·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
Wed, 21 September 2022 at 12:47 pm
It’s the age-old debate. When is it acceptable to put the heating on?
With summer a distant memory and the colder temperatures fast approaching, many of us could feel tempted to reach for the thermostat as the autumn chill creeps into our homes.
Whether you’re currently piling on the layers trying to hold out until it is officially winter or you’ve already given in to enjoying a cosy boost of warmth from your radiators, deciding when to put on the central heating is the divider of people.
Throw in a cost of living/energy bill crisis and the decision about when to fire up the boiler is set to be even more significant this year.
Thankfully, according to the experts, we’ve got a good few weeks before we need to crank up the cosy.
Turns out, Sunday 30 October isn’t just the day before Halloween, but also the date the bods-in-the-know suggest we switch the heating on.
“Turning on your central heating is notably one of the sure signs that winter has arrived,” explains Jordan Chance, heating expert from PlumbNation.
While there’s no single temperature at which you should turn on your heating because it depends on how well insulated your home is and your own comfort thresholds, Chance says many aim for the time when the clocks go back, which this year falls on October 30.
But even though that’s not long to wait, there are plenty of clever heating hacks on can put into practice to help you delay the big switch on that won’t leave you swathed in blankets every night.
“Using a draught excluder is one of the quickest and cheapest ways to keep your home warm, preventing cold air from entering and warm air from leaving under your doors,” Chance explains.
Closing your curtains is another simple home heating hack.
“Keeping your curtains closed, or investing in a thermal curtain lining can likewise help to prevent warm air from escaping – this trick alone can reduce heat loss by up to 25%,” Chance adds.
The heating experts even recommend listening to your mum’s dished out advice to stick on a jumper.
“This old argument can certainly keep you warmer for longer, and save the big switch on for a later date,” Chance continues.
While some will no doubt be tempted to leave the heating on low all day to keep the chill off, experts say this won’t actually save any money on your heating bills.
In fact they best way to save energy is to have the heating on as and when you need it.
“Using a thermostat with a timer offers a simple and speedy solution to controlling your heating effectively,” Chance adds.
How to be energy efficient when the heating is on
With the ongoing energy crisis, and reports that nearly one in four adults aren’t planning to turn their heating on at all this winterdue to worries about the cost, it’s never been more important to smart about your heating.
Here’s 10 expert-backed tips on how to be energy efficient when the heating is on.
Upgrade your thermostat
The thermostat controls your home’s temperature by communicating with your boiler. Thermostats, particularly in older homes with older heating systems, can degrade over time and such degradation can lead to delays in your boiler switching on, or your home being heated at much higher temperatures than required.
“Upgrading your thermostat could provide for greater accuracy in thermostat to boiler communication, preventing energy from being wasted, and saving you money,” explains Chance.
Stop the draught
Stopping heat from escaping through unwanted gaps is one of the most effective ways to save energy and therefore money. “To draught-proof your home, you need to primarily identify the ‘problem areas’ where draughts are causing issues, these could include doors, windows, chimneys and floorboards,” explains Chance.
“You can block unwanted gaps by using draught-proofing strips around your windows and doors, or flexible silicone-based filler to fill the gaps in your floorboards.”
Put on another layer
Instead of heating your home to be warm enough to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt, try turning your thermostat down and add an extra jumper. “Adding clothing layers will insulate your body and make it easier to regulate your body’s temperature,” Chance says. “The more layers you wear, the less the heating will need to be on.”
Smart soft furnishings
Believe it or not soft furnishings, such as curtains and rugs, can actually help your home become more energy-efficient. “If you have a carpeted home then it will naturally help to boost insulation; however, if you have hard flooring investing in some good quality materials, such as a plush rug, will help to prevent heat from being lost,” Chance adds.
Try the ‘step-down’ challenge
And turn down your thermostat by 1°C. “By turning your heating down by just 1°C, you can save up to 10% on your heating bill,” explains Chance.
It is also important to avoid classic thermostat ‘faux pas’. “Contrary to popular belief, turning up your thermostat does not heat up your room quicker,” he adds. “This method will only send your energy bills skyrocketing.”
Clean your radiators
If your radiators aren’t in your weekly cleaning routine, then it’s time to add them. “A buildup of dust can affect your health, allergies and your heating,” explains chance. “Layers of dust in your radiator can prevent heat from escaping effectively, meaning your radiators will have to work harder to warm your room.”
Don’t try your washing on the radiator
According to Chance the clothes that you place over the top of your radiators prevent the heat from escaping and heating your room, meaning that your boiler has to pick up the slack and work at a greater rate.
“Similarly, the increase in the air’s moisture can create condensation, leading to potential issues with mould and dampness,” he adds.
Check radiator covers
If you have a radiator cover make sure to check that it is a good conductor of heat. “Radiator covers made from materials such as wood are poor conductors and can prevent heat from being dispersed effectively – wasting energy and money,” Chance explains. “If your radiator cover has a solid top then you may be losing even more heat, as it will be absorbed by the top of the cover.”
Bleed your radiators
Bleeding your radiator is essential in preventing the efficiency of your radiator from decreasing, as a result of air entering your heating system. “The quickest way to check if air has entered your heating system is to turn your central heating on and feel your radiator,” Chance suggests. “If the radiator is warm at the bottom but cold at the top this is generally a sign that air is present.”
Service your boiler
If your boiler is ageing and has seen better days, there’s a strong chance it won’t be working as efficiently as it once was. “Defective boilers can increase your heating bill massively as they will need to work significantly harder to bring your home up to the desired temperature,” Chance explains. He recommends getting your boiler serviced every 12 months (preferably before the winter season), to ensure that your boiler is running efficiently and safely.