Get ready for winter
Heating and hot water account for over half of the average household’s energy bills, so it’s important to know what you can do to prepare your heating system for the colder winter months and save money on your energy bills.
There are many low and no cost actions you can take to save energy and money over the winter period. Find out below what steps you can take to prepare your heating system and how you can get your household ready for winter.
Find out the simple steps you can take to prepare your heating system for winter.
Reduce your boiler flow temperature to save up to £60 a year
If you have a Combi boiler, its efficiency can be improved by adjusting the ‘flow temperature’ dial/setting to 60 degrees.
Reducing flow temperature isn’t the same as turning down the thermostat. It won’t noticeably reduce the temperature of your home but may take longer to heat up.
If you are over 65, or have pre-existing health conditions, you may want to set a slightly higher flow temperature of 65°C to ensure your home warms more quickly.
Bleed your radiators
Bleeding radiators makes your home warmer and can help reduce the cost of your energy bills. It does this by removing air pockets which reduce the pressure in your radiator so you don’t need to turn the heating up as much.
Find out how to bleed your radiators with a quick and easy, step-by-step guide here.
Get your boiler serviced
An annual service helps keep your boiler running safely. Faulty boilers can be very dangerous. During your boiler service, a Gas Safe registered engineer checks for leaks and issues and they will ensure that your boiler is running properly, which can save you money on future repairs.
Find out more about boiler services here.
Reduce your hot water tank temperature to 60°C to save up to £20 per year
If you have a heating system with a separate hot water cylinder (instead of a combi boiler), you can turn down the temperature of the cylinder itself so that water is not heated unnecessarily.
You’ll usually find the control for your hot water cylinder one third of the way up the tank. The temperature should not be reduced below 60°C, as legionella bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease can survive and grow in warm water stored below 60°C.
Install a smart meter to help you see what you’re spending
A smart meter provides you with near real-time information about how much energy you are using via an in-home display, which you can use to track your spending and have greater control over your usage. Smart meters provide automatic readings to your energy supplier, meaning an end to estimated bills and enabling easier budgeting.
Contact your energy supplier, who can arrange to install a smart meter free of charge.
Households with a smart meter are able to participate in the ESO Demand Flexibility Service, earning pounds, points or prizes across the winter period for shifting electricity usage outside of specified periods. Find out more here.
Low cost actions
Find and fix draughts to save up to £50 a year
Draught-proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective actions you can take to stop or prevent heat escaping and reduce your energy bills. Block unwanted gaps around windows, doors and floors that let the cold air in and warm air out. Make sure you don’t block or seal any intentional ventilation, such as extractor fans, underfloor grilles or airbricks, wall vents or trickle vents. Window film is a form of temporary secondary glazing which helps stop heat escaping through glass. You can buy it at hardware shops and online and install it yourself or with the help of a professional.
Find out more about draught proofing here.
Install smart thermostats and heating controls to save up to £50 a year
Smart thermostats and heating controls offer greater flexibility and control over your energy use. Smart controls do everything that conventional heating controls do but are connected to the internet and offer more functionality such as allowing you to adjust your temperature settings when you’re not at home via a smartphone.
Find out more about heating controls here.
Insulate your hot water cylinder to save up to £50 a year
If you have a hot water tank, you can invest in a hot water cylinder jacket, available in most hardware shops and online. It reduces the amount of heat the cylinder loses and keeps water hot for longer, making them more efficient and cheaper to use.
The pipes that run to and from the tank can also be insulated, using foam tubes. These can also prevent your pipes freezing in extreme temperatures.
Find out more about insulating tanks and radiators here.