
With that in mind, I thought it would be a good time to share a few tips that could help you keep the chill off, and the bills down, by ensuring you’re getting the most from your heating system.
Lagging and insulation
One of the cheapest and simplest things you can do to help retain warmth and reduce heat loss from your home is to lag any hot water pipes – particularly when they run through cooler or unheated areas of the house.
But not only does lagging help to reduce heat loss, it could also save hundreds of pounds worth of repair bills should they freeze as a result of really cold snaps. During the winter of 2010, capping-off or fixing frozen burst pipes was my number one call-out – leaving some boilers irreparable and others in need of substantial repair work.
You should also consider insulation for the home, and not just in the roof cavities. Many homes still have hot water cylinders so helping them retain heat by investing in an insulated jacket is another good way of making sure your boiler isn’t working so hard.
And of course, don’t forget those water tanks that are perhaps tucked away in the roof – making sure they’re not prone to freezing during the winter is another good thing to put on your checklist!
Match your heating to your lifestyle
Having the right heating controls in place is another good way of being energy efficient. By installing thermostatic radiator valves throughout your home, you will have much greater control over the areas you’re heating. This means you can shut the doors on rooms you don’t use as frequently and reduce the temperature, whilst having the flexibility to increase the temperature in those you do use.
You can also install fully programmable thermostatic controllers which allow you to set not only the temperature you want to achieve but specify particular times and areas of the home to be heated. These are also available in wireless forms, allowing for easier installation.
Low efficiency = high bills
It might seem obvious, but old, low-efficiency boilers can make a huge difference to your heating bills; with Energy Saving Trust stats estimating that depending on how old and inefficient your boiler is, you could save up to £300 by installing a new, high efficiency condensing boiler. The reason for this is that condensing boilers have bigger heat exchangers that allow them to recover more heat and send cooler gases up through the flue, making them more efficient.
Should you keep your boiler ‘fired up’?
And then there’s the age-old question of whether to keep your heating running on a low temperature continuously through the winter.
Well, certainly my advice would be that if you’re going away over what could end up being a cold snap, then it’s generally better to keep your heating on a low temperature. This should maintain enough warmth running through the system to minimise any risks of frozen pipes.
But as to whether it’s more economical – I think this largely depends on a number of differing factors i.e. boiler efficiency, the extent of home insulation, temperature to be maintained and so on.
These are just a few, very basic tips on how to improve the heating efficiency in your home (which can also be found along with other top tips on our website), but if you have any questions or would like to discuss anything in more detail then do give me a call.
Don’t get caught out this winter – don’t forget that Fired Up offers a 24hr emergency call-out for the local area so if you do have any problems just call 07814 609522.