How to easily reduce your heating bills
- By: Ashley Saunders
- October 2019
With winter fast approaching, your household bills are likely to sky rocket. But what if there was a way to reduce your heating bills and have more cash in the bank?
One of the biggest costs of any household is the heating bill. Ofgem calculates that on average, we spend 4% of our annual incomes on energy, most of which goes on heating. So it’s worth evaluating each year how you can reduce your heating bills.
While 4% might not seem like a particularly large figure, it’s a massive amount if your living from pay-check to the next or rely on a fixed income.
Thankfully, there are many free and low-cost tips to reduce your heating bills saving you money. Also, there’s plenty of ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency, all of which impact how much your home costs to run.
Lower your thermostat
The best way to reduce your heating bills is to turn your thermostat down a few degrees. You probably won’t notice a huge difference but this tiny change can reduce your heating bill by a massive 5 to 10 per cent.
Seal your chimney flue
Most older properties still having working fireplaces, complete with chimneys. Leaving the flue permanently open has the same effect as having a window open. Warm air from your heating system will be replaced by cold air.
Sealing the flue at one end you can stop heating escaping and reduce your heating bills. You will also need to add some form of ventilation to stop condensation. It’s easy enough to DIY, but expect to pay a tradesperson around £150.
If you plan to use your fireplace, then consider adding a chimney cowl. This way you can stop hot air escaping when using the boiler, yet still, be able to use the fire.
Cover windows when it’s dark outside
During the day, there’s nothing better than sunlight. It heats your home and releases endorphins, which are “feel-good” hormones!
When night falls, it’s worth covering your window with curtains as they’ll reduce heat loss and block some of the cold air. Lined curtains are especially effective as they have at two layers.
Why heat a room which isn’t being used? Instead, keep the door shut. You might want to open a window in the day for an hour to ventilate the room.
If you’re already in the room, keeping the door shut increases the room’s temperature as you’re trapping any warmth from your body, lights and other electronics. It’s a seriously cheap way to reduce your heating bills!
Rather than heating the house, add another layer! A thicker jumper and socks can be like a mobile heater, only stylish and affordable!
Research has shown that if your feet are cold, your whole body will feel cold. So double up on socks, especially in the winter.
If you’re having a chill day in front of the TV, use a loved one or a blanket for heat rather than cranking the heating up!
Insulate your house
One of the best investments you can make is to insulate your house. While not the cheapest idea to reduce your heating bills, it will have a long term impact on your bills and may increase your property’s value.
In terms of where to insulate, start with your loft as most energy supplier will offer free or heavily discounted insulation. From there, you could insulate under floors and any cavity walls.
Annual heating check-up
Most homeowners only call a plumber when there’s an issue, but don’t think to call them to help improve the efficiency of their heating system. Plumbers aren’t cheap but it will help to reduce your heating bills, so the benefits outweigh the cost.
A properly maintained boiler and radiators will use less energy and be cheaper to run. As a rule of thumb, electric and oil boilers should be professionally checked at least once a year. Gas boilers should be checked every other year.
It’s worth bleeding your radiators annually as this will remove air from the system, making it more efficient and therefore your home is cheaper to heat. You probably only need a Radiator Bleed Key which costs about £1.
Dust your radiators
Dust is not only an allergen but it also a wonderful insulator. So it’s a good idea to clean any dust built-ups from your radiators as this should reduce your heating bills slightly. Plus, it’s healthier too!
If your property doesn’t have radiators and boiler system, you could be eligible for a central heating grant through the government’s ECO3 scheme. Warma UK has a superb guide on who qualifies for a central heating system?, which will help you find out more.
Upgrading how you control your heating system is affordable and will start paying you back instantly. You should easily recover the cost within a year or two as it should instantly reduce your heating bills.
A programmable thermostat allows you to adjust your boiler on a predetermined schedule. For example, if you’re not home or sleeping, you can lower the temperate.
You can also set it to come on before you get home, meaning you don’t have to turn your boiler up to maximum get some instant heat.
We’d recommend avoiding the very cheap programmable thermostats and instead buy either a Nest Learning Thermostat, SIEMENS RDJ10RF Digital Room STAT or a Honeywell Lyric Smart Programmable Thermostat.
If you’re a tech geek like us, then consider adding a programmable thermostat to your smart home system.
Upgrade your windows
Old or single-pane windows literally suck hot air! On average between 10-25% of your house’s heat loss can be attributed to windows.
In addition to adding better curtains or lining your current ones, the best thing you can do is to upgrade your window. If you currently have single-pane windows, then upgrading to double or triple glazing will have a massive impact.
Of course, this is an expensive investment but once done, it will boost your property’s value and help you to reduce your heating bills. Sadly, there no national government schemes, but it’s worth calling your local council to see if they offer any grants or help.
Use portable fan heaters
We’re the first to admit using space or fan heaters in the home is the easily the quickest way to increase not reduce your heating bills.
That said, using a portable fan heater in your bedroom on low, overnight can be an efficient way to only heat the space you need. Plus they are fairly affordable with Amazon stocks a range including the Pifco Upright Portable Fan Heater and Air Cooler!
You should be careful not to place your portable heater near the walls or flammable objects and watch it when there’s children around. Also, make sure it’s unplugged when not in use.
Trap existing heat
You’re already generating warmth with everyday activities such as cooking and showering. So why not try to trap this heat and increase your house’s temperature.
For example, when you shower, keep the bathroom door open and allow the steam spreads to other rooms. Don’t turn a ventilation fan on as it’ll rapidly remove the warm air.
Use a humidifier
Moist air retains heat better than dry air, so using a humidifier can reduce your heating bills. Using a humidifier also reduce static electricity, dry skin, and make it easier to breathe.
Thankfully, there’s a range of aesthetically interesting humidifiers on the market including Homasy Cool Mist Humidifier which doubles as an Essential Oil Diffuser.
Light a candle
Not for warmth, we’re not that crazy! But so you can look for air leaks. Hold the flame near windows, doors and light fixtures and look for smoke moving in a horizontal direction.
If you see it, that means you’ve spotted an air leak. Heat is likely escaping your home with ease. You can solve this problem by installing some low-cost caulking or by adding some insulation.
Buy a radiator booster
A radiator booster is a long tube that sits on top of your radiator and acts as a small fan. There’s a range available and they typically cost around £40 and are DIY-friendly.
It spread heat by dispersing the air that gets trapped behind the radiator. While they do use some electricity (around a few pounds per year), a single booster can raise the temperature in a room by as much as three degrees.
Top tip to reduce your heating bills
You now have a range of ideas, tips and tricks to reduce your heating bills over the next year. As heating is the largest single expense for homeowners, even a tiny reduction in the cost can quickly add up.