The nights have drawn in and winter is well and truly here. It’s at this time that I start to wonder just how much it’s going to cost to keep my home and family warm through the winter months.
I imagine I’m not the only one. So I thought it would be a good time to share a few tips that could help keep the chill off and the bills down. Let’s make sure you’re getting the most from your heating system.
Lagging and insulation
One of the cheapest and simplest things you can do to reduce heat loss from your home is to lag hot water pipes. For example, pipes that run externally or through cooler, unheated areas of the house.
But not only does lagging help reduce heat loss, it could also save hundreds of pounds worth of repair bills should pipes 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. This left some boilers irreparable and others in need of substantial repair work.
You should also consider insulation for the home, and not just in roof cavities. Many homes still have hot water cylinders so helping them retain heat by investing in an insulated jacket is another way to make sure you’re getting the most from your boiler.
And of course, don’t forget water tanks that are tucked away in the roof. Make sure you check they’re not prone to freezing during the winter.
Match your heating to your lifestyle
Having the right heating controls in place is another good way of being energy efficient. Installation of thermostatic radiator valves throughout your home will provide more 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. You will then have the flexibility to increase the temperature in those you do use.
You can also install a programmable thermostatic controller. These allow you to set the temperature you want to achieve and to specify the times you want the heating on. They are also available in wireless formats allowing you to manage your heating when you’re away from the home. This can be particulary useful if you own and manage to holiday let.
Low efficiency = high bills
It might seem obvious, but old, low-efficiency boilers can make a huge difference to your heating bills. The Energy Saving Trust estimates 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’?
Then there’s the age-old question of whether to keep your heating running on a low temperature continuously through the winter.
My advice would be that if you’re going away in winter months, then it’s generally better to keep your heating on at 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. But if you would like to arrange an appointment to assess how improvements can be made then just get in touch or call me on 07814 609522.